Kwun from Badminton Central unboxes some pre-release Adidas badminton rackets.
It looks at this early stage that Adidas has really done their homework with their first foray into badminton. Initially I was skeptical of their ability to distill the culture of badminton and the various informal and unwritten design cues that signify ‘badminton design’, but they’ve clearly done quite a bit of cross-cultural branding design, and at face value at least, have appeared to taken quite a bit of consideration to making the rackets attractive to both Western and Asian tastes.
In colour psychology, Red and gold are imbued with cultural meaning in many Asian cultures that isn’t as prevalent in the West. Red is a general symbol for happiness and good luck, while gold/yellow is a symbol for wealth and prosperity. This is a big reason why there is so many red and gold/yellow rackets and items of clothing from Asia-based badminton companies, and it seems Adidas is following suite with it’s Adipower Pro and Adizero Pro.
The Switch Pro and the Precision 88 seem to not follow the design blueprint of the other two, which is interesting. The green on the Switch is very on-trend, but it appears too minimalist with too much negative space, and while asymmetry is also very popular, I’m yet to be convinced having only colour on one side of the racket is a nice design. The use of ’88’ is very atypical, in the same vain as the Yonex Voltric 80, Victor MX80, and more blatantly, the Fleet Ti-888. The number 8 (八 or bā) in Mandarin sounds similar to the word for ‘wealth’ or ‘prosperity’ (發 or fā), and ’88’ has a similar visual cue to the symbol 囍 meaning ‘double joy’.
I’ll have to wait until better detailled photos are produced to make further comment on the designs but I’d say generally Adidas is on the right track. They’ve done their colour psychology and numerology homework, but like Wilson and Babolat they might be running the gauntlet of being too Western (strong minimalism and geometrics) with the design elements on the Adipower and the Adizero.