Cover Photo Credit: Offside Seattle
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From the depths of the sea, the Kraken have joined the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, and Seawolves as the next Seattle professional team nickname related to the ocean. Since the National Hockey League granted Seattle an expansion franchise in 2018, fans and media have been speculating, suggesting, and voting on what the new name should be. Now, with the new nickname, the Kraken have released their initial apparel to give Seattle hockey fans ready for their first season.
What The New Apparel Is All About
After unveiling their name, the Kraken released apparel that showed connection to the ocean in new ways unlike other teams. According to the team's website, the apparel designs revolve around the new logo. The team writes:
The uncharted has long inspired generations of folklore. In Seattle, we welcome voyagers. Our port city brings legends from all over the world...These legends are home to this rugged coastal wonderland with a name etched on Lord Stanley. Now, we breathe new life into a legend...a name that incarnates the might of the sea...The Kraken represents the fiercest beast in all the world. Too large and indomitable to be contained by man...The largest octopus on planet Earth lives right here in Puget Sound. The Giant Pacific Octopus lurks in the deep around Seattle...According to Tacoma legend, they inhabit the ruins of [Galloping Gertie] collapsed bridge...with the infamous, "King Octopus." National Geographic notes the biggest on record at 30 ft wide and over 600 lbs. If you encountered that in the depths of our Sound, you'd tell tales of one thing...You just saw the Kraken.
Photo Credit: Seattle Kraken.
Along with the Kraken narrative, the logo itself also has special symbolism. Below are logo design choices the team used to build their brand
- The S: This letter not only represents the city's name, but also represents the first Seattle hockey team, the Metropolitans, who were the first American team to win the Stanley Cup.
- The Tentacle: This piece that runs down the middle of the logo, is probably the most recognizable part of a Kraken. We may not know how long they are, but they drag souls down to the depths of the sea.
- Red Eye: The team has the perfect description on this design choice, "If you've seen it, it's already too late. The eye of the Kraken has been affixed on its prey for some time." Menacing and vibrant, this eye reminds us that the Kraken is always watching and ready to strike.
With all of this effort behind the logo and narrative, the team is starting the franchise off on the right foot. However, did they make the right decisions for their first lines of apparel?
My Apparel Angle
What do I think about the first look for the Kraken? Read below for my angle on what the team did well and what could be better.
Here are a few thoughts on what the team did very well with their new merchandise.
- Great Colors: All major Seattle sports teams have a similar color scheme that includes shades of blue and green.
While the Kraken have the deep sea blue like most of these logos, I like how they used different blue shades and strayed away from making it too green. Their use of lighter blues (ice, bondless, and shadow shades) and the red eye gives the team its own distinct feel. The lighter blues remind me of glaciers connecting to hockey's ice. The red eye is vicious and makes the logo more intimidating. Using green colors would have worked, but I appreciate them taking a different direction to stand out.
- Secondary Logo: Every primary logo should have a great secondary logo. The Kraken's is exceptional. I love how they integrated the Space Needle imagery with an anchor; this design perfectly shows the connection between the city and it's ocean history. Not only does it look great on the shoulders of the jerseys, but I think the secondary logo looks better on the hats than the primary logo.
Like the hat? Get it here.
While the primary logo is fantastic, the Kraken's secondary logo looks just as good on their apparel.
- Fan Approval: When teams introduce a new franchise, fans are usually not included in the brand's decision-making process. For the Kraken, the fans have backed the name and merchandise before and after the name was unveiled. The Seattle Times' sports section hosted a poll with 12 potential nicknames after the city was awarded the franchise. Kraken received over 66,000 votes. Even after the name was announced, the Times did another poll where 60.9% of those who voted loved the name. This continued support shows with team merchandise breaking sales records. In 24 hours since the Kraken name was unveiled, Fanatics reported that the team sold 50% more merchandise than the last expansion hockey team, the Vegas Golden Knights, did in the same period after their announcement.
Like this T-Shirt? Get the best-seller here.
What makes this more incredible is that the Golden Knights were the first major professional sports team in Las Vegas when their apparel went live. Seattle has teams in almost every major league with long, successful histories, yet the Kraken still smashed the Knights' sales upon release. With such great fan involvement and backing from the start, the apparel and designs being well received.
While the apparel looks great and has huge fan engagement, I was disappointed by one aspect below.
- Tentacle Imagery: While the colors, logos, and even sayings ("Release the Kraken!") all look really good, I missed seeing more tentacle imagery with the new merchandise. When I first think of the Kraken creature, the tentacles come to my mind. Not the eye, not the teeth, the tentacles. While I like how it looks in the logo, I think they should have included it more in their initial merchandise. This is very nit picky, as I am sure they will include it more once the season starts, but I want to see what they do with it.
Other than this, I have no other negative thoughts about their apparel. However, does this mean the team succeeded in their first merchandise offering?
Am I Backin' the Kraken?
Everything from the logo and colors all look wonderful for this new franchise. I love the thought, connections, and feel that the name and look bring to Seattle. If you do not think they are successful with their design, look to the fans who smashed sales records as further proof. I back the Kraken's new merchandise to usher in a new era for Seattle hockey.
For any opposing team coming to play, I hope that they feel like Jack Sparrow in the picture when they face the players and the fans sporting the new look.
Photo Credit: Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead Man's Chest