With the announcement that adidas will be taking over as rights holder for CFL uniforms starting in 2016, the first question every fan asked was ‘will the jerseys be different?’ The move to adidas from Reebok is a bit of a unique scenario, as adidas is actually the parent company of Reebok. So, the thinking in some circles is that existing uniforms may simply be re-badged with adidas logos, rather than completely refreshed. On the other hand, a simple re-badging seems like a big missed opportunity for the new rights holder looking to make a splash.
At this point we really don’t know which way it’ll go. Likely a few teams will take the opportunity to start fresh, while others may stick pretty close to their current designs. Most believe we have seen the last of the so-called Signature Look 3rd jerseys, at least in their current forms.
That sound you hear is Bomber fans celebrating.
As for the Redblacks, have to think significant changes will be made. Not that the current uniforms are awful, but there are definite issues. First and foremost, the two-tone notched numbers are difficult for fans and broadcasters alike. From a distance it can be a real challenge to differentiate a six from and eight.
The ones look a bit like sevens, too.
Then there’s the oversized font used on the namebar. Readability isn’t an issue, but the size causes the white namebar to impede on the black shoulders of the away (white) uniforms.
That ain’t pretty.
Also, given how fans have quickly gravitated to red and black plaid at TD Place, one has to think it will be incorporated into the home & away uniforms, not only the alternate.
So those are some of my thoughts on areas for improvement. I don’t dislike the current uniforms – the 2015 Grey Cup run solidified their place in my heart – but they can be better.
Now, let’s see what the artists think.
First is this from CFL artist Nelson Hackewich (who did a great job on all 9 teams – check them out):
Stripes on the shoulders of the home (black) and away (white) uniforms are a welcome change. The suggested use of ‘ROUGEetNOIR’ on the front of the away uniform is also a great (and I think very necessary) improvement.
Nelson went with a 1940s-era Ottawa Rough Riders jersey for the 3rd/alternate. It’s a very cool look. Love the numbers on the helmet. But I have to think when the Redblacks decide to adopt a throwback jersey for the first time they go with something from the Riders glory days in the 1960s.
Here’s an earlier flat version of the home and away above:
Next up is Defend the R contributor and fellow jersey nerd Nevill Carney with this updated jersey concept:
Single-colour numbering. Check. Classic piping on the shoulders. Check. Use of ‘OTTAWA’ on the front of the jersey. Check. 60s Rough Riders throwback. Check check. Only thing missing is perhaps more plaid. Pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point.
And right on cue, some updates from Nevill:
There you have it. Small Redblacks logo on the back is a nice touch, too.
Next up is SportsLogos.net user mbannon92:
This concept was actually done in the summer of 2015 supposing the CFL moved to Nike. Regardless, some great design elements. Here are the creator’s thoughts:
The primary uniforms (first set) feature an R-less logo on the sleeves, with matching chainsaw striping on the pants, and the home set features red pants to honor the team’s name. The RedBlacks’ Pride uniforms (2nd set) expand upon the team’s lumberjack-inspired identity, with a higher emphasis on red and red and black plaid on the helmet, sleeve caps, and pants. The look is sure to be a hit among die-hard fans and hipsters alike.
Really think he/she nailed so much on these sets, including the smaller namebar font, single colour numbers (while maintaining the notched number design), strong use of plaid (though not sure it works as well on the helmet…) and an overall cleaner/simpler look. Both those black jersey/red pant sets are stunning. Great job.
Finally, riderfans.com user Joe747 with his/her take:
A user on the forum noted the similarity to the Ottawa Renegades 2005 uniforms.
Very much so. Also similarities to the Atlanta Falcons. Not that either of those are bad things. The use of plaid on the home and away sets is just right. The classic red down the middle of the helmet is very Rough Riders. A very nice, modern set.
Interesting to note that every concept features some variation of a black helmet. Perhaps it’s the Ottawa tradition. Personally, I like the white helmets. I also might have expected someone to try a red helmet (we are the REDblacks, after all), but not to be. At least not yet.
Before you go, just thought I’d toss in this (somewhat) interesting (to me) screen capture from a video the Redblacks put together highlighting Burris’ MOP season in 2015:
Probably not indicative of anything, but I suppose it could be a tease. I do like the classic piping on the arms. Very Russ Jackson-esque.
No official date has been set for the new uniform release by the way, but odds are we will see something early May.
Thanks for reading!
Have a concept? We’d love to see it! Hit us up at @DefendTheR.
2 thoughts on “The latest Redblacks jersey concepts”
Absolutely fantastic writeup!
I really enjoyed seeing the various concepts that other artists have come up with. I really dig the designs by mbannon92 and Joe747, especially the way they each handled a nice balance with the plaid.
The plaid really has taken on a life of its own after just 2 seasons and it helps the RedBlacks stand out with their own identity. When I designed my concept prior to the 2015 season, I still wasn’t sure where I stood on the whole plaid idea. Fast forward to 2016 and I can’t see how we can’t incorporate it! The trick will be to find a balance where it doesn’t become an eyesore.
With the transition to Adidas, here’s hoping we soon become the sharpest looking team in the CFL!
Thanks Nevill! Lots of talented artists out there, including yourself.
Plaid is here to stay, no question about it. I’m still quietly hoping they give the all-plaid helmet another try. Could be so cool!