Football season may be months and months away–or just weeks behind us, if you’re living in the past–but the business of the NFL has been successfully marketed as 365-day entertainment. (Just check out the enthusiasm the sports media has generated to celebrate college athletes running around in their underwear at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this weekend!) That means–as designer Dylan Young of Deeyung Entertainment affirmed–it’s never the wrong time to think about how the game could look better.
Or, at least, bigger, which Young’s Fresh Football Helmets series definitely aims for. The concept designs reimagines all 32 NFL teams’ helmets (plus one for the long-defunct Houston Oilers, who presumably hold a soft spot in the designer’s heart) with brighter, bolder colors, and much larger logos. Young’s design plays up maximum contrast and maximum coverage. A lot of helmets go with a stark white background on which a darkly-colored logo pops, while the amount of real estate on the helmet that the team logo occupies is much larger than in the current designs (for all teams except the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, anyway, who super-sized their pirate flag logo in a redesign in recent years, which may have served as Young’s inspiration).
The results are bold and very contemporary, with teams like the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers getting slight updates that sharpen the classic look. Other teams get redesigned a bit more garishly–the Miami Dolphins get a cracked orange backdrop that would certainly make it easy for Ryan Tannehill to spot an open receiver downfield, while the New York Giants get a flowing American flag background, in a curious move that would presumably make more sense for the New England Patriots (maybe the Giants claimed the flag logo in the two Super Bowls the team beat the Pats in since 2008?). And the less said about the day-glo green on the Seattle Seahawks design, the better.
Some of the more ambitious designs look great–the Carolina Panthers, the San Diego Chargers, and the Buffalo Bills all get updates that preserve the teams’ current identities while making sharper use of color and and lines. Others have potential, but ignore longstanding iconography in ways that are unrecognizable–the Chicago Bears have made it 93 years without an orange-to-navy gradient on their helmets, thank you, and the Cincinnati Bengals already have the most perfect helmet designs in the NFL–but anything that shakes up the staid way that the NFL designs its uniforms is worth looking at and considering.