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SPORTS GRAPHICS #001: ESPN Monday Night Football

Sports Graphics #001: ESPN Monday Night Football graphics

In response to the most recent design of ESPN's Monday Night Football graphic, it has gone through quite a change. Looking back at the first shield design, it had some "personality," if you will. The second design looked rather formal but still had some features sophisticated enough to look at (heck, I'd still watch even if the show only featured the graphics). The current logo, from 2019 to today, looks too simple. Having been paying attention, appreciating overall, sports graphics as early as 2011, my initial thought was that sports graphics get more and more complex as the years goes by. I understand the dark theme, but they could've added more. Nevertheless, I miss the old shield design where the colors and animation were so exclusive from other sports/programs on TV that you'd feel guilty for not tuning in and watching, even if you never were a sports fan.

Alright, let's check these graphics out, starting with the first shield design.

[WARNING: Contains flashing lights and fast-motion animation.]

(The soundtrack is titled "Crave You [Adventure Club Dubstep Remix]" by Flight Facilities. Check out the song here.)

I understand this is just a compilation showing off the package made for ESPN Monday Night Football, but you can tell this shows a lot of flashing colors which may be a problem for some. Besides that, the warm, red color scheme is fitting for the game given that Monday Night Countdown often airs roughly mid-afternoon (I reside here at the Pacific Time Zone), then the game begins early evening. Because of all the lights shown in the animation, it doesn't show too much, so your eyes relax when you watch this along with the presentation—"presentation" meaning shots and videos featuring actual people during the broadcast. It just seems like a lot of flashing colors since this was compiled in one video.

Big Studios, Inc.

Not shown in the reel above, here are the MNF rollouts:

I don't know about you but the more I watch these graphics, the better it gets/looks. The 3D vectorization of the team logos was nicely done; Huge props to those who created that. Instead of separating the parts into its own, flat layers, the logo pops out realistically (thanks to Z Brush?). Once again, the color scheme is fitting, thus lightening the mood and making it a beauty to watch.

David Mayzis

Since these graphics were used back in 2013, it may feel like a run from of the nostalgia department. As some NFL fans noted, this felt like the time American football was exciting and competitive. While the matchups were something to behold, I feel the graphical additions, like this made it worthwhile.

Lightening the mood? Let's now look at the revamped graphics that took 2014 off:

That shiny metal, that plexiglass-like design and that jersey/fabric-like surface on the vectorized team logos are beautiful. This design also fits for an American football broadcast, let alone other high-rated sports showing. Granted, it's much cleaner and the presentation isn't so harsh on your eyes making it pleasant to look at while the animation remains active and slick.

The matchup designs and the bumpers are incredibly nice—that "Venetian blind"-like animation is remarkable. If I may compare and contrast, the graphical presentation almost reminds me of NFL on CBS, whose graphics are just as 'calming' but easy on the eyes (we'll take a look at CBS' graphics at a later article). I believe these graphical styles were also used on NFL Live on ESPN, and were just as beautiful to look at.

Given that the 2013 MNF graphics caught my attention, and all the flashy animation, it feels more at home for me, even though the 2014 graphics seemed to be the nicer-looking one. Sounds like a huge tie to me, as I can't rightfully choose which one I prefer more.

Big Block

Last but not least, MNF gets another graphical upgrade for 2019. Here we go:

My favorite part is the cotton-like fabric and the liquified NFL logo forming on it. The dark, black theme is nice as it, too, is easy on the eyes to look at. Some may think it's too dark, but as mentioned previously, MNF runs up until nighttime so the color scheme seems fitting.

While the shield looks less flashy, I find it too simple. Perhaps the reason, as I'm openly guessing here, is to appeal to more mobile viewers. As laptop computers, smartphones and tablets continue to rise in usage, so are streaming services and cord cutting of cable, losing the old appeal of sitting on a couch/recliner and watching your favorite program(s) on a TV screen. While subscribing to streaming services being cheaper than cable is debatable, given the package prices adding up, binge-watching on mobile devices is becoming the accepted form of viewing. Thus, due to the simplicity of the shield design, it's understable why animators went for this kind of look. Now, yes, I'm not the person who makes, or made, the calls into what design branding we're looking for in terms of American football, but if I were to be granted with that position, I'd say carry onward making a design similar to the 'shiny metal with LED lights' look of the 2014 graphics (that's just me).

MANvsMACHINE, C Y P H E R, Evolve Studios

The graphical texts of Monday Night Football sure have evolved overtime, but here, we look at the implementation of the program being stamped on a shield. The shield has certainly become the perfect use of compressing the labels, name of the program and the network logos in one packaged design easy enough to look at, read and apply the design to clothing and other wearable accessories.

Do you miss the old MNF shield designs? Do you prefer the new one? Let's talk in the comments below!

(I, Kris Caballero, SPORTSSOTROS, SHOWSOTROS Productions and on behalf of the KC Universal Network staff, do not hold any rights to the video clips shown in this article or any potential upbringings whatsoever. The clips are posted for the sake of critique and fair use, under the Fair Use agreement. The videos shown are copywritten and held to the original producers, designers, animators and owners of the clip, which includes the soundtrack owned by the original artist themselves. The purpose of these clips/images is to show, present, review and appreciate sports graphics along with the creators of those behind the hard work in making these. Not once are we looking to sell nor re-distribute freely, respecting the property ownership of the said creator(s). If, for whatever reason, you feel this isn't the proper showing of your work, would like a video clip or screenshot taken down, or would like to work toward a better solution in presenting your graphical reels, please contact me using the subject line "Media" for private discussion. All reasonable matters will be taken into account.