As Utah Jazz majority owner Ryan Smith spoke to partner Dwyane Wade on stage of the Silicon Slopes convention in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Smith told a story that may well define the next phase of the Jazz’s brand:
“I’ll never forget when you called me and you were like, ‘Hey, my mom wants to know what the Jazz colors are, and we can’t figure it out,’” Smith said. “I think in this state we think we know, but outside?”
So the Jazz are going to build the future of the brand around a color that really hasn’t been part of the equation (at least, not since the Jazz’s turn of the century alternate uniforms): black.
The team plans to build its identity around black and white, with the addition of an accent yellow. For an idea of the look, take a peek at the team’s schedule released this year:
“We’re not just going to have two colors, it’s not just going to be black and white, but we’re going to have a good base,” Smith said.
But when a team wants to remake its brand, the NBA and Nike require significant lead time in order to make the changes: multiple years. Smith has officially owned the team only since January. So the Jazz’s uniforms will remain the same this season as last season: white, navy, yellow jerseys, and the “Dark Mode” City jersey released last winter.
Two courts will be used at Vivint Arena this season, same as last year as well:
Smith said that they’ll continue to work with Nike on unique City jerseys, but wants them to be more tied to the core brand than previous City jerseys were.
“The evolution of the brand of the Jazz has been something that’s been pretty consistent,” Smith said. “What we’re trying to do is hone it all in.
The team also plans on changing its logo, while keeping the trademark Jazz note in some form. One hint might be in the team’s practice facility, where the Jazz note has a home at center court, encircled in black.
One aspect of the team’s early look that has drawn criticism is the font used in Jazz graphics, in Vivint Arena and on social media. It’s a retro look — evocative of a 1980′s printer, maybe.
“We have a super passionate fan base, which I love, I love. I mean, people are talking about the font we’re using in preseason, for heaven’s sake. Like, that’s incredible,” Smith said. “I wish more people were talking about picking up Rudy Gay.”
No word from Smith on if the font will stay, but he said that it was part of a spirit of experimentation that he wanted to build with the Jazz:
“I want to challenge our team at the Jazz: push, push, push, push. And if you mess up, great. I want it to be safe to mess up. If the font works or doesn’t work, no problem,” Smith said. “That’s the same thing we’ve done at Qualtrics.
“We also have a bunch of different segments of people who like different things. And the only thing I think that they’ll see from us is that we’re going to push.”