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Brooklyn is the New Black

September 28th, 2012

Sports Brand IdentityWith the opening of the Barclays Center this month and the first event tonight, we’re witnessing the launch of one of the most comprehensive brand identity systems in memory. In fact, it’s a “system of several systems” based on black and the power of “B”: Brookyln Nets; Brooklynettes; Barclay’s Center, and other performing arts entities within the center itself.

There is a remarkable cohesion to the system, however. As much as I have read about it, it’s still unclear how many agencies were involved in the work beyond Translation LLC. According to Translation CEO, Steve Stoute, “ The new logo subtly combines references to both hipster Brooklyn and gangsta rap. It is not ignoring the truth and not ignoring the honesty of a city that’s gone through a lot.”

Sports Brand Identity DesignThe most dominant part of the system is color — or lack of color — or, depending on how you define it, the inclusion of all colors. It’s based almost exclusively on black and is one of the most striking, distinctive and in to my mind, appropriate, creative systems developed recently.

Not surprisingly, Jay-Z, partial owner of the Nets, played a role in the design of the new team logo. The system’s dependence on black reflects his preference for the color, also the signature color of the Jay-Z brand. True to modern business practices, the brand is aiming for much larger successes, with aspirations of becoming a lifestyle brand, fashion that is so desirable that one doesn’t have to be a Nets fan or even an NBA fan in order to buy and wear the clothing. Nets CEO Brett Yormark said, “The goal is to become a lifestyle brand. We want to transcend sports. We want people to consume us as often as possible.”

Uniforms as Brand Identity StrategyThere’s an excellent rationale and guidelines document in The New York Times (link provided below), which explains the reasoning behind the typography (inspired by old subway lettering), the single “B” (a reference to the old Brooklyn Dodgers), and many other aspects of the brand. It’s an interesting peek into the foundation of thinking behind not only the new logo, but how the visual language is applied to create other system components. Think of it as a well-versed presentation of the mood board, the fundamental inspiration behind the brand visual identity.

The public relations splash around the new center and team identity has been a formidable effort and my assumption is that the brand will be incredibly successful, especially when the season begins. The new logo debuted at the Modell’s sporting goods store on Flatbush Avenue and the first shirt to sell out was a homage to the Beastie Boys’ song, No Sleep Till Brooklyn.

Innovative Logo RedesignMichael Bierut of Pentagram shared more about the elongated spacing of the Net’s logotype. “It now seems beautifully evocative, like high craftsmanship. It has a rawness to it. It feels urban. It’s not fussy. It’s not fancy.”

All Black Everything: A Brooklyn Nets Style Guide


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This entry was posted on Friday, September 28th, 2012 at 11:21 am and is filed under Advertising, Brand Identity, Customer Experience, Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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