Its a New Ballgame. OCD, Original Champions of Design, in New York (Bobby Martin jr. and Jennifer Kinon) have created a fresh new identity for the WNBA. They’ve retained some of the old WNBA flavor but altered the fundamental look in terms of color (happy orange) and typography. The WNBA’s summer basketball season has for too long played second team to the male NBA. This rebrand may help raise visibility and deserved interest too. I asked Martin and Kinon to discuss their slam dunk.
What did the WNBA want you to do?
The gameplay of the WNBA had outpaced the look/feel of their identity system. The WNBA wanted us to update the primary mark to better represent athleticism and diversity and then develop an overall identity system that could more efficiently and effectively support the WNBA players, teams and partners. Sports leagues in the States share a particular look and feel, our challenge was to simultaneously work within and play against that vernacular.
Was there any pushback that you moved away from the NBA identity?
The identity development was an eighteen-month collaborative process that started with a brand manifesto and resolved into the orange lozenge. That rounded rectangle is synonymous with world-class basketball and so actually moved us closer into the NBA identity. Also the condensed typography resonates more nearly to the NBA condensed Helvetica. It’s only the color that’s moved away and that comes out of the WNBA’s own history. It’s their authentic voice.
What was your thinking. Orange is basketball? Type looks like court? Or something other?
One word came up again and again in our research: swagger. Our thinking was simply to make the WNBA’s swagger manifest. If we did it right, the sum of the design elements should be greater than its parts.
When will this be launched in its entirety?
The WNBA is a summer sports league. Draft is on April 15th. Tipoff is May 24 and finals are mid-October. New assets will rollout all season long from jerseys to pole pads to fresh paint on the courts and new merch in the stores.
Are you fans of WNBA?
Hell yeah ! We can’t wait for the Liberty to come back to MSG.