Strauss NHL Rebrand IV

It's time for another installment of the concept series by artist Elliott Strauss. In this edition he takes on the Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames. The artist's descriptions appear in bold text next to each set.

Elliott Strauss

Buffalo Sabres

I updated the logos, taking the B from the shoulders, changing the shape, and crossing the swords that are also on the shoulder logo on top of a circle.  The jersey plays on the theme of their Winter Classic jerseys: striping that switches its direction from hem to arms. The alternate is a retro design.

The Sabres have long been a staple of Icethetics concept art. The problem is that ever since 1996 when they ditched the blue and gold, fans have been unhappy. Fourteen years later, the message finally seems to be getting through to team management, but we'll see how that goes.

Elliott has a great concept here, mixing the old with the new and keeping the classic logo alive on the alternate sweater. Personally I always loved the logo on the red third jerseys and this harkens back to that.

Elliott Strauss

Tampa Bay Lightning

Hopefully here you see an obvious throwback to their pre-Edge uniforms with the simple two solid stripes at the base. The shoulder designs get a little more abstract. A very miniscule amount of silver is found in all three unis. The primary logo is slightly tweaked and the new wordmark I tried to make very jagged to match the nickname.

As a Lightning fan, I have my own thoughts on this one, which I'll try to keep to a minimum. First, I think the current secondary should be the primary mark. It doesn't need the text if you ask me, tweaked or otherwise. And for that matter, the wordmark needs some adjustment. This isn't a criticism of Elliott so much as the team itself. Not the best choice, if you ask me.

Regarding the jerseys, I like the striping, but the font isn't quite suited — or perhaps it would just require some getting used to. Mainly, though, I'm glad to see the lightning bolt sill on the pants.

Elliott Strauss

Calgary Flames

Black is dropped here as I wanted to get a more retro feel the jersey. But the design has some modern influences in the angled patterns — reminiscent of the old Pens jerseys.

The Flames are a team with an established visual identity that is difficult to improve upon. The Flaming C will last longer than a lot of other NHL logos which is likely why Elliott saw no point in changing it.

He mixed elements of Calgary's pre-Edge uniforms and I think it really works. However, I'm not sure there's any way to beat the classic '80s jerseys that the Flames pulled out as a 30th anniversary tribute this season.

In Part 5, Mr. Strauss tackles — you guessed it — the Blackhawks, among others. In the meantime, check back for new concept art. I plan to have new posts here several times a week.

« The Next Winter Classic(s) | Main | Fixing the Cats' Thirds »

Reader Comments (14)

Nice Work!
For Buffalo, Everything looks nice, I didn't like that the arm striping cut off as it went inward, the Streak of Silver going from the shoulder yoke to the arm stripes was also unnecessary. Otherwise this gets top marks.
Tampa's jersey was also nice, the white jersey however looks a bit hard to look at. Personally, I would have made the white area at the top of the jersey from the shoulders to the wrist black to match the home jersey with the rest remaining white.
Calgary's is very nice, but then again, anythings better than what they have now...wouldn't change anything except the collar. I'd either recolour it or use the sweater style jersey with the tie-up laces.

Dec 27 · 11:13 AM PST | Unregistered CommenterCurtis

Ill criticize... those buffalo jerseys, too many different colored stripes. looks way too busy.

Dec 27 · 12:19 PM PST | Unregistered CommenterZiplock189 - Steve

The Sabres logo is well done but for the alt logo it'd be neat if you accented the logo somehow- compared to the other two it comes off as flat. And this is probably not relevant but the short sabre in the script logo is kind of weird to me.
For the jerseys, they're also very good and the addition of silver was pretty nice looking, but the streak of silver not going around the entire shoulder is awkward and feels half-done. The alt meanwhile doesn't jump out much but it isn't bad.

For Tampa Bay, I don't have much to say about the logos, because they're about the same, but one thing I'll say is that the script logo is too italicized to be read from a distance, which could be a problem on the alternate jersey. I liked what you did with the shoulder striping and the jersey. There's nothing wrong with it but the black home jersey comes off as sort of meh to me. It's neat and all but bland coloring. I'd like to see a blue version of that somehow.

Finally there's the Calgary Flames and I think you did a good job on the logo package despite not changing up much. The script logo was a nice touch to add the old Atlanta Flames A (because I'm an Atlanta guy and I still haven't gotten over not having a good hockey team). The jerseys I was mostly indifferent on. I liked the attempt to include a retro feel but for some reason the color combination combined with the striping is a bit.. Off. I get this Ronald McDonald effect even though they look crisp. Red and yellow isn't something easy to work with though so I think you did pretty well with all of these concepts.

Dec 27 · 3:58 PM PST | Unregistered Commenterheadsigh

For the Buffalo uniforms, the home and away are way too cluttered. Plus the gray doesn't look great with the blue and yellow. The third jersey should be the home with a white version on the road. The sword crossing logo was good, and could've been interesting with a yellow alternate. For the Lightning unis, the lightning bolt/florida logo doesn't look good as a primary logo, and is better suited as a secondary. The third jersey should've lost the words and had that logo put in place, with the regular lightning bolt logo for the home and away. The top striping on the jerseys seem unnecessary, but aren't a major issue. For Calgary, while I like the red white and yellow unis, it doesn't seem like a modern uni set. It would've been nice to see some black incorporated into the designs, like the current ones they have, which are already very nice unis.

Dec 27 · 9:10 PM PST | Unregistered CommenterAlex

As a Sabres fan, I appreciate the effort on the redesign, Buffalo is never easy to do. That said, I think they look too busy; too many stripes and the silver piping thing is kind of unnecessary plus the fact that the arm stripes on the alternate don't go all the way around. Also, on the home, the silver number with white name looks off, it'd be better to go with white numbers. As far as the primary logo is concerned, it might be the best user created logo I've seen but I still prefer any of the logos they've used (yes, even the "buffa-slug"... I know, I'm the only one who doesn't hate it).

I really like those Lightning jerseys. I think the black looks especially sharp. The two things I'd suggest would be to use the same exact shoulder piping that appears on the front on the back as well and as Chris mentioned, a different font/number set (maybe something more like what they currently use).

The Flames jerseys are pretty good and the logo set is very nice.

Dec 28 · 1:00 AM PST | Unregistered CommenterOgre39666

Great sabres concept! Finally a good original concept for the sabres that didn't completely steal from the idea of their original logo. I think a blue home would have been better for tampa though.

Dec 28 · 9:08 AM PST | Unregistered CommenterKoho

As someone who likes the Sabers' current "slug" logo, I have to say that I don't think this rebrand is an improvement. The jerseys are good, but I think the current, and soon to be former, logo really works.

It might be a bit abstract, but when you take a second look at it, it looks like what it's supposed to be.

I think the lightning's current logo is better than this rebrand one. I hated the old logo. It looked like it had been handrawn.

The Flames jersey looks perfect. I'm not a Flames fan, but that is the best Flames jersey I've ever seen. The logo and numbers both look really good with that color scheme, especially on the home jersey.

Dec 28 · 9:23 AM PST | Unregistered CommenterCanucksFan

With all do respect, I really don't like the uniform concept for the Sabres you presented, accept of course for the vintage 3rds. As a lifelong Sabre fan, nothing has looked right since they changed the colors and logo. If they want to modernize, fine, but don't mess with the vintage colors or logo. Those are sacred for us, and IMHO make for the best looking uniform in hockey.

The one change I would be comfortable with is a 3rd with a yellow based sweater/socks combo, similar to the Bruins Outdoor Classic unis, that otherwise maintains the integrity of the original Sabres uniform design.

Dec 28 · 12:28 PM PST | Unregistered CommenterEnd The Curse

The Winter Classic is no longer a classic. The NHL has ruined it by pre-announcing a second game for next year and allowing the Bruins to wear ugly brown and yellow faux-backs. Now everyone wants in on the action and the product is becoming diluted and undefined. Who cares about Dallas vs Minnesota outside of Dallas and Minnesota? Ditto for New York vs Long Island. I sure don't. If they want to continue this event they need to really be careful with their match ups. The venue is also paramount.

Dec 28 · 12:53 PM PST | Unregistered Commenterjohnny

Nice! Excellent job on all of these.

I think you hit a homerun with everything you've done on the Sabres. I like how you've ties in aspects of all the looks the Sabres have used in the past and still come up with a very classy looking uniform.

Tampa Bay is a huge improvement over what they are wearing now. I really like the numbering and your use of the lightning bolt in the shoulder piping. The only thing that looks off is the text on the 3rd jersey being so linear, but overall these are great.

I love that you returned Calgary to just red and gold. That's the way they should look.

Dec 29 · 12:09 PM PST | Unregistered CommenterMayhem

As someone who lives off of sabres hockey. Those jerseys are horrible. We want it simple! All these years of bad jerseys have been because they tried to hard. The slug, the goat. Our two best jerseys in the best ten years were our thirds the red swords and puck and the current third. So from my point of view those jerseys are WAY WAY WAY too busy

Dec 30 · 5:49 PM PST | Unregistered CommenterNick May

Johnny, completely agree with you...The Winter Classic is far from that anymore. Living in Cowtown and proudly being part of the Sea of Red, I'd be absolutely stoked to have an outdoor game here, but I definitely don't want it to be the second-hand-after-thought outdoor game it might be if it has to compete with a NY game... Let's keep it a classic. Once every 2 years. Tops.

As far as the concepts, great work for the most part. I'd lose the busy stripes on the Sabres jersey, and I will firmly argue against any word marked logo on any jersey until I die (The Tampa third above has the same problem as Dallas, TB's current third, Atlanta, Ottawa, and Minnesota). Finally, I like the move away from the Flames current NASCAR jerseys. I don't mind the flags...I just wish the ugly 30th anniversary logo was smaller and somewhere else.

Jan 2 · 11:26 PM PST | Unregistered CommenterJD


Rebrand the canucks!

Jan 3 · 2:57 PM PST | Unregistered Commenterzahid

The charging bull resembles the Bills logo too closely anymore. The primary and wordmarks look great though. The Tampa Bay concept isn't too bad. I do like the shoulder striping on the home and away jerseys. And a well done job on Calgary. Dropping the black and going with the throwback look was a good idea.

Feb 4 · 12:30 PM PST | Unregistered CommenterJay

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