I suspect that most of you are getting a bit tired of the debate regarding the Jets’ new logo, but I thought that it might be worth trying to step back and try to take an objective look at all the issues without the name calling that has cropped up in a lot of the forums. Besides, I figure anyone who has really had enough of the issue can just skip this posting. I will start out by disclosing my own biases. First of all, I wasn’t too sure about the logo, but it has grown on me. Secondly, I would describe myself as a pacifist, but I think there are a lot of grey areas regarding the role of the military and I believe there are a few instances where armed struggle is justified, but not as many as occur. I am anti-war but not anti-military. I think that, for the most part, the individuals in our Canadian Armed Forces are deserving of our support and respect.
So now on to the topic at hand. The main criticisms that I have heard regarding the logo can be summarized in three broad categories:
1) The design is too "militaristic"
2) It is a bad design from a graphic/artistis standpoint.
3) It has nothing to do with Winnipeg/the Jets/Hockey/the old logo.
I will discuss these one at a time. To begin with the argument that it is too militaristic: Although I do not agree with this, it is perhaps the one argument that I most respect. I know that there are people who are even more strongly pacifist in their beliefs than I, and it is hard to divorce those strong feelings from the image of a military fighter jet. All I can say in response is that I hear you and hopefully others do as well and your point of view is respected if not endorsed. Continue to make your case and perhaps in the future there will be a new logo that you will feel better about. In the meantime, perhaps you can accept that there is room for a diversity of opinions and live with the status quo. After all, a picture of a jet is not the thing itself. Another point to consider is that a fighter jet is not only a weapon. I will not pretend that that is not its primary purpose. It is, however, also an amazing machine capable of extreme speed, acceleration and manoeuvrability and therefore not a bad symbol for a hockey team. Having been to a few air shows I am always impressed by the power and speed of these incredible machines. As an ideal for a skater flying down the left wing with a puck on his stick, looking to shoot it up into the corner of the net, there are few better choices. If you would argue that sports should not be aggressive or competitive, I would argue that competition and even aggression are central to their appeal. I am not a fan of fighting in hockey. Others are, but that is another debate. I do feel that clean, hard checking and honest intense competition very much have a place in the game. I believe, as others have suggested, that such competition is a catharsis and a substitute for more harmful aggressive outlets.
The artistic merits of the logo are outside any expertise that I possess, so I can only give an amateur opinion. At first I was unsure what I thought of the design, but as time has passed I have come to like it more and more. The fact that there is such intense disagreement regarding its merits is, to me, proof that there is no definitive answer to this question. Whether or not the logo should have a maple leaf, what colors should be used, whether or not it should be round, symmetric, etc, etc; there are all subjective questions that no one can really answer. No one, except perhaps the people who paid to bring the team to Winnipeg. Opinions will probably always differ and will also evolve as we get used to seeing it. Subjective impressions are influenced by context and other associations. After we see the logo on the jerseys and during games our impressions will likely change. If the Jets are a success on the ice, that might also colour our views on the logo.
One of the main problems that I think that I initially had was that it was not the old logo. I had preconceived notions about what the Jets logo should look like and that wasn’t it. With time though, I am sure that when I look at the new logo it will come to mean the Winnipeg Jets. It may not incorporate hockey imagery, but the same can be said about the logos of many NHL teams. It does have ties to the aviation industry and air force base in Winnipeg and to the team nickname that so many fans insisted be brought back. Also, as I alluded to above, one can certainly draw analogies between the speed and grace of a fighter jet and a skilled hockey player.
There it is: my contribution to the debate. I don’t know if I have added any clarity or not. What are your thoughts? Please vote in the poll below. Also please add your comments, but I challenge anyone who adds a comment to please try to respect the other side’s point of view and keep this discussion about the merits of the logo and not the personal qualities of the people who disagree with you.