Branding Design Critique - Indiana Pacers New Look

By Raymond Stone on July 29, 2017

For the 2017-18 NBA season the Indiana Pacers unveiled a new look that features a uniform set along with a state pride secondary logo.

I will begin with a critique of the uniforms.

What works:

The typefaces. I say “typefaces” plural to consider the slight possibility the Pacers used different styles for the wordmark and the numbers. The modern typeface style brings the uniform set into 2017. I especially enjoy the resemblance of the “8” to a racetrack (albeit a dangerous racetrack), which unintentionally alludes to both the harness and Indianapolis 500 racing cultures that inspired the team’s nickname.

What doesn’t work:

“Indiana” placement. Admittedly this is just a half gripe since the placement only appears to be an issue on the mannequin pieces. On the set the players modeled during the unveiling the placement appears in a lower, more ideal location.

Number size. Double digit numbers crowd the limited space within the “Indiana Pacers” circle. Nudging the font size down 10%-15% should establish more breathing room.

Text outlines. The white jersey features dark blue text on a white background; the dark blue jersey features golden yellow text on a dark blue background. Each displays enough contrast to make text outlines unnecessary, but they exist in both uniforms. Up close the outlines do nothing to enhance the contrast between text and background. From afar the outlines create a fuzzy halo effect around the letters and numbers. Lastly, eliminating text outlines would help manage some of the spacing issues between the letters and the numbers.

A critique of the state logo.

What works:

Shape. I must begin by calling attention to the brilliance of using only multiples of 45-degree angles of long straight lines to capture the shape of the home state. As a slight minimalist I believe in the power of simplicity. The state shape leads me to wonder if the Pacers should consider using it in their primary logo instead of the “P” shape that makes the logo read as “P Pacers.” The switch would also address the fact that the Pacers are the only NBA team with a logo that does not feature the team’s location.

What doesn’t work:

Silver outline. Maybe I’m missing something about the history of the franchise, city, or state that prevents me from understanding why Pacers logos need silver outlines.


The new jerseys and logo work but could use some improvements that would take no more than a few minutes apiece in either Illustrator or Photoshop. I will put the new uniforms at least a step above any other set they’ve had in their history except maybe the late 80s version below...but for more nostalgia reasons than design reasons.


Images are courtesy of the following links:

Raymond Stone
BA in Art Practice, UC Berkeley
User Experience Designer

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