I'm not the biggest fan of crowdsourcing the court design to be used at the American Airlines Center. And I'm not the only one who is questioning this strategy. Look ... if you are a billionaire owner of an NBA franchise, you can afford to pay some professionals to put forward a well-done, long-term branding strategy that your fans can be proud of. You don't need to use cheap ploys like this to drum up short-term interest while sacrificing overall quality. I'm actually really confused by Cuban's branding strategies lately. He never used to be afraid to pay whatever it took to ensure a quality product when people see the "Dallas Mavericks" name.
So I don't get the impulse lately to farm design work out to amateur fans. Seriously, Mark, hire a professional. These people do good work. Just don't use whoever the hell Steve Ballmer paid.
But hey, Mark Cuban is going to do whatever he wants with this team, and that's his prerogative. I can't even pretend I didn't think about submitting my own design. However, as is usually the case for lawyers and bloggers like myself, I am much better at assessing the work of others than submitting my own creative ideas.
So hey, I figured I'd give my two cents on a few of the designs submitted so far. If you want to see all of them, check out this link or just search Twitter and Instagram for the hashtag #MavsNewCourt.
These are a few of the designs that caught my eye, for good or for ill.
This is an example of doing a little too much. I really like the NBA's new trend towards sublimation and cool designs inside the arc or the paint--Denver's court is a perfect example of doing this correctly. This design takes it too far, while also utilizing too many design elements and too many colors. And while I really loved the Diddy "Mavs" script on the old alternate uniforms, it doesn't look right at center court.
I really liked the simplicity of this design. I actually think this one would be really cool at the Mavs practice facility or for something like a one-time charity game. But as the main court design for an NBA franchise, it is just too stark. This is also an example of a problem with a number of the court designs submitted so far, in that it requires a change in color scheme. I'm actually a fan of adding green back to the Mavs primary color scheme -- or updating the overall branding in some other way -- but nothing in this promotion leads me to believe that's what Cuban is looking to do. If you're looking to win the contest, avoid adding green or black or even the red/white/blue Texas theme the previous guy was going for.
This one is interesting mostly just because I'm curious if they could get stain the wood grey like this in a way that looks really good. If so, that would be interesting and different. Some teams have parquet floors. Others have unique wood patterns, like Brooklyn's herringbone or Charlotte's honeycomb. But no one has a floor that doesn't have some form of natural tan/brown wood coloring. Unfortunately, this skyline design (while playing off the design of Cuban's previous crowdsourcing victor) is entirely derivative of Cleveland's recent court facelift. Remove that, and I'd be totally behind this design.
This is another one that makes interesting use of sublimation. I don't think any other team has tried playing with the wood in this way to form an alternate take on the primary logo. Very interesting idea, but I'm not sure it quite works. Love the creativity though. And I'm also a sucker for the NCAA-style oversized mid-court logo.
This one is probably a little over the top, but it's maybe the best design I saw that implements the current skyline design. (You might notice that Geoff is the person who designed the skyline jerseys, too.) I don't love the way the border alternates in shade of blue, but I really like the way the mid-court logo adapts the skyline wordmark from the alternate jerseys and shooting shirts. This would be cool to see at mid-court (with the rest of the court how it normally looks) on nights when the Mavs where the skyline uniforms at home. The Bucks are utilizing an alternate court design to pair with an alternate uniform -- why not Dallas?
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None of these really make me feel great about abandoning the current court used by Dallas, unless the grey wood idea could work -- I could get behind that design element, assuming we leave out the sublimated skyline. We can't have Cavs fans accusing us of stealing from them.
Overall, these designs look like what they are: fan designs. Some of them are interesting. Some of them are out there. Some are crazy and awesome and never going to happen. But you know what none of them are? Quality, professional design-work. Which is in no way an insult to these great fans who are having fun with this contest. I am a big proponent of #teamfun. But nothing blows me away.
Hey Mark, when you're really ready to give the franchise a facelift, I am all for it -- as long as you give the process the forethought, effort, and professionalism it deserves. But please stop with these half-measures. And fans, if you want to see what it looks like when an NBA franchise does a redesign right, please go watch a Bucks game.