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The All-Star NY Knicks Logo That Should Have Been
January 1, 2013 6:20 PM   Subscribe

In the 1990's, Michael Doret was tasked with creating a new logo for the New York Knicks. Here is the story of how his ideas were scaled back to create the logo the team uses to this day.
posted by reenum (25 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Okay, I went into this expected him to come up with the extruded-with-empire-state-building version, only to be relentlessly winnowed down to an underlined "NYK" in Helvetica through a long process of "just one little change". It's not. The entirety of the story is that, fearing difficulty getting the rights to depict the Empire State Building in the logo, he pulled it out and put "New York" there instead.

This is not a design tragedy. This is not a tail of aesthetically-blind suits crushing an awesome vision. It's "too bad the Empire State Building wasn't in there, 'cause it worked better."
posted by fatbird at 6:31 PM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


neat comps. I say lose the crybaby copy.
posted by mwhybark at 6:32 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Could you make "New York" bigger? Also the word "Knicks"
posted by hal9k at 6:34 PM on January 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


It does make sense to stay away from incorporating third-party entities in your logo design. Not sure how much the Brewers have to pay to license the sprig of wheat from Monsanto but it's probably a lot.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:34 PM on January 1, 2013 [20 favorites]


Something to remember here is that "New York" or "NY" is a prominent feature in most New York sports franchise logos, not to mention FDNY, NYPD, DKNY, etc. A big part of the appeal of these franchises outside the NY tristate area is that they're from New York. So type/lettering is going to be a prominent part of any NY logo, it almost goes without saying.
posted by Mister_A at 6:43 PM on January 1, 2013


That "slideshow" can be described as "criminally incompetent". I would like to send this to a few people but I can't, because sometimes the right > proceed button isn't there and the only way to go forward is to update the number in the URL. Terrible.
posted by bleep at 6:46 PM on January 1, 2013


Agreed with mwhybark. I had a hard time getting past the whambulance in the captions.

This is an interest subject, but there is clearly more to the matter than "designer good / client bad." FWIW, I like the resulting logo – it's strong, colorful, and has nice visual punch. And, yeah, professionals should know about third-party entities.
posted by suprenant at 6:51 PM on January 1, 2013


"The idea was almost a go, and then the NBA decided that getting the rights to a New York landmark might be problematic."


Did anyone try to get the rights? Was there even a copyright on the image of the building? Shreve, Lamb and Harmon were done by about the 70s...I mean, if King Kong and Lego and Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and every single vendor on every single corner of the City can do it, I'm sure the NBA could give it a shot. Or even just use some generic wedding cake setback skyscraper image? I think there is more to this story than just laziness (though laziness does seem to be driving the reporting).
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 6:54 PM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


A big part of the appeal of these franchises outside the NY tristate area is that they're from New York

As someone who lives outside the NY tristate area, I find this utterly baffling.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:07 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The idea was almost a go, and then the NBA decided that getting the rights to a New York landmark might be problematic."

The idea was knicks'd
posted by hal9k at 7:12 PM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Mister_A: A big part of the appeal of these franchises outside the NY tristate area is that they're from New York

leotrotsky: As someone who lives outside the NY tristate area, I find this utterly baffling.

Baffling to me as well. Hey New Yorkers, you do realize that the rest of the world (aka "Non-New-Yorkers") do not actually share your hard-ons for New York, right? Going on about how New York City is the greatest place in the world is something that only New Yorkers do. To be honest, it makes you look kind of provincial, not to mention arrogant. I love you all and I fully recognize that New York has a lot of great attributes, but your self-centeredness is not one of your more attractive qualities!

I kid because I love.
posted by Scientist at 7:57 PM on January 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Hey New Yorkers, you do realize that the rest of the world (aka "Non-New-Yorkers") do not actually share your hard-ons for New York, right?

Amusing comment, given that the original idea centered around a giant phallic symbol of New York
posted by crayz at 8:23 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently he was the only one doing "retro" design at the time. Puhlease.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:33 PM on January 1, 2013


As someone who lives outside the NY tristate area, I find this utterly baffling.

I know... on the one hand, you think it's because sports fans love a winner, and that explains why there are so many Yankees fans hereabouts in RI, but no-one would waste the saliva to spit on the Mets if they were on fire. But that doesn't explain at all the surprising number of Jets fans, in the heart of Pats country. Not the Giants, mind, but the Jets...
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:34 PM on January 1, 2013


Replace the Empire State Building with an illustration of Iman Shumpert's flat top and I'm all for it.
posted by acidic at 10:03 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey New Yorkers, you do realize that the rest of the world (aka "Non-New-Yorkers") do not actually share your hard-ons for New York, right? Going on about how New York City is the greatest place in the world is something that only New Yorkers do.

You could say the same about Los Angeles or Vancouver. Except New York and Vancouver are kind of great. To visit. If someone else is paying for your hotel.
posted by bongo_x at 10:35 PM on January 1, 2013


neat comps. I say lose the crybaby copy.

And it really is the author -- the designer isn't terribly bothered by the decision. Last part of the article:
But Doret, despite disagreeing with the NBA’s decision 20 years later, is by no means bitter about the experience.

“To me, it’s just the nature of what I do. I’m not a fine artist. I’m not out to make my own statements. I’m solving problems visually,” he says. “At the end of the day, if it doesn’t work for a client for whatever reason, that’s the way it is. That’s showbiz.”
posted by dw at 11:51 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everyone loves New York teams, Yankees stuff sells worldwide

I'm sure Bloomberg can work out a deal so other teams can get in in the action and rebrand themselves to share some of the glamour and majesty of the Big Apple. Local teams don't even have to move. We can pull a Ruth's Chris' thing and just tack New York onto any local team. New York LA lakers. New York Edmonton Oilers. Your local team can have a piece of that New York magic that makes the Yankees so profitable.

Most New Yorkers don't care what Non New Yorkers think. If they were important, they would be New Yorkers.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:53 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


As much as I am a huge fan of Doret, I think I would have rejected the Empire State Building ideas, too. This one, especially, is a bit too "erectile" for a commercial logo. The building just dominates too much, even with a token basketball added.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:12 AM on January 2, 2013


Not the Giants, mind, but the Jets...

Some people just love buttfumbles.
posted by drezdn at 5:30 AM on January 2, 2013


that explains why there are so many Yankees fans hereabouts in RI

When I was in high school someone explained this to me based on the high number of Italians in Rhode Island. He said that because of Italian heroes like Joe DiMaggio back in the day a lot of Italians became Yankees fans and passed that down to their kids. I don't know if this is true but it is an interesting possibility for Yankees fans in what is clearly Red Sox country.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:57 AM on January 2, 2013


“We kind of emasculated it by removing the building and leaving the rest the same,” Doret admits.

"I can't understand know why this big corporation wouldn't let me put a cock in their logo."
posted by straight at 7:31 AM on January 2, 2013


Going on about how New York City is the greatest place in the world is something that only New Yorkers do.

In discussions about the Knicks one can understand why they would rather talk about the qualities of the city.
posted by srboisvert at 7:32 AM on January 2, 2013


I can't understand know why this big corporation wouldn't let me put a cock in their logo.

Because he only made room for one ball.
posted by chundo at 7:35 AM on January 2, 2013


KNICKERBOCKERS

FTFY.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:40 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


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