More Hot Font News: Ohio State Appears to Have Tweaked Football Jersey Numbers

By Jason Priestas on March 6, 2013 at 12:18p

This isn't quite uniform news on the order of Nike's Pro Combat or Rivalry systems, but based on photographs that accompanied Braxton Miller's recent cover story in Sports Illustrated, it appears as if the Buckeyes will be going with a new font for football jersey numbers.

The change isn't dramatic and would probably slip the attention of most, but not our Walt Keys, who pointed out the addition of a triangular serif on the stem of the 5 in a recent photo taken by SI for the article. The cover photo is a stock action shot from last season, and as such, doesn't feature the triangular serif, but the photos within the article show off a new font used for numerals.

But, couldn't that just be a fold in the garment? We considered that, but concluded it wasn't. Here's a larger version of the image on the left.

The uniforms Ohio State wore for the Michigan game in November sport a similar stylized number, but those were one-offs, of course [Ed – As NKohl13 points out below, this appears to be the same font used in the 2011 Rivalry unis]. This appears to be a shift for the base home (and we presume, away) jerseys the Buckeyes will wear in 2013.


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Rapping Bum's picture


Help is on the way.

741's picture

Nothing gets by 11W!
Also, I learned a new word today: serif. Saving that one into the Words with Friends memory banks.

AndyVance's picture

As someone who sweated through a semester of magazine layout and design as part of his communications major, a serif is the little extra "feet" or "tails" you see on letters in some fonts. The font used on these comments, btw, is a sans serif font, because the letters do not have these extra embellishments.
If you open Microsoft Word and type a sentence in Times New Roman, and then type the same sentence in Arial, you'll see the difference between a serif and sans serif font.

azbuck's picture

Sweet baby jesus that is some attention to detail

Alhan's picture

The 5 now looks like Bucky the cat from Get Fuzzy.

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

AndyVance's picture

I'm curious as to Walt's take, but I think the stylized font used for The Game are a bit sharper than the new one in the example above... Kinda makes the 5 look like a half-ass 6 to me.
Then again, I don't want to over-analyze font choices in athletic apparel...

penult's picture

Good attention to detail!
I don't think I like the change.  I like the old block style, and would like to see that font style on the alternate jerseys worn last year. Maybe I'm just a square peg.

andretolstoy's picture

How about they 'tweak' the piping on the shoulders and, the End Zones on the field while we're at it?

omahabeef1337's picture

Am I crazy or does it just look like that's just a fold in his jersey and/or botched airbrushing by SI?

AndyVance's picture

That was my gut reaction, too, but then I realized that Walt was the eagle eye who pointed it out, and if Walt says it's a different font, it's a by-God different font.

Buckeye1036's picture

Seems kind of odd to change the font to something with very little difference.

andretolstoy's picture

I actually like the black lettering better - Perhaps we rid ourselves of the letters all together and just leave the Block-O??

Michael Citro's picture

Looks like a fully-dilated pupil to me.

Catch 5's picture

Come on, it's just a fold in the shirt.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

Jason Priestas's picture

We thought that may be the case at first, too, but it doesn't appear to be a fold. I updated the story with a remark on that and a link to a hi-res version of the photo on the left.

Nkohl13's picture

Dang. Thats to bad. 
Edit: After zooming in it seems like there is a little bit of an off color outline around the number. I'm thinking that in the original picture the number may have looked a little distorted and they went in and tried to edit the image to make the number look better.

tampa buckeye's picture

You all are wrong SI just had a Cheap Chinese knockoff Ohio State #5 there for the shoot.

kevinfrenchfry's picture

I'm not sure if you are joking or not, but I think that could be a very likely scenario.  No way am I buying that OSU wouldn't officially announce something like this.  When they changed the jerseys back in 06 they at least had Tressel show it at one of his pressers.  I'm not buying this jersey yet.  This is a new OSU program now--new offense, possible stadium renovations, new athletic logo (which is a BIG fail) and your telling me that the update to the jerseys is a serif on the numbers...don't think so

Maestro's picture

Wow, we really care.............a lot about our favorite team.  Some might call it a sickness, addiction, obsession, vice, or other words that carry a negative connotation.  I prefer "a passion".

vacuuming sucks

Nkohl13's picture

It is actually more like the 2011 pro combats than the 2012.

Jason Priestas's picture

Nailed it. Thanks for this.

Baroclinicity's picture

Which I liked better than 2012.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

gwalther's picture

The addition of the serif to the jersey number is actually the result of a $2 million effort to re-brand OSU uniforms.
Just kidding. Hopefully...

Class of 2008

FitzBuck's picture

Two million only gets the paint bucket tool used in photoshop.  This was at least 4 because they had to also use a line tool.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

FitzBuck's picture

I am having my golf cart painted like this uni as we speak.  Love them.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

MediBuck's picture

/thread. We have a winner.

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

hodge's picture

Maybe it's just the lighting (probably is), but the color of the jersey also appears a bit deeper--actually, closer to the real "scarlet" shade that we sported up till '06.

GoBucksToledo's picture

Good catch Hodge, I thought so too.  Personally prefer the existing "block" numbers to the "serif" version.

Baroclinicity's picture

Any gray on the sleeves?  Nope.  Nope.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Hovenaut's picture

That's a subtle change I'd like to see come back. Like my man Jerry used to say, "a touch of grey"....

notoriouswojo's picture

Is 11W trying to give Graphic Designers two font orgasms in a week? 

steensn's picture

That is def not a fold and, kudos to finding that details and kudos to NKOHL13 for finding a like font in use.

amk1616's picture

it is a totally different 5.  No chance that this is an airbrush job.  Not to "font-gasm" all over my post, but if you look really hard, there are some slight differences in addition to the serif.

Walt Keys's picture

yeah, looks like maybe it's a touch heavier throughout and the squared off corners are a bit shorter. though hard to really tell with the folds/angles. truly exciting stuff. haha.

Savage45's picture

Too bad the new numbers aren't gray

Nkohl13's picture

Wow! Mentioned in a front page article! I'm definitely printing this out and hanging it on the fridge!

Heartofohio's picture

This is hilarious.

doodah_man's picture

Guess comic sans was out huh?

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

M Man's picture

So that was something that didn't need fixing.
You guys had a nice trademark-thing going with your jerseys.  The big numerals front and back, and the big ones on the shoulder pads.  I always thought that you should get back to those.  And you could ditch the stripes on the sleeves since jerseys don't really have sleeves anymore.  (You can always put stripes on the under-shirts if players wear them.)
Does this really need fixing?

The wider helmet stripes from your game with us last year looked nice too.  Which is actually a bit more like Archie's 1973 helmet too, isn't it?  (I dunno; cf. Griffin and Miller photos...)

andretolstoy's picture

I like the mask-less look, we should go back to this!
Kudo's for the numbers - (these, not the pointy-thingy-ones) but we need the pipes and they should make make us look more Ohio Statey and less Nebraskay or Georgia-y.

JYBUCKEYE's picture

Are you a buckeye fan in wolverines clothing?  Speaking of something that doesn't need fixed. Those unis you guys rolled out for the bowl game were horrible.  Addidas needs to get their sh*t together.  Unfortunately for you ESPN keeps rolling that clip of V. Smith to remind you. 

FitzBuck's picture

Garth says he likes it better sans serif.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

OSUStu's picture

Oh good, the serif font is much easier on the eyes when reading player numbers for long periods of time.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

FitzBuck's picture

Ok i want to up vote this comment in the worst possible way but still have no idea how.  Please someone take pity on my dumb ass and tell me how to do this.  I may even up vote any insults that come attached with directions.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

cplunk's picture

You have to have 100 helmet stickers first. You're around 60. Keep posting and you'll get there, then you'll have the up vote and down vote options.

penult's picture

Once you get to 100 helmet stickers you can.  You're at 64 right now, you can check by looking at your account.

FitzBuck's picture

Thanks guys.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

FitzBuck's picture

I came back just to up vote you.  Good stuff.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

BIGHEC39's picture

We need to have last years Pro Combat Unis that we wore against scUM for this whole year.....  Who agrees?


Poison nuts's picture

I loved those unis...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Denny's picture



BuckeyeMark's picture

Once elected President of the Universe, after I have the state of M*chigan sawed off and sold to Canada for $3.28 (I do love to cheat the Canadians!) the next law I will definitely pass is that Nike is to be prohibited from saying "Ohio State" much less designing anything for us and then we'll go back to Archie's uni AND NEVER EVER CHANGE IT AGAIN.
Then we'll get busy on this problem with Oreo cookies having pastel colored cream centers.  Is nothing sacred?

Jeff Beck's picture

Nothing gets me more amped than hot font news.

buckeyedude's picture

We can't go changing our serifs all willy-nilly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Jhesse17's picture

Jesus Christ thats ugly

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I'm pretty sure Virginia Tech and the Green Bay Packers have worn those types of 5's as well. I dont mind them. I do agree with the guy about making the black stripes on the helmet thicker like they used to be. It's more bold and traditional looking, and matches the pants better.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

Walt Keys's picture

Virginia Tech actually was the first thing that popped into my head as well. But in researhing it, I couldn't find a VT football jereset that utilized this style 5, I thought for sure their recent throwback unis did, but no dice. However I did find this:

It looks like Green Bay uses a similar 5 as well, though the triangle is a bit shallower and asymmetrical:

OSUStu's picture

So why wouldn't the "2"  on Clay Matthew's jersey have the serif on the reverse side?  Looks kind of silly on closer inspection.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

BuckeyeChief's picture

I want to see what Paul Lukas has to say.

"2014 National with it!!!"

Walt Keys's picture

Not a lot. But to be fair, there's 1935 Umbro Catalogs to be dissected:

BuckeyeChief's picture


"2014 National with it!!!"

BuckeyeChief's picture

But he did link to 11w.

"2014 National with it!!!"

harleymanjax's picture


"Because I couldn't go for 3"