The Carolina Panthers will reportedly sport new, Nike-designed uniforms for the 2012 season.
Update – Jan. 28: The new Carolina Panthers logo has leaked. Follow the link to check it out.
Paul Lukas of Uni Watch wrote in a post this morning that he has heard from a source that the Panthers will join the Seahawks (a team we previously reported would be in new attire in 2012) as the two NFL teams that will debut new uniforms next season.
Update – Oct. 27: I have since heard a second-hand report from someone inside the Panthers organization who disputes the notion that the Panthers are getting new uniforms next season. It looks like we can’t say for sure that changes are coming, but it would not surprise me to see the Panthers sporting new uniforms in the near future, if not 2012. Now, back to the original article…
Nike is taking over as the NFL’s official uniform manufacturer after this season and it was widely speculated that the sports apparel company would pressure NFL teams to redesign their duds. Nike is known for pushing the envelope in its football uniforms (look no further than Oregon to see Nike design at its most extreme). It’s no surprise that teams with classic looks (like the Packers and Steelers) refused to budge, but it appears Nike has had better luck getting to teams with less history to maintain.
The Carolina Panthers played their first game in 1995 and, apart from the occasional commemorative patch, the franchise hasn’t altered its uniformssince that first game. A light blue alternate jersey was introduced in 2002 and quickly became a favorite of many of the team’s fans. While some regard the Panthers’ uniforms as a modern classic, there are numerous voices within the sports uniforms community calling for an update to the look.
At this point, there are no details about what the new uniforms will look like. It’s very likely that the Panthers’ primary logo and colors (black, light blue and silver) will remain unchanged, although we could potentially see the Panthers modernize their logo the same way the Lions and Cardinals have done in recent years. A black helmet could be interesting, although it might not work with a predominantly black logo. A unique number font on the jerseys seems like a certainty, as no new NFL uniform design in recent years has used a standard block font. We could also see the black pants that have been rumored for years.
Below, we’ll take a look at some uniform concepts posts on the Chris Creamer Sports Logo Community, an online forum dedicated to sports logos and uniforms that features some highly-skilled designers. It’s important to stress that the Panthers uniform designs you’ll see below are just concepts and they are in no way being considered by the Carolina Panthers or Nike. However, the designs below might give an indication of what direction the Panthers’ new uniforms will take.
First up is Brave-Bird 08‘s take on the Panthers. This might be the gold standard when it comes to Panthers uniform concepts. It’s really quite beautiful and it would be great if Nike was thinking along the same lines for the Panthers. The number font with the slashes that invoke claw marks is a thing of beauty. Click on the images to enlarge and see all the small details.
Next up is another fine design. This one is by a CCSLC user who goes by the name Buc. Here, we have not only a design for a new Panthers uniform, but also a revised logo that features much more light blue than the current Panthers logo (which allows it to be visible on a black helmet). Really impressive work and it certainly fits with the Nike aesthetic.
Next up is another design featuring a black helmet. This one is by a designer called chestnutz.
Finally, here’s very sleek design by an artist who goes by the name vmd9. There’s a good chance the Panthers go heavy on the color black in their new uniforms. If they do go that route, they might look something like this.