Nike Basketball
Prototype Black Basketball

Branding
Type Design

2022


Custom typeface for Nike Basketball’s 2022 All Star Weekend Campaign. Prototype Basketball Black was used across the All Star Weekend out-of-home campaign, as well as Nike Air Zoom GT Jump product stills. 

CREATIVE DIRECTION by Look Studios.
ART DIRECTION by Emma Berliner.
TYPE DESIGN by Christina Huang.
KERNING AND SPACING by Jaimey Shapey.
NIKE Noah Wilson, Olivia Gaylord and Jake Kelley.


Prototype Basketball Black is a throwback to Ray Gun Magazine-style grunge type of the 1980s and 90s. The highly-textured typeface was custom designed for Nike Basketball’s 2022 All Star Weekend campaign, which included out-of-home advertising and Nike Air Zoom GT Jump product stills.

It is intended to be used as a heavy, black weight of Palatino Light (Nike’s brand typeface) and reflects the thinking behind Nike Global’s typographic approach, which mixes textured “hand-drawn” type with their primary typeface. 

The “weight” of the typeface comes from a buildup of basketball texture. Individual characters were drawn with irregular patterns, with special attention paid to the way that textures would co-mingle between letterforms. As a result, Prototype Black Basketball is a typeface that does not look like a typeface. Instead, it has the appearance of a handmade, imperfect imprint that is reminiscent of the artifact found in printing processes and digitally- degraded imagery.

Prototype Black Basketball is a highly functional typeface, in spite of its irregular appearance. As a black weight within a larger type family, it features a basic character set and shares the same metrics as Palatino Light. The two weights can be set together to create seamless lockups with minimal typographic interventions.

The typeface is a conceptual extension of the visual direction in Nike’s 2022 All Star Weekend campaign. Prototype Black Basketball complements the hand-drawn annotations, collaged cutouts and abstract halftone textures of the highly-tactile campaign visuals.

UNUSED TYPE
STUDIES

Focused on imperfections in print
and digital artifact as a means
of visually expressing “progress.”