For nearly two years, Adidas has worked closely with Seattle's NHL franchise to finalize the name, logo and jersey design. On Thursday morning, Nic Corbett. Adidas director of hockey relations, and Matty Merrill, design director for hockey, joined the Seattle Kraken's digital livecast to discuss the process and partnering.
In 2015, the shoe and apparel company inked a seven-year deal with the National Hockey League to design and distribute all official league uniforms. Adidas approached the Seattle group about collaborating on the branding process.
"We had the opportunity to talk with Tod [Leiweke] and [owner] Jerry Bruckheimer and other leaders within the team and ask for the opportunity," said Adidas's director of hockey Nic Corbett. "What we shared with the ownership group was, we were committed to the sport, we're committed to bringing and infusing a global brand's perspective and energy into not just the design itself, but the conversation around the name."
Video: adidas designers get deep into the Kraken sweater
Adidas features a roster of top athletes across the globe. Feedback from sports icons in hockey and other sports have proved invaluable when developing a brand that athletes can believe in.
"We talked to [our athletes], we got their opinions," said Matty Merrill, Adidas design director for hockey and native to the Pacific Northwest. "This uniform needs to represent the Seattle people, the Seattle fans. Players are going to wear [the logo] on their chests - literally over their heart - onto the ice. It needs to be something they can be proud of and want to go out to defend."
Three fundamental values anchored the Seattle Kraken brand design: authenticity, nobility, and mystery. Authenticity relates to not just Seattle culture, but extends to the history of hockey in the city. In 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans beat the defending champion Montreal Canadiens to become the first U.S-based team to with the Stanley Cup. More than 100 years later, the Seattle Kraken modernized the Metropolitans signature "S" for a team aiming to win Seattle's next Stanley Cup.
Seattle's nobility can be traced to the Duwamish tribe, including the legendary Kikisoblu, whose name was changed by white settlers to Princess Angeline. As the port modernized, leaders of industry such as Boeing, Starbucks and Amazon have called Seattle home.
"Seattle people have constantly innovated and created," said Merrill. "They have high esteem, they expect the best."
Seattle is a city of legend and mystery. Since 1851, the seaport has indulged in the aquatic mystique. The Kraken is a legend and brethren to the Pacific Giant Octopus which lives only in Puget Sound waters. That legend, which has prompted many tall tales of sailors, conjures up a variety of mental images. Merrill talked about "the theater of a seabound beast" that is spoken with heightened excitement but seldom seen. It's what makes the Seattle Kraken brand fun, yet sophisticated, he said.
The primary design reveals one tentacle and a single red eye of the sea creature. As part of the theme of mystery, it is unclear when or even if the full Seattle Kraken will ever be revealed. The people of Seattle will have to keep a watchful eye at all times if they hope to fully uncoil the Kraken. NHL opponents, on the other hand, best beware.