Ever since it was announced at the Draft that the Winnipeg Jets would be the team name, the Internet blew up with concept designs. While there were a handful of designs using new colors the blue, red and white were the most prominent throughout the concepts. Some stuck true to the older look with the word script being prominent in the logo while others focused more on a Jet instead.
What True North settled on is a little bit of new mixed with tradition, however it’s the tradition of the Air Force and not really that of the Jets of old. The red is gone except for the maple leaf and that is the only place it’ll be according to Mark Chipman. In comes a second blue and a pair of greys and we’ve got a whole new look and feel to our team.
Now there is no going back on this change now, in the past teams have tried this before. The New York Islanders had their gaudy foray into a new look in 1995 which was changed back to the original logo and colors in 1998.
the Buffalo Sabres completely switched things up from there blue and yellow to black, red and grey in 1996 as well but went back to the old colours in 2006 and finally went back to their old original logo in 2010.
The Washington Capitals is another team that tried to drastically change up their look going away from the red, white and blue colours and watermark logo to the black, gold, dark teal and eagle logo in 1995. They went back to their roots and original logo in 2007.
These three teams are great examples of failed change and with any break from tradition it runs a risk of losing the fan loyalty that was built towards your brand. In these three cities the new look didn’t stick for one reason or another but in the end the team returned to the initial brand. There’s also Vancouver that has had several looks and seems settled back on the colours they had when they first existed. The Pittsburgh Penguins colours have gone from blue and yellow to black and yellow to black and gold but the futuristic penguins logo of the 90′s is gone and back to the original.
That can open up another debate as this is a new Jets and a new brand so while we in Winnipeg see the 1980′s logo as the original, make no mistake about it True North sees this as the original and the start of them building their brand with the city. Judging by early merchandise sales I think they won’t have the same issues that New York, Buffalo and Washington had and they are uniquely different situations.
And not all times does a brand change fail and revert back to the old. I doubt we will anytime soon see the original colors or look of the Anaheim Ducks return. The New Jersey Devils aren’t going to go back to Red and Green and the Los Angeles kings are not going to be going back to Purple and Gold either.
The fact remains that as time goes on some teams will look to tweak or change their look for a variety of reasons from ownership change, decrease in merchandise or they just feel it’s time but when we look at some of the teams that have barely changed it makes you wonder why.
The Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs etc. are a few of the teams that have stuck very true to the original brand and have some of the most loyal fans out there. I’m not saying that this proves there’s a direct relationship to fan loyalty and brand loyalty but I am saying that it has got to help.
Merchandise still sells for these teams and they didn’t need a new logo or new colours to do so. The jerseys have changed slightly over the years but the Red Wings jersey now is still the same look as it was 40 years ago.
Getting back to the Jets, I’m not saying True North made a mistake with the new look, and I’m not saying that in five years they’ll revert to the old look. What I’m saying is that when it comes to the logos and the jerseys True North potentially had to come up with a design and look that will become the new tradition in Winnipeg and will earn their fan loyalty. Anything can happen and there’s examples for sticking with a look till death do you part and examples for successful change and unsuccessful change. Only time will tell which category this new Jets look will fall into.