Ken Carbone, a graphic designer and blogger for Fast Company, has pronounced the look of the New England Patriots' helmets the bottom of the barrel in a league teeming with bad design work. And he's not just criticizing: he's devised a replacement.
In general, Carbone writes, NFL helmet design is in a rut, "usually involving slapping the team's primary logo on both sides." This works when there's a certain logic to the approach, he thinks, as with the St. Louis Rams (two ram horns) or Philadelphia Eagles (wings).
But when teams like the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers stamp their "visually complicated logos" on the side of their headgear, he writes, the result is "a graphic mess when televised and, I imagine, even if you're sitting on the fifty-yard line."
"At the very the bottom of the list are the New England Patriots. The Patriots' helmet is plastered with their logo, which comes dangerously close to looking like a wind-swept John Kerry dressed up like a Minute Man."
There has been an upwelling of nostalgia for the Patriots' old helmet insignia this year, provoked by seeing the team play in its "throwback," AFL uniform. But Carbone goes in a different direction, bypassing the dual-logo approach in order to use the entire helmet to make a single statement (as the Cincinnati Bengals do with their tiger stripes).
"A team as legendary as the New England Patriots deserves a more celebratory helmet," he writes. His mock-up includes bold red and white stripes running front-to-back on the top of the helmet; on the sides, bright white stars stand out against a blue background.
UPDATE 2: And "Easy Rider."
UPDATE 3: Okay, the new Patriots design is bombing. What about the proposals for the Redskins and Buccaneers (scroll down)?
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