Sunday, December 27, 2009

Squash photo of the year?

It's almost the end of the "naughts" so here's my vote for photo of the year:

Ramy Ashour, in white, and Nick Matthew, in black, look like they're battling underwater in the final of the Saudi International Squash Tournament! It's no surprise that it's a photo taken by Steve Cubbins of SquashSite. Check out his gallery from just this one event to see what I'm talking about.

Maybe the real reason I love this photo is that it reminds me that I'll soon be able to play underwater myself thanks to Wii's new game "Racquet Sports"!

(You may have read about this on SquashZag but check out the official game site too.)

Send me a link to your choice for "Photo of the Year" and I'll post them.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eat more squash.

Check out this reasonably new ad for PETA Europe featuring none other than British squash player James Willstrop.

According to James, "meat has no place in a professional athlete's body". The ad goes on to say, "Since I stopped eating meat, I'm faster, I have more energy, and I know that my decision has saved countless animals' lives."

All well and good but I'm sure some of my female readers would've have been happier if James had opted to star in a "Fur? I'd rather go naked" poster.

If you can't eat meat then try Fudge. (Good design is never a problem for athletes:) The jpeg below is a screen-grab of James' new website. (Click it to see it full size.)

You might recognize the style as reminiscent of the England Squash and Racketball Association's new website, that I wrote about in September '09, and there's a good reason: Both were designed by the agency known online as "Made By Fudge".

As cool as this site looks I can't help but notice that James' site is suffering from the same kind of content issues that plague the ESRA site. The "news" page looks like a draft version with the same photo used for the first six posts and the "download" page has only one desktop wallpaper (no photo credit) and the dreaded "coming soon" tag.

That said, these two websites are quite simply gorgeous and set the bar for squash sites all over the world. (Even if it's only in aesthetics:)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What ever happened to "Squashette"?

I have come to the realization that, though I rarely lob, I will never be able to fit a full size squash court in my basement but I'm pretty sure I have room for "Squashette"!

I found this photo on Corbis Images' website and it is entitled "Men Play Miniature Squash". It's a demonstration of "Squashette" given by George Lyttleton Rogers (r) and Mr W. J. Collier. The photo was taken in 1937 in Dulwich, London, UK and is decribed as "backing squash available to the masses". I love that they're playing in pants. Gonna have to try that this week in league.

Google let me down when I tried to find out anything about the two players shown and there's a dearth of info on the net about this sub-species of the game even on Wikipedia!

This photo, on the other hand, could very well have been taken at the Dulwich Squash Club which has been a members-owned club since 1867.

Drop me a line if you know more about "Squashette".

Another awesome photo I found on Corbis is this one of British squash champion Charles Arnold playing squash on rollerskates! Crazy. In 1926 Mr. Arnold wrote one of the first books on squash called "The Game of Squash Racquets" and you can buy a signed copy of it here (#52 on the list) for £250!

The last shot I wanted to share was this 1958 classic of Mohibullah Khan, the brother of Jansher. (Read more about the Khan dynasty at SquashSite or at Pakistan Paedia.)

Don't try this at home:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One of these things is just like the other.

There's a fellow named Jose who is creating a wonderful library of squash ephemera on Facebook. He's creating photo albums in a myriad of categories including poster designs, logo designs, famous players and their racquets, squash illustrations as well as photos culled from other squash sites. While he could do a better job of crediting his sources, 16oo fans like what he's doing. His group is called "SQUASH , IN THE WORD" - find him on Facebook.

One thing he's done is to help to make the global squash community a little smaller and a LOT more aware of who's doing what from a promotional and graphic design point of view.

Take this trio of images: Three great minds with the same idea? I highly doubt it. I was unable to track down the origin of the first (Eastern Europe? Anyone help with the translation?) but the second is clearly from Athens while the third is from Argentina.

Monday, October 12, 2009

CNN on how to play squash

This from an article found on sport:

"In squash, players take turns hitting a ball
to the front wall of a court, until one misses."

Sounds easy.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Fancy some Fudge with your Squash?

Have you seen the new logo and identity package that England Squash and Racketball Association has just rolled out? Hold on to your racquets all you squash association executive directors cuz this is something new and progressive: No yellow dots or racquets in this brand.

This is fresh and it smells like Fudge. The creative team of Fudge Studios (Bolton, UK) are behind the brand and website. The England Squash and Racketball association selected the agency as a part of a marketing drive to promote these otherwise conventional sports as 'vibrant, modern, and professional'.

David Eccles, managing director of Fudge, (quoted in The Drum) said: "It has been a fabulous project. Squash is experiencing a major resurgence, as England's national teams are now considered World and European Champions, while the growth of racketball has seen thousands of people step on court for the first time.

The new brand is also known as "English Rose":

And the website? No problems navigating to your current ranking here. It's slick and beautiful and it even has rotating background images and various player profiles. Right now they have one of Squash Republic's favs - Darryl Selby.

Nicely done Fudgies. Gives us squash playing graphic designers out in the trenches some hope.

Now, come on Squash BC and Squash Canada! The bar has been raised so let's get busy on your new website. You know how to reach us:)

Postscript - October 5th:
We've received an anonymous quote from a reader who feels that the ESRA site is suffering from a "case of style over substance" (But it looks SO good!). They point out that while the site looks wonderful and promises boatloads of content, the truth is the ESRA site is not really there yet. Just a small example: Adrian Grant wasn't born on January 1, 1981, but
October 6, 1980. So, one wonders, is it Fudge Creative's fault the correct content isn't there or is it the ESRA's?

I would be interested in hearing from anyone in the UK using the site: Have you experienced any issues? Is it working for you?

Thanks for the comments.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Canary Islands Squash

It's official, we're global!

Just found this online: It's a poster for an event that's taking place in Tenerife, the largest island of the seven Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Africa. They've used the template Pacey + Pacey Design created for the PSA and their promoters and partners. Sweet.

It's kind of weird that I don't see a PSA logo on the poster but they've also removed the photo credit (not so nice) so here's a link to photographer Steve Line's website: SquashPics.

Here's a link to Squash Canarias' website if you're interested.

Also, in case you didn't know, the intense player on the poster is none other than Borja Golan. Check out his groovy site.

Here's the original of the poster again:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Teed off with the Olympics.

I've taken a while getting to this topic because I haven't been able to decide how I feel about squash and the Olympics.

It’s a fact that I love squash. I want everyone I know to step on court and try it, meet the people and fall in love with the game. The WSF has been telling squashies that having our game in the Olympics may just help achieve growth in the numbers of people playing and, at the very least, bring global awareness to the game. That would be nice.

The problem is, I live in Vancouver, the city to next host the Olympics, and I’m learning first-hand what the Olympics is mostly about. While the IOC talks of "universal moral principles" not a day goes by that we don't hear about concessions being made to the IOC or restrictions being placed on the citizenry of Vancouver to ensure that the Olympics makes for good global TV viewing.

The Vancouver Sun’s Daphne Bramham reports, in her article entitled "Rights go out the window to create a seamless 2010 circus" that “Vancouver’s council recently passed an omnibus bylaw amending dozens of existing laws. Among the changes are the creation of so-called free-speech zones and blocks of the city… where no political pamphlets, leaflets, graffiti or 'non-celebratory posters' will be allowed. The mayor still insists that the whole city is a free speech zone, but at the very least, citizens are confused by the disconnect."

Wow. That just doesn't sound like something I want to be involved in. What happened to bringing "people together in peace to respect universal moral principles"? (That's a direct quote.)

I don't pretend to know why squash won't be involved until after 2016. I wasn’t there and just contemplating the backroom dealings make me feel cynical which isn't good for the soul. But you can't avoid the obvious: Alan Thatcher, writing on, hits the nick when he says that "the IOC places higher value on commercial success than sporting integrity."

PAR anyone?

(Just a last note: If you like the image used in this blog and want to use it for something you're doing drop me a line - It's an original so don't just swipe it and remove the copyright line, k? Thanks:)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flattery will get you nowhere.

My father Michael, who happens to be an internationally renowned graphic designer (with oodles of design awards stashed in the closet of his office), once told me that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I wasn't sure what he meant until I saw someone I had never met waltz into a squash tourney that I was playing in wearing a t-shirt with not one but two of my logo designs on it and it wasn't one of my shirts! I laughed about it then and, I have to admit, I even felt a little bit flattered when I thought about how someone half away across the world had liked my design enough to steal it, print up t-shirts and present the design as their own. I thought I was witnessing a "one-off" but then it happened again.

One night a couple of years ago I was at my squash club having a post-game pint when talk turned to graphics and someone accused me of design theft. They had seen a website that had the same logo that I was using for my squash clothing line "S.C.R.U. Squash". They were sure that I had stolen it. When I got home I hopped on the world wide web and finally found the website using it: It was a Malaysian squash academy and they were using a variation of the logo I had created and had been using since 2002. I emailed the academy over and over again and when I didn't hear back I went straight to the top and asked the Asian Squash Federation and the Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia to help me stop them. I showed them my evidence (below) and they stepped in and got the academy to stop using my logo. (My thanks again!) Still waiting for an apology from Mr. Foo. . .

Then it happened a third time: I was surfing the net for squash related info and I saw that a provincial squash association in Mexico was using my logo to represent their group. This time the colours were changed and a line of text added. Jeez. I ended up talking via email to the head of Colima Squash who was very apologetic and told me how they had hired someone to design them a logo and when he presented it to them they loved it! They weren't very happy to find out that their new logo was actually mine and they very quickly switched to a new logo (and a new designer I hope!)

Which brings us to today's example of "flattery".

One year ago I designed a logo and poster for a tournament at one of our local clubs. The theme was "Cuba Libre" and I suggested "Viva Squash" and "Revolutionize your Squash" as two mottos that could be used in the marketing of the event. The former was used in online advertising while the latter was used in the print poster.

Here's the "Viva Squash" logo with my logo in the star.

The event was fabulous and successful and I was very proud of the work I did so imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a poster that was using the photo I had taken of two junior squash friends of mine, Alykan and Ahmad, as the main graphic on their poster. They have also taken the tagline "Revolutionize Your Squash" and used it as if they came up with it. Couldn't even translate it into Spanish?

Judge for yoursef: On the left is the poster I designed. On the right is the poster for Sky Gym's squash tournament. Spot the similarities? (Click on them to see a larger view. Or do you need to?)

The poster in question is for an event taking place in less than two weeks at Sky Gym Training Centre in Naucalpan de Juárez, Mexico, so the damage is done. I'll track them down and let them know that I'm pissed but real drag is that the players entering this tournament have no idea who created the artwork for the event. I bet they have no idea it was a squash-crazy designer in Canada.

I wonder if my artwork will appear on the souvenir t-shirts too? (I'm an XL, Ahmad's a large and Alykhan's a medium . . . just in case.)

My father was right about the flattery part of this but he also had another adage that he taught me from an early age: Give credit where credit is due.

Let me be clear here about credit because I'm not just talking about financial credit. If they had asked me I probably would have let them use the artwork in exchange for a credit line, telling the world who designed it, or for putting my logo on the poster. Easy peezy.

What we're talking about here is plagiarism and the dictionary defines it as copying something without crediting the source.

Plagiarism is stealing and that's not flattering.

Monday, June 15, 2009

When is a squash court not a squash court?

When it's a dance floor of course!

Check out this awesome photo from the Seoul Open.

Congrats to Nicol David who beat Jenny Duncalf in four games to claim her second Seoul Open title. Read more at SquashSite.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy World Squash Day!

Hoping that you all got a chance to get on court today and remind yourself of why you love this game so much. We did! Awesome match with a great friend and then beers after. Solid.

Unfortunately, nothing was organized in Vancouver, Canada, THIS year but we're not going to let the day go by again without some kind of celebration.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

PSA Picks Pacey + Pacey

Pacey + Pacey Design is a Vancouver studio that has been in the graphics business for over 12 years but only began to get involved doing design work for the squash community in 2004 when one of the partners caught the "squash bug". They've designed logos for clubs as far afield as Inuvik and Bogota and created posters for National tournaments in Canada and the Organization of Eastern Carribean States. All of that was well and good but, truth be told, their goal had always been to work with the "big boys".

At the end of 2008 the Professional Squash Association contacted Pacey + Pacey and asked them to design a series of posters. These posters would be made available online to PSA event promoters to assist them in advertising their events. As the PSA has partners all over the world the posters would have to appeal to a varied taste. In the end five posters were created and each one stars a current PSA player and takes advantage of the amazing photography of Steve Line at SquashPics.

Squash Republic is pleased to give you a sneak peek at the posters.

We've already spotted one tournament using the poster: The Rochester Pro Am.

Let us know if you see any around and tell us what you think of the designs!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Republic in the Republic

A quick shout out to the newest member of Squash Republic: Pavel Sladecek of the Czech Republic. Pavel is #1 on the Czech tour and his PSA ranking is 160 and we think he looks pretty snazzy in our classic dry fit.

More info on Pavel here.
Order your own shirt here.

Big props to Maciek Klis for forwarding us these photos and to Adamo for taking them!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Squash Stars!

Some of the most influential women in squash are preparing to shake the male-dominated squashnet by launching "". Here's a quick quote from their promotional material:

Passion is Positive and Powerful
We're passionate players and fans who would like to translate our drive into something positive and powerful for the sport we all love - squash. We believe that we can make a difference and because of that, we dare to dream.

Some of the people involved include Nicol David, Liz Irving, Alana Miller (Canada) and Natalie Grainger. Got your attention yet? The site is being built as we speak but you can get early info as they already have a blog going.

Oh, did we mention that Squash Republic and Pacey + Pacey Design helped with the logo (Do you recognize the athlete in the logo?) and designed the website? Nice.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What if you held a National tournament and no one came?

Firstly, all you Canadian squashies need to thank the World Health Club in Calgary for stepping up to the plate and volunteering to host this year's Canadian Squash Championships. If they hadn't it would have most likely been held in Toronto again. Kudos to Jonathan Hill too for being the point guy on what's turning into a touch-and-go kind of event. He returned my call and emails right away. Thanks dood.

The official website is up and you can sign-up right now. $150 CAD gets you two PAR 11 matches, a "player kit souvenir" (?), Thursday night lasagna feast and dinner and dancing on Saturday night. Contact telephone number: (403) 239-4048. Registration deadline is 9:00am April 13th, 2009.

My only beef? Wasn't long ago that the Nationals meant that the glass court would be coming out of hibernation to dazzle us all with it's 360 degrees of viewing. Not this year. It turns out that the show court in Calgary will be one of the four glass back courts at the WHC. Don't get me wrong, playing on a glass court isn't the be all end all but you can sit a lot more people on four sides than you can on one. This is the problem: You can't buy tickets online yet to see the show court matches. Turns out that the WHC is offering the tickets to it's club members before allowing the rest of Canada to purchase them. Apparently they will go on sale to the general public this Thursday, March 26th. I sure hope that there are some left because it may actually be the deciding factor for a lot of us.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Whatever happened to World Squash Day?

It seems like all squashies are talking about these days is the confusion over PAR, and what it will mean to their club ladder or beer league, and the ongoing struggle to get squash into the Olympics. I'll leave PAR alone for now (only because it doesn't really have graphic representation - maybe I'll design an "I'm for PAR!" or an "Ask ME about PAR!" button:) but I thought I'd mention the latest surrounding squash's quest for GOLD.

It looks like squash is in fear of becoming the well behaved monkey tied to the organ and the IOC is turning the crank. We're "recognized" but not as recognized as solo synchronized diving and we're working hard. Seriously, the IOC has been yanking our chain since 1900 when Jeu de paume was a demonstration sport.

(Mon ami, qu'est ce que c'est Jeu de Paume? It was similar to squash, only competitors used their hands instead of a racquet to strike the ball and it was a demonstration sport. Just in case you think I'm making this up: LINK.)

The WSF has been a busy monkey (if you excuse the metaphor:). They've re-vamped their brand (see previous post), produced a Powerpoint presentation extolling the virtues of the game, created an Olympic Pledge poster, and had superstars sign it, and even created a snazzy video full of game clips and sounds and info all in an effort to catch the IOC's eye and convince them that we are worthy. The video, which you can see on the new WSF-affiliated website, includes this little nugget that still gets my goat: Squash is played in every major games EXCEPT the Olympics.

So what's new on the Olympic front? The death of one idea is making way for the birth of another. I quote from Inside The Games: "The world of Squash is uniting to support the sport’s bid for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic programme with a massive worldwide festival on May 23, it was announced today. The popular World Squash Day is being re-branded as Squash 2016 Day as national federations all over the globe organise a massive programme of events to back the sport's push to get into the Games for the first time."

Much like the effort to get Softball back into the Olympics ("Back Softball") the WSF has recently launched a new website and a groovy shiny new logo in an effort to raise awareness of the initiative and to raise funds to pay the organ grinder.

This latest squash logo is growing on me and their website looks good. Kudos to the WSF and who ever else is involved behind the curtains (Alan Thatcher, you still kicking? And who is Juniper PR in NY anyway?) I think I might even order a t-shirt with the new logo and celebrate with my beer league amigos on May 23rd. Wonder if they'll want to play with PAR scoring by then?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I never really intended this blog to be so design-centric but I guess I can't help myself!

It seems that the World Squash Federation (not to be confused with the United Federation of Galactic Squash) has "updated" its logo. Yep, in an attempt, no doubt, to gain a little credibility in the eyes of the I.O.C. the WSF has moved away from the classic "Mollweide Projection"
(I didn't make that up) to a trendy, contemporary little ditty. Strikes me as change for change's sake.

While the old WSF logo may have look dated there was something comforting about it. It looked like the logo of a governing body. (Or a division of Pan Am airlines:) It said "GLOBAL" and that was good.

The new one doesn't:

Take the tagline off and this logo could be for anything. Will someone please explain the two blue fangs? (I know: "Whoosh!") And does anyone else read "W I S F"? What happened to the "W"?

I do like the colours so here's my suggestion. No charge. Update with the new colour scheme and reposition the ball so that the equator line isn't competing and voila! Groovy and trendy and I'm sure that
Jacques Rogge would approve.

Interestingly enough, I Googled to see if I could find out who designed the logo and no one is taking credit for it which makes me wonder. Anyone know who did it?

+ + +

On a related note, U.S. Squash has also recently updated their logo. Their old logo depicted a single old-school round headed racquet while their new one has two. That's progress.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Canadian Nationals Host Announced

On January 9th, 2009, Squash Canada finally announced who would host this year's edition of the Canadian Squash Championships. And guess what? It's not in Toronto this year!

It's being held at the World Health Club in lovely Calgary. This bodes well for West Coast representation - at least it better! - and Squash Republic will be doing everything we can to convince people to head to Calgary.

Jonathan Hill, the club pro, had this to say: "I am very aware of the importance of there being a national squash championship. . . We will put on a top-class event!"

Excellent. Now, Mr. Hill, how about adding that companion event that we keep asking for?

(It's over there on the left. No, further down. Yep, there you go.)

(Apologies to Matt Giuffre for taking his place in the photo above:)

Read Squash Canada's official announcement here.