Look At This Awful Goalie Mask

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Archive for the ‘manifesto’ Category

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

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This is a blog about goalie masks. Masks that I think are bad. But there will also be masks I like, as examples of what I think are good design.

I was inspired by two things, this article by Colby Cosh “Wretched goalie mask art“, and the website “Look At This Fucking Hipster“.

After reading Mr. Cosh’s post about wretched mask art, I looked up the Khabibulin mask, and I’ll be damned if he isn’t right. So I had a look around for a while at other current goalie masks, and most of them seem pretty bad. The biggest crime, as he points out, is that they seem to be so busy.

The painted goalie masks of the past were, by and large, bright abstract designs easily legible from the cheap seats. Most of the great, enduring ones were thought up by the father of mask painting, design student/goalie Greg Harrison. The masks from that time are the ones we still revere as canonical: Ken Dryden’s concentric red-and-blue “targets,” Mike Palmateer’s classic Leafs mask, the bicentennial special Ron Low wore with the Caps, Murray Bannerman’s elegant “kabuki” number. When goalies switched to the combined mask-with-caged-visor style of today, things began to get slightly more representational and crude, but some of the best literalist designs of the ’80s and early ’90s were still simple and tasteful, executed in a minimalist spirit: Mike Richter’s Lady Liberty,Andy Moog’s Bruins bear.


I have to confess, in recent years I’ve only been a casual Hockey fan, mostly tuning in only for the playoffs. But I grew up loving Hockey and my favorite players were always goalies. Although I stopped collecting in ’97, I have a pretty big collection of goalie cards, some of which may end up here.

I was also a Graphic Designer for fifteen years, so I have an art background on which to base my judgements. I was always a “less is more” type of designer, smaller fonts and good white space were important to me, so anything busy really irritates me. It always reminds me of clients who said “bigger font” and “cram more stuff in that tiny space”. OK, these aren’t direct quotes, but that’s how they come off. Yes, I sound fussy, I acknowledge that.

I hope I’m not making a mistake starting this blog. I’m a notoriously lazy blogger. I’ve had three blogs already and even though they started out strong, eventually they petered out as I lost interest. I may be lying to myself, but I’m hoping focusing on one thing will make it easier on me. Also, yes I was a Graphic Designer, but now I’m a Merchant Mariner. I was in the Coast Guard prior to becoming a designer, but felt the lure of the sea again and it’s a decision I’ll never regret. But as you can understand being at sea can make it difficult to post. So if I manage to keep it up for a while, but this site suddenly goes dormant, it’s because I’m at sea. I’ll give you a heads up when I’ll be gone.

OK, enough of the blah, blah, blah. Let’s try to make a go of this, shall we?
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Written by kdjohns

September 24, 2009 at 9:36 am