HbD News: New San Jose Sharks Jerseys Announced
On Tuesday, after a couple of Instagram videos teasing a new jersey design, the San Jose Sharks officially announced and unveiled a new home and away uniform for the team. The team’s website features a pretty extensive display of the jerseys, the design process and some behind-the-scenes footage of their production. Given how the process behind logo and jersey redesigns are usually thrown to the masses without much context, it’s refreshing to see a team put a little more effort behind it.
What all of this added contextual information provides is two things: (1) the Sharks’ players can’t act and look painfully uncomfortable in front of a camera (further evidence can be seen here), and (2) a huge consideration for the new jersey design was its weight and usability. They make a passing comment in one of the videos how players preferred the alternate Sharks jersey (the black one), that it felt lighter and allowed them to move easier because they didn’t have shoulder yokes and additional striping. Any time you design something successfully with the actual user in mind (in the web design world, this is called UX Design and in this case, the user is the athletes themselves) it’s going to be a more successful product.
The fact that the Sharks organization revealed the context and this process shows how an in-depth and extensive design process, using input from the end user, can actually yield much more positive results overall. I’m pretty sure they probably didn’t consult the players for the previous jersey, a visual mess of colours and elements, visually and literally heavier than the new one. And by “literally”, I mean literally, as in, for real. And it’s good to hear that Terry Smith, who I interviewed a while back about the Sharks’ logo, was a big part of the re-design.
But, there’s still always a design process to be done as, given the desire to make the jersey light and performance-driven, it theoretically would have been best to just have a blank teal jersey with nothing else on it. But that can’t happen, and that’s why designers exist.
So, what’s removed/simplified on these new jerseys? Here’s a list (and a reference guide):
- The shoulder yokes are removed completely (but the jumping shark patch is still there). Love!
- The collar stripes are removed on the teal jerseys. Like!
- The collar stripes are minimized to a single teal stripe on the white jerseys. Better.
- One of the burnt yellow thin stripes is removed from the sleeve piping. Meh, whatever.
- The burnt orange outline is removed from all the players’ numbers. Love!
- The piping along the bottom of the jersey is removed altogether. Read further…
What was added? Laces at the collar. I likey.
What should have been removed? The numbers on the front of the jersey. Seriously, I’ve never understood why the Sharks, the Sabres and, until recently, the Stars had them there. Is it a football/basketball wannabe thing? Is it actually useful for people, like brand new coaches who have no idea what their players’ faces look like yet, so they need the number as reference? If someone can inform me of this, I’d be grateful. If the Sharks are talking about added weight on the jersey, removing these numbers probably would have removed a couple ounces.
As a side note, the Sharks, Sabres and Stars are all teams (along with the Hurricanes) who are undergoing jersey redesigns this off-season. The Stars got it right and eliminated them. The Sharks didn’t. The Sabres are an unknown yet, as they’re going through a very lengthy sneak-peek jersey unveiling themselves.
What shouldn’t have been removed? Of everything on the list above, the only thing I regret being removed is any sort piping along the bottom of the jersey. Being as relatively minimalist as these new jerseys are, they’re starting to border on having a practice jersey look to them. The more I think about the new Dallas jerseys, the more I like them (but still not the logo, bleah!), and I think the Sharks could have borrowed from them a bit here, having a white bottom on the teal jerseys with one or two black or teal stripes on both jerseys. It would have finished off the jerseys nicely.
The only other thing I wish they would have done is have teal, instead of black, pants for the road white jerseys. It’s a bit of a missed opportunity there.
But, overall, I love the more minimalist approach and appreciate the amount of effort that was put into showing any sort of context and behind-the-scenes decision making that is rarely seen with professional sports teams. There’s no question these jerseys are an improvement on the previous effort and I hope they drop the black alternates altogether now. And I’m hoping that they’ve now completely eliminated the black alternate jersey. As I’ve said before, when you’ve got a blank canvas of a white sheet of ice, it’s always best to throw some colour on there.
Is it a sudden classic hockey jersey though? No. But I’m sure they’ll still sell shitloads of them.