Sawdust Gets Inspired by LeBron James for Nike
The comparison of LeBron James to Michael Jordan is a natural one. The world of basketball rarely sees talents like them, but LeBron has also engaged his business deals in the same way. Earlier this month it was announced that LeBron signed a lifetime contract with Nike, a move that is totally unprecedented. Even Jordan doesn’t have a lifetime contract (although no one is worried that he’s going to walk away from the company). LeBron and Nike are now paired for life. With that comes branding and products, both physical and digital, and they tasked Sawdust with bringing the LeBron brand into a typeface. If you know Sawdust, you know they’ve done this a few times for Nike.
Sawdust’s relationship with Nike started when they created the typeface for Kevin Durant. It grew into them applying the same process for Kobe Bryant and now for LeBron James. They take the logos that Nike has created to go along with these players’ brands and extrapolate them into full typefaces. But the project for LeBron proved to be a little different.
The Durant logo is two letters, so Sawdust designers Rob Rob Gonzalez and Jonathan Quainton filled the rest in. Bryant’s logo is a graphic shape that Sawdust was able to use as inspiration. With LeBron, though, there was a tricky combination. The LeBron logo features both letters and graphics, and the letters weren’t ready to be read; they’re not freestanding figures that can be dropped right into a typeface. “The ‘L’ and ‘J’ letterforms used within the logo are effective when used for that purpose, but were too simplistic for us to entertain as part of the actual overall design,” Rob explained to Design Boom. “However, they did provide us with a good base, namely having a low x-height, and being super wide and extra bold.” They used these logo centric letters as the launch pad to inspire a design that incorporates the original logo-mark with modern and classic elements.
As Rob explains, this typeface will be used all over Nike products that are crated to celebrate LeBron. “These can be anything from T-shirts, trainers, sweatshirts, caps, shorts, training bottoms, backpacks, basketballs, to socks,” he says. “This typeface was deployed for a season across those kind of products, however they would have been set or positioned by the design team at Nike, not by us. So for that reason we wanted to display the typeface in a light that allows people to see the details of the type design, rather than fixating on the Nike products themselves.” Take a look at what Sawdust created here before you buy it on your next Nike teeshirt.