From the King of Style™
From a state as vociferously resplendent as to have its license plates proclaim, “Live Free or Die”, the King of Style™ believes firmly in impactful and pronounced fashion, especially whence on la bici. (To bring the historically uninclined up to speed, LFoD is the brazen motto from the granite state of New Hampshire.)
Bold is beautiful and so is this kit – bold, that is, not necessarily beautiful. The critical part of any cycling kit is the jersey, yes? The Gorilla Brand kit cleaves abruptly from de rigueur cycling fashion and places a massive shadowed mammal on the front of their jersey; that much is obvious. Perhaps less obvious is that that is badass and scores highly simply for its aggressive nature. Yet, I don’t necessarily recommend this practice; Team Opossum, for example likely won’t have the same appeal.
I must intercede further critique by proclaiming that I generally try not to let the actual sponsor behind the sponsor invade upon my objective style analysis. However as any New Hampshirite worth his salt knows, perusing BrooklynPaper.com is an instrumental part of each and every morning. Therefore it was virtually impossible to miss this story some weeks ago. While typically the rich and unctuous aroma of coffee wafts from Gorilla Coffee Co.’s front door, on this insidious day it emitted solely the mephitic odor of treachery.
A coffee-block is one thing, but to coffee-block patrons of a shop that sponsors a cycling team?! Well, that simply defies comprehension. Besides the hundreds of other coffee shops throughout New York City, where, I ask, will Joao and his shorn leg Brooklynite cronies go to acquire their coffee fix?
I stray off point, back to the kit.
The back of the jersey also scores styles points. Sticking with the tough-guy theme of Brooklyn, the letters BKLYN apparently teamed up and cast both their rotund vowel companions and the letter R aside leaving only what you see there. Again, from a style perspective, in this case it simply works. Conversely, as great of a squad as it is, Crvl Tsttm simply wouldn’t fly. Additionally, the silhouetted Brooklyn skyline towards the bum of this jersey is a winning choice.
Detracting heavily from the kit, though, are the shorts. They’re just drab and lack any sort of imagination. The hindquarters, the crotch, or even beneath the “Bklyn” along the legs leave plenty of room for some adventure in design as equally bold as the jersey’s front. The lack thereof is considerable shame.
Using strictly orange and black is a presumptuous move, but thankfully the former ranks highly among my favorite colors and therefore this brash choice once again is a success.
With an already verbose critique before you already, without further ado, I present the scores.
Effort in design: A-
Ability to Elicit Audience Participation: A
Execution of final product: B
In the world of graphic design (a world in which I am both a citizen and viscount), there are many ways a designer can draw attention to what they deem is important. Manipulation of scale (making things really big or really small) is a tried and true method of capturing a viewer's attention. In fact, there's an old art school saying that goes, "If you can't make it good, make it big, and if you can't make it big, cover it in neon orange spray paint." Of, course that's not a hard and fast rule—because I think it may have originated from the guys in the school who enjoyed being in a room full of paint fumes—and I'm not saying that the Gorilla coffee kit suffers from being bad or being covered in paint fumes, what I'm saying is... Well, I've lost my train of thought, perhaps that's a result of too many fume-filled endeavors.
To use the most hackish nomenclature possible, there's a 400 pound gorilla on this jersey—you can't miss it—it's on the front. It's a very large usage of the Gorilla Coffee logo, which is a fine example of the use of scale to gain attention. This is where things get complicated, while I applaud using large imagery, I feel that in this case the gorilla face might be a little too large. It straddles the fine line between identifiable simian visage and random assemblage of large black shapes, which is not good. Complicating this situation is the fact that the face is on a jersey which is also on a person—people are never very good canvasses, they have bumps and curves and crevasses which serves to distort graphic imagery that's placed upon them—stupid un-flat people! Further complicating the recognition of the gorilla face is the fact that it's on the front of the jersey. Cyclists when they are riding, are generally hunched over their machines (well, except for recumbent riders, who are, in essence, in a reclined position with their genitals skyward). This hunching serves to obscure most of the front panels of any jersey except for the top areas on the shoulders. In the Gorilla Coffee jersey's case, this means the gorilla face will only be visible when the riders are standing up and facing you. I have to wonder if the jerseys might have been better had the gorilla been moved to the back of the kit, and as I am a hack, it would've offered me the opportunity to tell every Gorilla Coffee rider that I came across that they "have a monkey on their back".
In summation, this is a nice jersey design, but I would've relished the "monkey on your back" opportunity.
Who we are.
Dan Schmalz, when he's not typing aimlessly on the internet for free, is a graphic designer who has owned his own firm for over a decade. His work has been published in numerous national design publications, and his work has received several national awards.
If you want to have you team's kit put through the fashion critique wringer, drop us a line, and we will try to be gentle.
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