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The Origin of a Corporate Identity

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Blueprint for Greatness 2 (NetsDaily)
Blueprint for Greatness 2 (NetsDaily)

The Nets official press release on their new identity says it was "created" by Jay-Z, the team's most famous minority owner. Previously, the Nets have talked about how Jay-Z has "inspired" some designs, some elements of their new arena, specifically "The Vault."

Certainly, Jay-Z has played a role in the design, as he has with some parts of the arena. Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP architects has told small audiences how much "fun" it's been to collaborate with Jay-Z.

But who designed the identity? It appears that role fell to a New Jersey artist who has worked extensively with the man the Nets call their "cultural icon."

The specifics of the design apparently fell to Timothy Morris, who has done extensive work for Jay-Z in the past. His portfolio at timothypmorris.com lists a number of HOVA designs, for his "Heart of the City" tour and a number of Rocawear promotions, including a RocaWear pavilion at a trade show, even one for Armand de Brignac champagne, Jay-Z preferred vintage.

As for the Nets, Morris initially noted on his resume’ that "I designed the new official Brooklyn Nets" identity. Then, Monday, he changed the text to "I recently developed the designs for the new Brooklyn Nets' identity." He also displays some preliminary designs including the one the red, while and blue BKLYN logo the Nets trademarked and then abandoned. More significantly, he includes the "Blueprint for Greatness" sign opposite Madison Square Garden in his portfolio.

No matter who actually put pen to paper, the Nets note that the identity is based on New York city subway signage from the 1940's and 1950's. Specifically, the Nets note that the "identity incorporates a timeless black-and-white color palette of the old New York subway signage system, including its clean 'RollSign' typeface. The treatment celebrates the history and heritage of the city by drawing upon the familiar signage from when Brooklyn last had its own major professional team in 1957."

Here's what Jay-Z says about the final product in the Nets' press release. He wasn't in attendance today.

"The Brooklyn Nets logos are another step we’ve made to usher the organization into a new era," said Jay-Z. "The boldness of the designs demonstrates the confidence we have in our new direction. Along with our move to Brooklyn and a state-of-the-art arena, the new colors and logos are examples of our commitment to update and refine all aspects of the team."

All this is not to underestimate Jay-Z's role. Irina Pavlova told Stefan Bondy there was hot debate whether to use "B" as new logo for Nets logo or "BK." Jay Z really pushed for the "B". One reason, some speculate, is that it's also a tribute to the most beautiful woman in the world, his wife.