When the St. Louis Rams recently announced that they'd be moving back to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, all sorts of uniform-related speculation immediately ensued. Would the Rams get a new uni set? Would they go back to their old L.A. colors?
Aside from changing their logo to say "Los Angeles" instead of "St. Louis," the Rams haven't yet addressed those questions. But we didn't want to wait, so we recently invited Uni Watch readers to come up with their own ideas for how the team should look now that it's back in L.A.
It's worth mentioning that many, many readers responded by saying, "They should just go back to the old L.A. Rams design" or "Redesignate their current throwbacks as their primary uniform." And sure, that would likely be a popular route for the team to take.
But well more than 100 readers accepted the challenge to redesign the Rams -- sometimes with small tweaks and sometimes with radical makeovers. The best and most interesting submissions are shown below. For each of them, you can click on the image to see a larger version of it. Ready? Here we go.
Best overall uniform set: Alex Rocklein
Alex Rocklein's submission has strong echoes of the Rams' L.A.-era uniforms -- he went back to the old color scheme and restored the horns to the shoulders and sleeves -- but also has some new elements. He added white sleeves and numbers to the home design (a very simple move that looks terrific), changed the sleeves on the road jersey to blue (they used to be yellow back in the day), and came up with a solid alternate uniform. More evolution than revolution, it's a strong design that recalls the past while pointing toward the future. Nice job.
Best new helmet: John Roshell
The reality, of course, is that the Rams' helmet is fine just the way it is. Why mess with perfection? But hey, this is a redesign contest, so there were lots of submissions featuring new looks for the team's headgear. The best one was from John Roshell, who shortened the horns, giving them a bit less of a curlicue, and also gave them some two-color accenting. Not bad! It looks just as sharp with his road uniform design, and then he swapped out the horn decals and face mask for his alternate design. If the Rams ever change their helmet -- which, let's face it, seems unlikely -- they could do a lot worse than this.
Best new logo set: Dan Kennedy
Most NFL logo mascots, whether human or animal, face rightward. Dan Kennedy's ram faces left -- a good detail for a franchise returning to the Left Coast -- and he has used it as the basis for a well-integrated system of logos that feel classic and contemporary in equal measure. He also has taken the extra step of showing how the logos would look on the field, where they work really well:
You can see Kennedy's full presentation, including his proposed uniforms, here.
Best slightly revised logos: Tim Burke and Mark Rabinowitz
Sometimes you don't have to reinvent the wheel -- you just have to tinker with it a bit. Tim Burke, who created the design shown above on the blue background, improved upon the Rams' current logo by lowering the ram's head, adding some ridges to its horns and making its face less cartoonish. Mark Rabinowitz, who designed the logo on the white background, got similarly impressive mileage by making some minor adjustments to the ram and, especially, by positioning the team name on an upward slant, which gives his logo a sense of liftoff. Nicely done.
Best commemorative patch: Andrew Wagner
We asked everyone to include a patch design commemorating the Rams' return to L.A. Andrew Wagner's was the best of the batch -- love the way he worked "LA" into the "Rams" lettering, and even use of the word "Rebirth" feels right. Simple, powerful, effective. (And Wagner's full uniform concept isn't bad either.)
Best presentation: Gene Sanny
Gene Sanny's concept is solid enough, but what really sets it apart is the illustration showing the uniforms in action -- so much more dynamic-looking than a simple template or mock-up, and it gives much better sense of how the uniform would look in the real world. Remember, kids, presentation counts.
Best gratuitous use of black: Walter Srocki
We're all familiar with the trend of sports teams adding black to their color schemes for no good reason. (Here at Uni Watch, we call this "BFBS" -- black for black's sake.) But Walter Srocki actually came up with a good rationale for dressing the Rams in black: He renamed the team as the Black Sheep -- a good name for an itinerant franchise like this one -- and even used the second and third letters of the new name to highlight the team's new city. The results are, frankly, hideous (although the same can be said for most teams that go the BFBS route), but the underlying idea is clever.
Honorable mention: The eccentric designer known as Wafflebored came up with a Rams identity design that honors place-kickers, including a kicking-themed number font. ... Tom Bierbaum's Rams concept was so-so, but his hand-drawn submission included a glimpse at what could be a really good redesign for the Buccaneers. As usual, he also included a Joe Cool-style mascot character. ... NFL uniforms don't have corporate ad patches (yet). But if that ever happens, Brad Swanson's Rams logo is tailor-made for a McDonald's sponsorship. ... You know the famous "Hollywood" sign? Brandon McDaniel's submission included player names rendered in typography that echoes the look of the sign. It doesn't quite work, but it's a fun idea. ... Someone must have told Eric Wahlquist that the person judging this contest really likes stripes. That's happens to be true, but there's such a thing as too many stripes. ... Everyone wants to see the horns restored to the Rams' shoulders and sleeves. Back in the day, the sleeves were long enough to accommodate the horn and the uni number, but today's football jerseys barely have sleeves at all, and you can see the problem on the Rams' current throwbacks, where the horn, the number, and the Nike logo all compete for the very limited space. Craig Markus came up with a good solution: He had the horn begin on the inner shoulder and superimposed the number on that area, leaving the sleeve number-free. (As you can see, he also put menacing eyes on the upper chest -- let's hope Nike doesn't get any ideas from that one.)
Can't get enough? You can see all of the entries we received here.
Paul Lukas will have more redesign challenges soon. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted or just ask him a question? Contact him here.