Brooklyn Nets Brand Identity: I Got 9 Problems…

May 1st, 2012 by Larry


If you haven’t heard, the New Jersey Nets are now officially the Brooklyn Nets. Check out the team’s official announcement and brand identity reveal here. I have 9 problems with the brand already! Perhaps we’ll look back on this brand in 10 years and think this is classic, but I’m willing to bet that the brand isn’t even the same by then. I feel there are a number of missed opportunities with the new brand identity, but maybe the team doesn’t care. Perhaps Brooklynites are so hungry for basketball in their backyard that they’ll get behind anything, no matter how lousy and uninspired.

Problem One: “Designed by Jay-Z” – I don’t believe this for one second. When a problem arises with the plumbing at the new Barclays Center, will Jay will reach for his toolbelt? Yes, I do think it’s possible for Jay-Z to click his computer mouse the few times necessary to make these half-assed marks, but it is insulting to assume that consumers will spend money on something just because Jay-Z “designed” it. We’re talking about the dude behind these! Oh my… Secondly, if these marks did in fact come out of Jay-Z’s camp, I’m sure it was a case of nepotism and a Macbook Pro.

Problem Two: What’s with the Shield? – The shield appeared on the New Jersey Nets logo only recently (1997). It’s not like it was a design element that was introduced for a reason in the first place. I don’t see why they’re keeping it. Does 15 years qualify as the period of time where nonsensical design elements become permanent? Get rid at that garbage and start anew! Don’t even start with the “shield stands for pride” argument! That’s BS.

Problem Three: No Actual Net – Any avid sports fan has always questioned why the New Jersey Nets never actually depicted a net anywhere in their brand identity. It seems like this would be a great opportunity for the team’s namesake to finally be represented. Either that, or change the damn name altogether! Was there a brainstorming session AT ALL? If the team is moving to Brooklyn and rebranding, what’s the point of keeping a name of a losing team? Or was it too pricy to file for a name change with the league? I know how the commish loves to make that money. Whatever the reason, it’s just weak.

Problem Four: Clip Art – Every shape from the Brooklyn Nets brand identity looks as if it came straight from a clip art library. You know, one of those free vector art packs that you get from the Google? Don’t get me wrong. I truly believe less is more, but what we have here is very uninspired. I can image the creative meeting lasting a grand total of 30 seconds. Whoever is really behind the mark said, “Uh… yea, I flattened the Nets logo and put a B on the basketball. That’s about it. Let’s see what Jay thinks!” WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SKETCHING? Oh wait, I forgot, Jay-Z doesn’t write his lyrics down. He just spits off the cuff, so therefore he’s allowed to throw stuff around in the computer without any forethought. Myyy bad!

Problem Five: Just B – Seriously? B. Just a B on a basketball. When I see this B on a basketball, it reminds me of a Sesame Street character saying, “B is for Basketball!!! Yaaay!” C’mon! Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if Jay-Z the “Art Director” wanted the B there for his wife.

Problem Six: Typography – I’m disappointed that they didn’t take the opportunity to create a custom typeface inspired by Brooklyn. Why not? There are so many visual cues they could’ve drawn from: Neighborhood ironwork, signage, and the architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge to name a few. Sigh… I’m starting to get upset at this point.

Problem Seven: Colors (or Lack Thereof) – Okay, so the intention of only using Black and White as brand colors is a bold decision. It is also very noble, but I’m sure within a few seasons we’ll start to see other unnecessary colors bleed into the brand identity. Take a look at the Celtics. They’re a classic NBA team. Their colors are Green and White, but they somehow managed to create this noncept and this other vomit inducing ensemble. Establishing a tertiary color could help the team’s brand from future embarrassment .

Problem Eight: Team Gear – It’s clear that this brand isn’t for me. In fact, it’s not for anyone I know that lives in Brooklyn. The gear looks like something myself & Georgios would create in 2 hours if someone said, “Hey guys, I need you to design some gear that is middle-of-the-pack, stereotypical hip hop. Don’t bother pushing the envelope or raising the status quo when it comes to expanding the brand. We just want to move units real quick. Just use whatever is leftover from your clip art library from earlier.” At the end of the day, I feel like the brand’s tone of voice isn’t as inclusive as it could be. In fact, it tries so hard that it’s not cool.

Problem Nine: Impending Jersey Reveal – The team is making us wait until September to see what the jerseys will look like. This is just a load of superfluous PR hype. The pomp and circumstance is vapid. I’m sure the jerseys will be black and white, with NETS on the home jersey and BROOKLYN on the away jersey. What’s the point in holding back on this? The shield with the B will appear somewhere, perhaps near the back collar of the jersey. I’ll be shocked if the team uses custom lettering or numerals for player names and numbers. Yawn… Get over yourselves, Brooklyn Nets marketing team!

6 Responses

  1. josh Says:

    products already look terrible. please design something for them. thanks

  2. Griffin Says:

    I agree Larry, I mean if ESPN were to analyze this it would get a C’MON MAN!!! We are talking about branding a sports team in the year 2012 not in 1920 where that design still might not have a chance. Its need serious work!!! and lets face it we all know only one team can have just a one letter design and be G’d up and that’s the BRAVES

  3. Oak and Oar Says:

    Well put. The first thing I thought was it looked like some throw back corel draw clip art pack.

    There was so much potential in really creating a killer identity here, which is evident the mark was missed. To be honest I wouldn’t be surpirsed if Jay did create this with a little help from B and the baby.

  4. Scott Danger Says:

    Good write-up!

    I don’t support changing the Nets name however. I like the connection it gives them with other NY sports teams, the Mets and the Jets.

    Also, I think they were trying to ape the Brooklyn Dodger’s “B” with the B on the basketball, but the font choice is wrong and doesn’t work as an allusion.

  5. thebeeobee Says:

    This is the guy behind the design:

    He has collaborated with Jay Z many times before and is behind the design of the Nets’ infamous “Blueprint” billboard across from Madison Square Garden.

    And @ Scott Danger, the Dodgers own so many trademarks on their lettering, it would’ve been impossible to mimic their old designs without a very costly lawsuit.

    If you take away the basketball, it looks like it could be on the front of a luxury car…how that communicates to basketball fans will be interesting.

    Currently evaluating if I can scrounge up $13k for season tickets right now. ugh.

  6. elnoha Says:

    well put, larry.. i see what they’re trying to do but the craftsmanship just isn’t there.. it’s shite!

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