A sporting chance of style

There is always a buzz of controversy when a new team releases details of its name and uniform, so how does the new Greater Western Sydney Aussie rules football team called the Giants measure up?

I don’t mind their name – or their orange team colour - and the logo and team kit is pretty good too. It reminds me of a 21st century take on a State of Origin jersey. 

It might not top the simplicity of the old ‘Big V’, but now we can have the big ‘G’. 

So what design aspects make for a good sporting uniform, or indeed a bad one?

A good name will always help to get teams over the line, as will a well-matched logo. 

The late 70s, and early 80s World Series cricket uniforms were amazing. Deep cut necklines in lemon for Australia, pinks and pastels for England, West Indies et al. 

No doubt they had their own controversies, but whenever I see footage of these guys, I can’t help but smile and wonder if we’ve lost some of our innocence and our ability to express ourselves. These guys looked great, but their modern-day equivalents look boring in over sponsored paint-by-numbers gear.

American sports also seem to be able to get this right. The heady days of the Jordan-era NBA moved the sport on from the tight, short shorts of the 80s (though no-one told John Stockton) and through to the ghetto fabulous trend that swept the sport in the last decade.

The street began to mimic the styles of the pros, and the pros were influenced by the street in a chicken-egg conundrum, growing the uniforms into gargantuan proportions, with massive shorts and draping singlets de rigueur. 

It may seem very dated now, but the graphic design of the NBA during the 90s was groundbreaking and found its way to almost every sport you can imagine. Check out a Houston Rockets or Milwaukee Bucks top to see what I mean. Their influence could be felt the world over.

Back to Australia and it’s hard to forget when the Brisbane Bears were formed along with the West Coast Eagles. 

The Eagles became the new team of the west. Their name and the colours just worked, but their brethren from the north never felt quite right, not to mention the name that had no business being involved in an Australian competition. 

Thankfully it didn’t last too long and the Lions went on to claim pride of place in Brisbane, with their pleasingly nostalgic uniform. I haven’t the same hopes for the Gold Coast team, with their uniform that looks like a training jersey and lacks a certain sense of occasion.

Soccer - or confusingly in this country – football, is a mixed bag. The colours and history are so short that that we have borrowed heavily from European counterparts. But once again, the simpler kits are better.  The emblems of The Victory and Heart are the strongest (sorry if that seems Melbourne-centric) and in spite of Perth’s success, their colours are as uninspiring as their neighbour’s from another code, Fremantle, because in my book, purple should only be used as a sporting colour where forces of loyalty and tradition demand it.

Putting your loyalty aside, what do you think are the truly great looking teams out there and why?  And who should be sent back to the drawing board?

This article A sporting chance of style was originally published in The Age.