Friday, July 17, 2015

Review: Ottawa Outlaws (AUDL)

Part of the series critiquing professional ultimate team logos and nicknames.

Team: Ottawa Outlaws

Web: // twitter: @OutlawsAUDL

Representation: City // League: AUDL

Disc within logo?: No. // Ultimate element in team name?: No.

Background: Historically, the Bytown area (now known as Ottawa) was a logging town and a "rough neighborhood" filled with questionable characters with little regard for the law. Hence, the choice for the team's nickname.

When selecting a brand strategy the owners felt it important to design a logo that was modern and edgy and would look great on-line and on apparel. Also, they wanted to avoid a negative connotation that may associate us to crime, weapons, and fear.

We chose the horse as our symbol for a few reasons. There is the tie to the "Outlaw" way of life and the important bond that unifies the outlaw and his partner in crime. The horse played a significant role in the evolution and history of Canada, represented today through the Canadian Mounties. Most significantly, the horse symbolizes strength, power, and speed which are key attributes of Ultimate players. [via]

First impression(s) from SLUDGE: That classic, gruesome scene in The Godfather when the movie producer unpleasantly wakes up to a severed horse head aside him in bed. Also, the horse head image has commonalities with the chess piece of knight, which represents an armored cavalry.

Eli's Eval: Angry horse! Angry horse with a maple leaf tattoo! More serifs tweaked to have menacing pointy tips!

The type has a lot of effective things happening: contrasting scale for city and team name, contrasting colors (white/green-yellow), san serif vs serif, stroke vs drop-shadow. All of this variety comes together very well because the execution is spot-on. The designer was able to do all of these things and keep everything legible while creating a hierarchy of information through these elements rather than in spite of them. The ligature on the T's in Ottawa is nice and appropriate while the connection between the U and T feels unnecessary. The drop shadow enhances the design and gives it a bit of depth, while separating the two words.

The horse needs some love but is almost out of the barn. The stroke around the outside is too uniform and the rounded corners are at odds with the angular anger of the interior lines. The mouth, the inside of the ear, the shadow on the neck all have pointed angular edges, but the added stroke is soft. Consistency of line and mark will go a long way to unifying any design, and a lack of it can undermine otherwise strong work. The mouth of this horse suffers from the same lack of anatomically correct structure and looks more like a sneer than a growl. (Not that horses growl.)
Something strange is happening at the bottom of the mane where it goes behind the city name and I'm just not sure what I'm looking at: if this is more of the mane then it should be the same dark gray, if it is the horse's body then why is it so lumpy?

:Eli's Grades:
Grade: B+
On Logo: B-
On Typography: A-

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