Tuesday, October 25, 2011


THE INTERNET CREATES AND DESTROYS COMMUNITY, we know, and I am characteristically part of the problem. I shirk PTA and Little League. My civic intensity is off the charts, however, when it comes to online communities that share embarrassing obsessions. These days my favorite is UniWatch, a blog run by Paul Lukas out of Brooklyn. Every day UniWatch engages its readers in insanely fine-tooth combing of the past and present of athletic uniforms and insignia. Lukas just polled his most learned followers on their favorite major league baseball caps of all time. (See here, here, and here.) They are all opinionated – way opinionated – and most carry a bias for Old School. I love them, in the one-dimensional way that boys have.

I have always liked design in general, from advertising to architecture. I can't draw very well. But equipped with felt-tip pen and my fellow design-freak DJ, who knows computers and design history both, we've been able to design logos and booklets and websites for Citizens Union, the Kaplan Fund, and a few different independent ventures.

These days, though, I worry a bit about being part of another problem: logo creep. Corporate logos are everywhere, you will have noticed, on signs, shirts, hats, bags, vehicles, buildings, and bodies. And – worst of all – on sports uniforms at all levels. Every college football and basketball player, not excluding the Ivy League, wears uniforms designed by mega-corporations and prominently featuring their mega-corporate logos. We UniWatch guys hate the Swoosh.

The dialectical response, of course, is DIY. There now exists a critical mass of crazed men (not too many women, quite honestly) who make their own uniforms at home, uniforms of pro teams they follow or of imaginary teams that exist only under their caps. The finest flowering of this trend may be the effort of Robert Marshall to make his own bobble-heads for his own make-believe teams. I won't disclose the particulars of the custom order I just sent him.

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