How does a logo that has generated so many negative reviews get green-lit for production? Panic; sheer panic. In what can only best be described as a rush job, the new logo for the Los Angeles Clippers has drawn both ire and intrigue; but mostly great disdain. Most people are aware that the logo isn’t ideal and Grantland recently ranked it as the second worst logo in the NBA. What most people don’t know is how the logo actually came to be and why it is one of the biggest botches in recent organizational history.
Sources are always hard to figure out; especially when it comes to giving you legitimate news. Sometimes they tell you things that aren’t exactly breaking news or sometimes they give you information that turns out to be false. But sometimes – in some instances – they give you legitimate gossip that you fully and wholly believe in. In the case of the Los Angeles Clippers and their new logo, the news and rumors pertaining to the inadequate concept that was delivered by a production team seems like a completely authentic series of events. The logo was rushed on many fronts but the main perpetrator of the logo being hastily thrown together and produced was none other than Gillian Zucker – the Clippers’ current President of Business Operations. In the story that unfolds here, you will read how she allegedly outsourced the new logo to a rival competitor and then, in an attempt to avoid humiliation, threw together a jumbled mess of quotes that attempted to pass both the logo and court designs off as acceptable.
Fundamentally and ethically, one should stand by a lackluster decision when it starts to unfold as less-than-kosher. They should not try to pawn off the decision as a case of mistaken identity or as something it clearly is not. As far as the new logo is concerned, the team and surrounding staff would lead you to believe that it blends a perfectly new style all the while keeping up the somewhat historical ideals of the older logo(s). That’s a foolish concept to try and sell people on since that’s – clearly – not the case. The Clippers have stood by the concept; a concept that does not work for neither the team nor the area it is associated with. This is a fundamental problem considering Zucker supposedly outsourced the logo and now everyone is “in” on trying to make people believe the logo works. The dirty dark secret of the new logo is that it, in fact, was allegedly created by the Miami Heat design staff.
Purportedly, in late 2014, Gillian Zucker addressed the Clippers in-house design team and stated that she wanted a rebrand. There’s usually zero problem with doing that. Teams do it all the time and come up with new designs over a few years and make it work for themselves. The issue in this case is that Zucker urged the team that she wanted to unveil the new logo and stuff by June 2015. We’re talking doing everything she wanted within the timeframe of roughly seven or eight months. That’s a tall task; and the staff let her know that it wasn’t enough time and that it would take approximately a year to do everything properly. She was not onboard with that idea.
Because of the design staff effectively informing her that it would take longer than she liked, Zucker then outsourced the logo to the Heat design team. In some ways that is a conflict of interest since, after all, they are part of the same umbrella of corporations – so to speak. In other ways, when someone allegedly offers you $1 million to do the job, you find a way to do the job and do it quickly. And so they did. In fact, they did it in approximately six or so weeks. Why did she pick the Heat? My source divulged to me that she has a peculiar liking to the Heat organization – as well as the Brooklyn Nets. This is where the all-black alternate uniforms that the Clippers might be wearing this season come into play.
The issue here isn’t the fact that the job was rushed or even cheap. The main issue stems from Zucker reportedly giving the logo job to another team and just going with their design because it was done in a timely manner. According to the source, nobody inside the Clippers organization is fond of the logo or even really likes it in the slightest. The issue of the logo being outsourced is also why you don’t see any special features on the logo or jerseys like you see with teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks when they unveiled their new logo and jersey sets this offseason, as well.
Zucker’s apparent soft spot for the Heat and Nets organizations – hence the alternate ball logo (Nets) and black border around the new court design (Heat and Nets) – is what led to this logo being made. That and the fact the Clippers design staff told her it was impossible to do a logo in such a short period of time and have it look like they think it should look. For some reason, according to the source, it was important to her to get the new logo and jerseys out this summer. The beveling on the letters, spacing between the letters, and lettering in general just look terrible. And you can tell it was a rushed job by a staff that had no clue what they were doing; primarily because they had no vested interest in the history of the team or intricacies of the team’s design elements.
Furthermore, the source informed that this is part of the reason why Zucker is looked at unfavorably inside the Clippers organization. Few like her at all and many find her oblivious. While no one can doubt that Zucker has a keen sense of business practice due to her time in NASCAR, it seems like she might be out of her element when it comes to the basketball landscape and dealings of this magnitude. She is also the reason that an unnamed player – one who I actually do happen to know the name of – decided not to return to the Clippers this upcoming season. There’s also a supposedly interesting non-Zucker related story surrounding Doc Rivers but that will have to be for a far later time.
There’s a reason why you see such bogus phrases as “our curved lines surrounding our word mark and our blue foul lines symbolize the horizon of the ocean alluding to the team’s nautical roots.” It’s all a ploy to save face amidst an avalanche of bad decisions and imprudent thinking. It’s also the reason why you see random pseudo marketing speak in things like “[the] stacked LA takes the shape of a basketball court, signifying ‘LA Basketball’” and “[the] Clippers blue ‘C’ wraps around the LA, literally embracing our great city.” If the logo has to be explained to you in intricate detail, it’s not a good logo.
Whether you choose to believe this story is up to you. It’s a story I was told, put onto, and fed information for. It’s a story that I – personally – do believe and buy. Connecting the dots does work here; at least for me. This is a story I was put onto the scent of in June – prior to the logo’s official unveiling. The source(s) that I derived the information from did so under the promise of anonymity. Nothing is to be gained from this other than the knowledge of how the logo was made, who it was made by, and who requested everything surrounding it. So, there you have it. A logo, allegedly, created under the pressure of panic rather than the prudence of patience.