Workmanlike. And full of brown and orange. You didn’t really expect anything different from the rollout of the Cleveland Browns' new uniform set, did you?
The Browns unveiled those new uniforms Tuesday night, showing off tops and pants each in white, brown and the new, brighter orange the club embraced recently with its “new logo” update. The helmet remains virtually the same, save for the brighter-orange color, texturing in the brown-and-white stripe and the addition of a brown facemask.
The Nike-designed uniform also increases the size and scale of the visual elements. The jersey numbers grew in stature and are newly accented by a weighty drop shadow aimed at adding dimension to the team’s existing font. Using a chainmaille pattern on the number also provides texture. Overall, the largest design feature is the addition of the word "Cleveland" squarely across the front of the jersey in industrial-style boldness. The word "Browns" runs down the side of the pant. The two wordmarks serve as the largest in the NFL.
Another design element that grew in stature with the new look is the larger uniform stripes, which make a cohesive connection between the helmet, jersey and pant. The horizontal sleeve stripe on the jersey now crosses over to the chest panel, and the stripe in the helmet includes carbon fiber texturing. The stripe plays vertically on the pants as well.
In the package that includes the modern Nike Elite 51 silhouette and technology, the orange represents the team’s third jersey, which, per NFL rules, is limited to two home games per year. But the NFL allows teams freedom when choosing pants, meaning orange could appear on more than just the helmet and occasional jersey top.
In the realm of smaller details, the use of contrast stitching—the first for a NFL team—is said to “honor the working-class origins and industrial roots of the city.” And within the back neckline of the jersey, the phrase "Dawg Pound" adds a tribute to the faithful Cleveland fans.
Cleveland has a long tradition of, well, traditional attire. In 1946 the team started with white helmets and white and brown jerseys with shadow-boxed numbers. By the early '50s, the Browns had introduced the solid orange helmets. For three seasons in the late '50s Cleveland added brown jersey numbers to all of their helmets and, in '60, added brown stripes alongside a center white stripe on the helmet.
In 1975 the Browns brought out orange pants and the facemasks changed to white. Orange jerseys made their way to the field in 2002 and brown pants made a debut in '08. Cleveland went solid brown—pants and jersey—for the first time in '13. The 2015 set, though, takes nearly every design cue from Cleveland football history, boldly colorizing the nearly 70 years of brown, orange and white.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.