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Interview with Jay Earle, Creator of Alternative 25th Anniversary Logo

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It's been a few weeks since he won, but Jay Earle still had lots to say about his winning design.

Proof that the the Centurion and the O can work together
Proof that the the Centurion and the O can work together
Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

You may remember that way back in July, we had a contest to replace the atrocity that was the Ottawa Senators' 25th anniversary logo. The winner was Jay Earle (@Mr_Jay_Earle) with this much-improved proposal:

We're still working on trying to get the attention of the Senators for this logo to replace the original. In the meantime though, we had an interview with Jay about his design.

S7S: Was designing your own logo an immediate response to the unveiled official logo, or did it take a few days?

JE: It sure was! I saw just how, umm, "confused" fans were with the official version, so I jumped on it the next day. After it was done, I posted it to the Red Scarf Union Facebook page, my own Twitter ,and from there it just took off. I expected some sort of response, but the attention it got was remarkable to see. Especially after entering it into the S7S design contest. I'm most definitely one flattered guy over all of this.

S7S: What did you try to incorporate in your design? Is there any element that you're particularly proud of?

JE: It's a delicate balancing act that the Sens organization has to walk to please the fanbase, so I tried to find a balance between the Roman soldier look that the Sens organization is heavily invested in, and the Heritage "O" that a vast amount of fans are gravitating towards. I also wanted to give it a very prestigious look since it's for such a momentous occasion, make it easily reproducible as a crest, and something fans would want to see on merchandise. I think I'm most proud of the fact that the design has both form and function nicely worked out. And won't leave people scratching their heads or complaining about how it's burning their eyeballs.

S7S: What does it mean to you knowing that so many people voted for your design?

JE: As an artist, it always feels good to know people appreciate your work. But separate from those sentiments, it makes me feel great that I was able to step up, and use my abilities to try and help out my team, my city, as well as demonstrate the power of good design. Sometimes people overlook the importance of hiring professionals to do these kinds of things. It really is the difference between connecting to your audience, or unintentionally pushing them away. And this was a clear cut case study of just that. So I highly encourage everyone to shower me in buckets of money for some super fancy designs.

S7S: As you know, hockey bloggers are flush with cash. Like you said, your design uses both the O and the Centurion symbols. Would you like to see the Sens move forward with jerseys focused around one of these, or do you think the team should continue to use them both?

JE: This is a tricky question. I personally LOVE the heritage "O". That look is just so damn timeless and classy. But I understand that the Sens are locked into the Centurion logo for the next little while. And there's nothing wrong with that. It is kind of badass, and you can have tons of fun with it. I even did a painting of the Roman soldier theme because of that (which I happen to sell kick-ass canvas prints of). Shameless self promotion is allowed in this interview, right?

S7S: Of course! We would do the same. You work in design and marketing among other things for wolfworks.ca. Have you done anything quite like designing a sports logo before? Is sports design something you think you'd enjoy doing more of?

JE: I've done a few sport logos in the past. But nothing major. I really do have a passion for sports design, and because of that I am 100% aware it can get annoying when people are trying to watch the game, and I'm blabbing on about the jerseys. But for me it's a fun and exhilarating challenge incorporating movement, tradition, bold illustrative design and striking colours into something for people to rally around. So I'd definitely love to work with more sports organizations if possible. Perhaps one that just so happens to have a 25th anniversary coming up for example.

S7S: Any last comments?

I just want to say I'm so incredibly grateful for the support I've received. Silver Seven Sens, Red Scarf Union, my friends and family. You've all been amazing and incredibly inspirational. It's things like this that genuinely fuel my passion to create, and will keep me creating for years to come.

Here is the official press release for the contest:

Ottawa, ON - Thousands of Ottawa Senators fans rallied to vote in a replacement for what has been widely regarded as one of the worst logos in NHL history.

SB Nation, one of the largest media brands in the world representing the interests of sports fans, launched an online contest through its Silver Seven Sens site as a response to the negative media attention and harsh criticism of Sens fans and rivals toward the official Ottawa Senators 25th Anniversary logo released on July 6.

The contest challenged Sens fans to design and vote for a new logo to replace the official logo that, according to local news authority Ottawa Citizen, offended fans, designers, the Internet, and all people "with the ability to use their eyes and look at things."

With more than 2,000 votes and thousands more online likes, shares, and comments, the locally-initiated contest swelled into a mass online petition to urge the Sens to ditch their logo in favour of a more popular design.

"The Sens' proposed logo missed the mark both conceptually and in execution", said Ross Arnold, Editor of Silver Seven Sens. "However, rather than focusing on the negative, we decided to turn this into an opportunity for positive news. There are lots of creative and capable Sens fans with ideas for a better logo. The hope is that, by bringing fans together, the Sens see the value of listening to their collective voice."

The winning logo, designed by Ottawa's Jay Earle of Wolfworks Communications, received an overwhelming 44% of votes.

A loyal Sens fan, Earle created the new logo immediately after the Sens' official release. It received acclamation from coast to coast. Shortly after, he entered the Silver Seven Sens logo competition.

"I saw how much bad press the logo was getting in the media and how upset the fans were so I decided to step in and create something that both fans and the organization would be proud of", said Earle. "The response has been incredible, and many of the fans, including myself, really hope the Sens uses it as their official logo."

Representatives from Silver Seven Sens are approaching the Ottawa Senators' marketing team to instate the winning design as the new official 25th Anniversary logo.