UPDATED: M. WILLIS TAKES ON THE NEW KIT

Update #3 3/3/2014

Robbie Keane - Imgur

The LA Galaxy have officially released the new 2014 Home Kit. The full Kit Pictures will be released later this week, but Let’s take a look at Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane sporting the new jersey. (Photos Courtesy of the LA Galaxy)

 

 

Landon Donovan - Imgur

 

 

 

 

 

Update #2, 2/6/14

Unless these Galaxy players are donning counterfeit jerseys,IMG_4563 it looks like we had the right kit all along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update, 2/6/14

2014 LA Galaxy Home Kit (Updated Leaked Photo)

Yet another leak as we await the official unveiling! Despite reports to the contrary, the jersey we originally reviewed looks to be very close to final. The new leak appears to feature a shortened sash, de-cluttering the area around the crest — and clearing up one of Mark’s complaints in the process. “Font-creep” remains, but overall it’s a smart, forward-thinking kit.

And, my God, those socks! 

 

 

 

 

 

Original

Last week Mark Willis lit a fire under the feet of MLS brands everywhere with his razor-sharp Columbus Crew rebranding. The man has a serious understanding of the ins and outs of soccer design—he once created a soccer jersey for each of the 30 MLB teams—and the design chops to put that knowledge to work. Check out Clean Sheet Co. and his 32 Nations project if you don’t believe me. He’s a stunning designer, and a soccer fanatic—who better to critique LA’s leaked 2014 kit?

First, your gut reaction: what do you think of that jersey?

313050-1300-1101_6It’s not an instant classic, but it’s really pretty solid. I like that the gold-yellow accents are more prominent than in recent years—that’s always been a defining Galaxy color, and it really pops. It’s good that the Herbalife sponsorship continues go without the little leaf icon, which always looked a bit small-time to me. Simple sans serif block letters are good. The most recent Adidas templates have shown a trend away from busy paneling and piping, and towards more clean, open space—that’s very welcome.

And then, of course, there’s the sash. It’s a bit busy, but I think it works for the most part. It’s good that the Galaxy are keeping their visual traditions intact. I’m not a huge fan of the “vapor-trail” effect, but then there are only so many ways to vary an element like a sash from year to year, and this is well-executed. I would have liked to see a version without the gradient that turns the sash to a royal blue near the shoulder—just the solid navy color all the way through would have been fine. And the four stars get a little lost with so much visual action going on. I will say that the top of the sash actually reminds me of the 2007 US Copa America shirt, which I happen to own and love, so I’ll give a few bonus points for that.

One thing the club should keep an eye on is what you might call “font creep”. There are a lot of different typefaces on the front of the jersey; you have the futuristic “LA” in the crest, the blocky Herbalife mark, the famous rounded Adidas characters, and then a slab “This is LA” patch at the bottom. Four different typefaces, all competing for attention. Add the MLS patch on the arm and the MLS name/number typeface on the back, and there’s a lot happening. As a small gesture towards consistency, I’d render the “This is LA” patch with the same font family as the crest.

The crest hasn’t changed much—it’s freshly “quasared,” but that’s about it. Does LA need to revisit their badge?

I’m assuming it’s an LA thing—every 10 years or so it’s normal to go in for a little rejuvenation work! As a shimmery fabric effect I think the “quasaring” looks great, but I hope it doesn’t carry over to other places the logo is used, like in print or on the web.

313050-1300-1101_3The Beckham-era Galaxy crest has worn surprisingly well. It’s not too busy, and it even has some global currency now. I’d check in on the typeface in a few years—by then it’ll either be ready for an update, or it’ll be entrenched forever as part of the design and unchangeable. If I were to re-think anything, I’d make some tweaks to emphasize the “LA” so that those letters (and not the outline of the crest) became the attention-grabbing part of the design.

You’ve rebranded two MLS teams—the Revs and the Crew. For the Revs, you threw everything out. For the Crew, you kept parts of the brand that worked. Does LA’s brand have pieces iconic enough to keep around, or would you start fresh?

No doubt if a rebrand was to happen, you’d want to keep a ton of visual capital. I don’t think you could change the club’s name at this point, for instance—it’s in the lexicon, and in the history books. The Revolution, for all their history (and it is fairly substantial) have nowhere near the mindshare nor the pedigree that the Galaxy do. They can afford to be rebranded from scratch because they have much less to lose.

To be honest, as fun as it would be to re-imagine the Galaxy from scratch as a design exercise, I think they’re one of the last MLS clubs who would need such an exercise in the real world. Slow, steady improvement and refinement from here should lead to some classic places down the road.

Last question. Any comments on Cozmo, LA’s mascot?

His fur keeps changing colors—that’s what an all-Herbalife diet does, right? I’m secretly hoping that one day, the NY Cosmos join MLS and introduce their new mascot, Galazy. Then the fur (of all colors) will fly.

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