I love Mark Cuban, I do. He single-handedly ripped the Mavs out of the depths of NBA bed-wetting and brought them a long awaited championship just two seasons ago. He’s clearly a brilliant businessman and savvy entrepreneur. With all this being said, his personal blog post about letting fans design the Mavs upcoming uniforms is an ill-advised heave that clanks off the glass early in the shot clock (YEWW CEE WUT I DEDD THAYRE?!).
I took issue with his idea for reasons I’ll get to in a moment, but above is the post I made on his blog entry that Mark actually responded to in bold (kudos to him for that). I’m deserving of some heat for using the wrong “your” towards the end of my second paragraph however. We’ll just pretend we didn’t see that…
So why is this a terrible idea to let enthusiastic Mavs fans be a part of the creative process of the team’s new uniforms? Because Mark isn’t concerned about their actual effective design, but just something that looks cool. This is exactly the type of thinking that let this crap get produced. Oregon’s football uniforms aren’t personally my cup of tea, but at least they let the pro’s at Nike build their identity from the ground up into a program and culture that now exudes innovation, speed, and constant progression. Mark isn’t getting Oregon, he’s getting Maryland. Or worse.
Graphic design isn’t a bunch of cool looking graphics that so-in-so’s nephew conjured up with adobe photoshop. Graphic design is something that communicates. It considers what a brand stands for and where it’s going. It conveys that brand story with color, shape, typography, form, messaging, and hierarchy. It has depth. It has impact. It solves problems. It is not a ready-made recipe you mix with water and you’re done (as much as I do enjoy good oatmeal).
When an organization as freaking big as the Dallas freaking Mavericks wants to do a design overhaul on their uniforms, that’s something you sit down with the pro’s over and discuss your brand to the tiniest details so that story can be told. Unfortunately, Mark is valuing some goobers’ microwave designs that were whipped up in an hour and a half instead of valuing a uniform produced by people that know how to make it rock. I’d be surprised if he gets one legitimate design that won’t be scrapped within another few years. Mark is good at many things, but he’s not above stupid decisions.
I could go on and on about that though. What really concerns me is none of this even occurred to him when I briefly spelled it out for him. He was more concerned about whether or not I implied he’s not smart enough to choose a good uniform? I don’t even know where to begin with that. We’re not even there yet. Apparently though he is smart enough to know I’m clearly threatened by this whole process. By what, the thought of my favorite basketball team having an owner that doesn’t handle criticism well and couldn’t care less about the design of their brand? Sure thing.
Look, it doesn’t threaten me that some random junior designer would have the chance to outfit the Mavs’ duds. As a matter of fact, I hope someone submits something pretty intelligent, because I have no interest in my team looking like clowns for the 2015-2016 season. I’d find no fun in an “I told you so” for Cubes. What I do for a living is secure, and I’ve been able to work on some pretty amazing projects. But I was compensated for those projects and the client respected my design decisions throughout the process. I’m disappointed Mark isn’t doing the same for whoever is going to create these.
I’m not going to belabor the point. It’s predictable that Mark and the general public probably wouldn’t appreciate exactly what he’s requesting. All the stupid comments on his blog entry and this dude’s tweet to my buddy Stu proves that point. At least he used the right “you’re”. The topic of respect for the design industry is something for another day.
And I didn’t even get to the fact Mark’s reward is “maybe some tickets” and “bragging rights”. Cool, because those will surely pay the bills…
Super stoked for my best friends, Ryan and Mary who just had their daughter Calvary Ann Caruthers this past Monday. I literally got off the plane from Santa Barbara and had a text from Ryan that she had been born. This is a huge new beginning not only for them, but for myself as well, as this is definitely the closest friend(s) I’ve ever experienced that have now entered into parenthood.
I’m excited to not only watch her grow and mature, but to be an influential part of her life as well. Unofficially, I’m Uncle Blade, which is both humbling and terrifying. Here’s to the Lord showing me how I can be a servant not only to Calvary, but to Ryan and Mary as they embark on this amazing journey. So far, she’s just a cute little lump sitting in a car seat, but before too long she’ll be a little girl I can interact with and build a solidified relationship with.
Ryan had a statement he prepared about the arrival of Calvary, so I’ll honor him and Mary by posting his statement below:
CALVARY ANN CARUTHERS
7lbs 7oz , 19.5in long, Born 4/29/2013 at 6pm
Calvary is the name of the hill outside Jerusalem on which Jesus Christ was crucified. Through reading the Bible more over the past couple years and being blessed with loving community around us, we have discovered and experienced the deep beauty behind this act. Mary and I have been transformed by this truth for the rest of our lives!! We are talking about an internal transformation of the heart. When we read what the Bible has to say we see this act of Jesus was the most selfless loving act anyone has ever done. This act by Jesus is what we want to remember each day when we wake up, to motivate us to love and lay down our agendas for others everywhere. It isn’t always easy, but to be set free from ourselves is what Jesus came to do and did on the cross at Calvary. This loving truth is infinitely deep and applicable to every area of our life, and continues to set us free from our self–seeking and glorifying ways. The truth of what Jesus did at Mount Calvary represents a death that brings NEW LIFE and perspective offered to everyone. So we celebrate the new life of this beautiful little girl by remembering the NEW LIFE we have been given through believing in and responding to what Jesus has done for us.
Ann is the middle name of both of Calvary’s grandmothers, so this one was an easy win for both sides.
My Mom only texts me for two things: to remind me I don’t call her enough, and to update me on her boxer’s shenanigans.
Dreams do come true…
Well, well, well. It’s been 18 freakin’ months but do you see what I see? That’s right, Safeway paper bags with handles. When they first made the paper bag switch I was struggling mightily to transport my normal allotment of groceries back to my apartment without dropping them on people. I eventually bought reusable bags but hey, that’s no fun. At least now if I have to swing by and don’t have my reusable bags on me I don’t have to worry about spilling my adult diapers and rash ointment all in the street in front of 30 Pearl chicks on a bachelorette mission.
Was stressing so hard about gifts for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year. Not anymore, thanks to Groupon. Dad’s gonna look so cool firing up the grill in these.
All I wanted to do was take an adult diaper and fill it with ice cubes and then sit on it.”
— My very close and pregnant friend Mary, quoting a friend of hers who wanted to go to great lengths to soothe the post-birthing pain. Very sexy visual of course.
Definitely the humor highlight of my weekend right here. Remember the ‘Mascot Game’ on NCAA Football? This is close enough. Poor Brutus, but his decimation was worth it for the laughs.
My close friend Stu and I keep in touch daily while working via iChat. It’s a pleasure really, talking about each other’s lives, sports opinions, work-related things, etc. Unfortunately, sometimes typos occur in this format, and we’re both always ready to pretend to be totally confused by each other’s mistakes.
This is the fifth installment of this contest. Feel free to skim over the first, second, third, and fourth installments for more tomfoolery.
The Oregon State Pitch
Definitely meant to blog on this sooner, but laziness called.
It’s been a little over a year since I got to do a lot of heavy design lifting on a project pitch Nemo made to the Oregon State University athletic department. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had while working on a project in the almost-five years I’ve been there. It was long hours and hard work, but in the end it I was super proud of the work we slammed together in about 3 weeks time for this thing.
We were originally asked to present one concept that displayed executions in both football and women’s basketball, but as Mark and I spit-balled a few times a week we ended up over-delivering with three (fairly) flushed out concepts that were completely different in messaging and aesthetic.
The part where you queue the sad trombone is that we didn’t win the pitch. It’s probably because I made the catastrophic error of wearing brown socks with black shoes to the presentation, but I might just be paranoid. Regardless, if I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t have changed anything about what we put into this. I was working from home a lot for some late night hours but didn’t mind whatsoever because of how fun the work was. It was also great experience to pitch major work to a major university and pick the brain of their athletic director a bit.
Mark and I went down there for a Saturday and got the full tour of the athletic facilities, including Reser Stadium, player’s lounge areas, resident halls, and I even got a court pass for a women’s basketball game.
One of the highlights of the trip down to Corvallis for the pitch though might’ve been Mark’s story about his epic fail of an interview with the Red Hot Chili Peppers back in the early 90’s. I’m off topic now though and I need to polish all my rollerblades before I go to bed.
Dear Dad, I Got Some Bad News…
My Dad is in the business lately of breaking news to my sister and I via text message or though social media. He even texted me to tell me they were putting our dog, Sammi, to sleep. Really, since he got an iPad a few years ago he’s just been mailing things in all too often.
Since this weak level of communication has been established and accepted, I’ve got some bad news to let you in on Dad that unfortunately you’re going to have to find out here instead of a formal phone call.
We’re gonna tear off the band-aid instead of slowly peeling it: I lost my GoPro you got me for Christmas.
I know what you’re thinking. “Blake, you’re my most responsible child and you’ve made very few mistakes in your life. Who took it from you and would you like another one?”
That’s very kind but truthfully, we did a night session on Mt. Hood a couple Fridays ago and when we got off one of the final lifts, it wasn’t on my helmet anymore. I didn’t have any major falls or wipeouts so I couldn’t figure out where it must’ve fallen off. We also split up and went down all the runs we did to see if we could find it again, but to no avail. I’m sorry, I have failed you this one time. It was dark and it might’ve fallen off onto off-limits terrain while riding one of the lifts.
I feel very bad but I know you’ll understand. Besides it’s not like I’m any good at snowboarding anyway.
Nemo installed red, white, & blue lights above the 3 urinals in the men’s bathroom a little while ago. I think the studio males have been in support overall, but the lights have definitely caused different emotions. Some are feeling more patriotic, others are feeling racist towards lights, and others have just found a new place to rave. Mike Schwoebel on the other hand is too nervous for the red or blue lights.
(I enter to pee but Mike is at the center urinal. I go to the blue one)
Me: Great, Mike. You chose the center one so now I have to stand next to you no matter what.
Mike: I know, that’s the way it has to be.
Mike: I need the clear light because I need to be able to accurately see if my pee is discolored.
Mike: Those red and blue ones are gonna give you the wrong ideas.
Mike: Your pee is probably looking green right now. I’d go to the doctor if I saw that.
Mom: So there's your lecture for the evening.
Me: That's the second lecture actually.
Mom: Well you're right I guess. It's just because I'm...
Mom: Yes I am the same.
Me: I said insane.
Mom: Oh, no. No I am not.
Mom: I am not insane.
Mom: No I am not insane.
The Spring Portland First World Problem
Every morning for the past month or so I walk out to my car and think, hmm man that thing needs a car wash. Oh but it’s going to rain later today so why bother. Well let’s check the weather report for the week and see about another day. Oh nice! It’s not going to rain tomorrow! Surely I can do it then. Oh no but it rains 5 days in a row after tomorrow…
Previous First World Problems
When ‘Words With Friends’ Gets Real
My boss and good buddy, Jeff Bartel, and myself have cranked up the stakes on our Words With Friends games lately. This of course has been teamed with some brutal trash talk from Jeff aimed at me that I have to endure each and every game. I’m tired of his digital abuse and I’m going to pull back the curtain for my 3 readers to see just what I’m talking about. This stuff is just vile:
Jeff: “See, you got lucky and got the first S…”
Jeff: “What are you gonna play next, ‘jo’?”
Jeff: “Looks like your luck held out…”
Jeff: “Oh, that’s a new one…”
Jeff: “Nice save. You won’t be so lucky this time…1-1.”
Jeff: “You play all these words that you don’t even know what they mean…”
Jeff: “Well why don’t you put your tiles where your mouth is?”
Jeff: “You are the luckiest player. You always seem to get a Z, or J, or Q just at the right time…”
Jeff: “You may beat me 100 straight times, then I will beat you 1,000 straight times.”
Jeff: “Oh, of course you had an S…”
Jeff: “I want you to use ‘coz’ in a sentence…”
Dear Ohio State, With Love…
So here’s the deal. (THE) Ohio State Buckeyes are my college sports passion. Yes I know I’m from Texas, but it’s a family thing and I’m not into your minutia.
They’ve had this logo for their athletics going on 26 years now (Rickabaugh Graphics), and they’ve decided to update it to this just this week…It looks terrible, so I’m not surprised the response has been poor.
For those that can’t spot the difference, essentially they filled in all the gaps in “OHIO STATE”, leaving all the letterforms inconsistent and pretty appalling. I’d expect most non-designers to issue a “who cares”, but the minute I laid eyes on that I was really disappointed. It’s not even worth the update, and just comes off lazy. So I decided to go home, grab some grid paper, and then sketch up a few marks that I’m 100% convinced are more logical and aesthetically pleasing solutions. I obviously don’t expect the administration to give a crap about what I or anyone else thinks, but if they stumble upon this, please pray for a change of heart.
In general, college sports logos are simple, and rarely will you find something like this. They’re made to stand the test of time for decades, not to be rebranded every 10-15 years like professional teams.
Disclaimer that I did all of these in about two evenings, and don’t have the luxury of rounds of feedback or iterations to refine anything. So it is.
1.) Current Logo Revamp
Option 1 takes the logo they had and just simplifies it a bit. All the letters are equal weight, and the overall width of this version is extended so it’s easier to view when reduced in size. Is it a perfect revamp? No, but I think it’s a more timeless approach without all the fussiness of the intricate letterform issues that plague the current update.