Hlvtca — A Study On
Reverse Branding
2017 Peter McClelland
So I’ve been thinking about this thing for a while. How can you take a brand back to the stage that made it iconic? Yeah, throwbacks are available and most sports teams have old school versions of their gear. But how can brands successfully cycle back, learn from, and capitalize on their previous identities? The recent Coop rebrand by North is a nice example of this.
Here’s the deal — the current Warriors design system is horrible. Sorry. Like many brands that are timid to evolve, but feel that they must, the Warriors’ most recent logo (that one on the left, from 2010) has diluted the simplicity and uniqueness of their heritage. They’ve attempted to adapt the classic golden gate bridge aesthetic (from 1969) into funky, “dynamic” form depicting the eastern-span of the bay bridge. I’m not even gonna address the use of Copperplate font, cause, well, yeah. I don't wanna be rude.
What If The Warriors Pulled A Brand Reversal?

With the Warriors eventually moving from Oakland and returning back to San Francisco, this is the chance for the Warriors to make a statement. And with the Raiders exiting the Bay Area altogether (ugh), the Warriors have an opportunity to represent something stronger — more than a simple reversal. The idea I'm pushing with this new black and white palette (and the use of the iconic Raiders Futura type treatment) is to transition the Raider-Nation's brand love and maintain an Oakland-ness to the Warriors' design system.
What’s up with those weird strike-throughs on the jerseys? It’s not any individual players number that matters — that’s not what Steve Kerr's ‘Strength In Numbers’ philosophy is all about.
Taking a cue from World Cup tradition, the five stars represent the Warriors' five NBA titles (1947, 1956, 1975, 2015, 2017).

Like any sport brand, lifestyle is a big element to its success and credibility. But, all this gear/ swag/ apparel/ merch/ whatever are rarely ever executed as true design systems. They're often created and designed by outside sources, like the overarching league or official merchandise partners (Adidas, NewEra, Majestic, etc) — so they become generically templatized and lack any vibe unique to the team itself.

Another quick rant... Major league teams treat women's apparel horribly. Cheesy pink tanks and humiliating glitter. Come on. Ladies deserve equally cool merch. Make stuff for them, not because of them.
No doubt, that original 'The City' logo is badass and should continue to live on. ESPN even called it the "best jersey ever". The Chronicle also has a great piece on the team's naming history — a good read.
That's all I got for now. I'll try and keep adding in ideas and thoughts. Lemme know what ya think — or better yet, hook me up with someone at the Warriors!


All photographs are credited and sourced from Reigning Champ, Bryzoid, The Chronicle, Getty Images, and Associated Press. I just did some janky photoshopping.

Shout out to Julia Capeloto for helping me with early thought starters and points of view.
hlvtca peter mcclelland
hlvtca peter mcclelland