40 years ago, at the culmination of a fierce rally by the fledgling Portland Trailblazers, Jim Barnett nailed a clutch basket and—in a moment of exuberance—Blazers announcer Bill Schonely hollered “Rip City!” The rallying cry immediately caught on. Over the years, “RipCity” has grown to become more than a simple phrase or even a reference to the city of Portland—it’s a state of mind. It’s come to symbolize the connection between Portland and its team.
The Blazers, in honor of their 40th Anniversary, chose RARE to help them celebrate the fans of Portland by creating a “RipCity” brand that could embody the essence of the phrase. We knew we needed to draw inspiration from the Blazers’ rich heritage, but were also given free reign to explore what RipCity can mean today, and moving ahead.
Trailblazer uniforms through the years.
Our exploration took us across the board, but stayed grounded in the Blazers’ brand. Versions incorporating the different Blazer font treatments were explored, including an evolution of the original, classic font. We also looked at different ways to incorporate the iconic “blaze” design element.
For two nights during the 2009-10 season, the Blazers would also be wearing a special “Cultural Uniform” that RARE was charged with designing. Again, our exploration took us everywhere from some straight-up retro stylings to some more unconventionally modern designs. We landed on what we called “The New RipCity”—a nod to the past with an eye to the future.
The new logo, uniform and merchandise are proving to be a big hit. And for the final time in the regular season, RipCity will be showcased on the court, as the Blazers will wear their RipCity unis against the Warriors on Wednesday, April 14th. One final tribute this season to the phrase that stands as a testament to the connection between the Blazers and their fans.