[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest post from reader Michael Raskin, who brings up a point that I think most of us have griped about at one time or another. Enjoy. — PL]
By Michael Raskin
There’s a lot of talk on Uni Watch about fonts and typography, but I’m not sure we’ve ever focused on my pet peeve: incorrect fonts on retired number banners. A prime example can be found here in South Florida, where I live: The Panthers’ banner for Roberto Luongo’s banner features a “1” that the team never wore, even though they got it right in the press conference and during the on-ice ceremony itself.
Here are some other examples:
The L.A. Kings had the right(ish) Gretzky font at the time of his number retirement but have now changed it, along with the team’s other banners, to a consistent (wrong) font:
- The Canucks have a long history of wrong or era-inappropriate fonts:
Sometimes a banner will have the wrong fonts and logos. Charles Barkley’s 76ers banner, for example, went up to the rafters with a logo he never wore (as well as a font they’ve never used). They revised the logo part, and then they did this (so Barkley has already had three different banner designs!):
In Seattle, Lauren Jackson’s original Storm banner was recently changed to a logo and font she never played under (although it’s hard to see in this photo, which was the best I could find):
Most of these problems break down into three categories
- A player from an earlier era gets a banner with the the team’s current font, which they never wore (Pavel Bure).
- A team keeps updating its banners to keep pace with their logo/color/brand changes. (Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Stars, L.A. Kings).
- Numbers that should have been easy but they just blew it: Luongo, Patrick Ewing and Derek Harper.
Personally, I think the whole idea of changing a banner after the fact doesn’t feel right. Granted, I’ll never have my number retired for anything, but if I did, and I went through the ceremony, it would feel a little odd if I looked up years later to find they’d changed it to another color just because the team went through a redesign sometime after my number-retirement ceremony. Isn’t a retired number banner supposed to evoke a sense of “forever” or “eternity”? What’s the point if you’re going to keep changing the banner design?
I imagine there are numerous additional examples throughout sports but figured I’d get the conversation started.
Paul here. I love this topic, and I know there are sooooo many additional examples out there, so feel free to post them in today’s comments.
It seems like we could use a set of rules governing the designs of retired number banners. To me, it seems fairly simple and straightforward:
- Use the fonts, colors, and logos that the player wore during his time with the team.
- After following rule No. 1, don’t change the banner design. (If the banner gets old and ratty, just make a new one with the same design. Or better yet, make two or three identical banners to begin with, so you can have some in reserve if needed and you’ll know they were produced to the same specs.)
That’s it — done and done. I can imagine rare instances in which I team might need to deviate from these rules due to special circumstances (I wouldn’t expect or want the Guardians to maintain an old banner showing Chief Wahoo, for example, and I suppose moving to a new stadium or arena might sometimes require a different banner-display situation that could in turn require having new banners made), but they should at least try to at least stay true to the spirit of the rules.
Or at least that’s my take. What’s yours?