The Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL are making a big play to get Springfield, Massachusetts recognized as the true Springfield to coincide with the 30th anniversary of The Simpsons.
The jerseys will be used as part of a promotional night on February 1st where the team will be renamed the “Ice-O-Topes,” in honor of the sports franchise of the same name in the show. The first look at the jerseys is astonishing. The bright yellow is eye-catching, the donut accents are a bold touch — but how good are these uniforms really?
It’s time for Tyson Whiting, Senior Designer at SB Nation and a design expert to review these for their worth alongside me, James Dator — resident design idiot.
Tyson, an expert:
Color: Right off the bat, the colors were the first thing that hooked me. They are SO strong. The yellow, the soft light blue, the pink! The color carries this jersey and drives home the Simpsons vibe. Maybe I am just a suckers for a nice deep yellow. Oh my god the socks are so good too!
Layout: I love the center stripe because it highlights the logo really well. The number on the sleeve sits nicely on there too. I feel as though the bottom stripes could have gone with one or the other. The detail on both compete in the hierarchy, and creates a slight distraction. I’d personally stick with the donut pink stripe, but I would make the sprinkles feel more random and less uniform. The horizontal sprinkles feel unnatural, and tad forced. The neck design on this jersey is unique and simple and considered with its blue tones. I wanted to mention it because something like that goes unnoticed and it is very nice.
Logo: I love this logo. Everything plays nicely together. I’d maaaaybe make the electric bolts a little bigger, but not totally necessary. I prefer the jersey logo where the center (nucleus?) is just a pink dot, and not a donut. I see what they are doing there to really drive home the Simpsons theme but it gets back into the idea that too much detail on a logo makes it busy. I don’t hate the donut when all is said and done though. It might not have needed the white boarder around it, but I can take it or leave it. Boarders tend to make things feel trapped but I don’t think it goes that far here. It is a nice logo considering what it is trying to do. It pays homage to the original logo and also the Simpsons as a whole.
Alt Logo: This logo knocks it out of the park. The remake of their usual logo in the Simpson style is clever and perfectly executed.
Overall thoughts: I picked at a few subjective details and I think it was fair considering how awesome this jersey is technically overall. If I was a T-Bird fan I’d buy this so fast (Hershey Bears fan here!) Everything goes together so well and does an incredible job at being one of those “theme night” jerseys without looking like hot trash. Because, we all know “themed” jerseys are all trash and I stand by it. I love hockey. I love The Simpsons. I love this jersey.
James, an idiot:
Color: I’m getting some SERIOUS Nick At Nite nostalgia vibes here which I’m super into. I know this is for The Simpsons, one of my favorite shows of all time — but this has a serious Hey Arnold! feel too, which I’m into. I personally don’t think I can pull off yellow, but if i had to wear yellow it would be this yellow.
Layout: There is so much going on and I’m here for it. I know Tyson thinks it’s a little busy, but when I’m looking for a tacky-ass theme jersey I’d rather it go all the way and blow me away with just how much it all is. I like donuts. I’m less of a fan of radiation since watching Chernobyl, but I can still get down with everything this jersey is giving me.
Logo: “Yassssssss!” is pretty much my only reaction here. I love the typical atom design with the donut at the center because it confirms my personal bias that donuts should be at the center of everything. This might sound weird when we’re talking about a tacky theme jersey, but there’s something almost classy about the logo. It looks like it could be a real logo a team is using seriously (and not just for a theme night) aside from the donut. I really like the juxtaposition.
Alt logo: I’m a tad bit disturbed the bird has Homer’s hair because it creates a fanfic rabbit hole I don’t want to travel down. Otherwise it’s perfect. This was either done by an actual Simpsons’ artist, or a really, really good facsimile of one.
Overall thoughts: I really want to buy one of these jerseys. I wish the team had gone for “Isotopes,” which the show uses for the minor league baseball team — rather than the extremely on the nose “Ice-O-Topes,” which was notably in the hockey episode, but I like it decidedly less. Really that’s a pretty minor quibble. This is the best theme jersey I have ever seen in any sport, and that is an astonishing accomplishment for any team.