Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Buy Me Some Logos and Cracker Jacks (Part 2)

By Bowen Hobbs

Last week, I started a discussion of the 2009–10 offseason's re-branding efforts in Minor League Baseball. This week, I continue on the topic by examining the visual efforts out of Richmond, VA; Bradenton, FL; and Eugene, OR.

The story of Richmond's new team began in Connecticut. In 2009, the team now known as the Richmond Flying Squirrels was named the Connecticut Defenders. In October 2009, after moving south of the Mason-Dixon line, the franchise concluded a "Name-The-Team" contest and became the Flying Squirrels. In December, the team unveiled its logo set and uniforms. The primary logo blends the line between squirrel and superhero. Although most of the logo (the head, body, tail, etc.) is very well-rendered, the hands do present some issues. Although they display some human qualities, it is difficult to determine which way the hands are facing. The use of a modified secondary logo on the chest of the squirrel is a nice touch that ties the set together. Speaking of the secondary logo, it is an acorn/baseball with a bushy-tailed R emblazoned on it. The team also unveiled "Flying Squirrels" and "Richmond" wordmarks with the home and road jerseys. The alternate is a vest with the secondary logo on the left chest. The logos (excluding the squirrel's hands) do a great job of mixing the "kid-friendly" squirrel with an edge. The type treatment seems a little jagged, but works with the cartoony nature of the squirrel. Overall, it earns a solid B in my book.

Also unveiled in December, was the new identity for the Bradenton Marauders. If "Bradenton Marauders" doesn't sound familiar, that's because it isn't. They used to be the Sarasota Reds, but in an affiliation shuffle, the Pittsburgh Pirates got the Sarasota team and moved operations of said team to the Pirates' Spring Training home in Bradenton. Regardless of the circumstances, the logo is pure excellence. If I were asked for a classic example of what a club should do, logo-wise, to show their Major League affiliation, while establishing their own identity, I would point directly to the Marauders. It has the essence of a Minor League logo, with its somewhat benign pirate, and yet it shows a clear connection to the parent club with its colors and pirate theme. The crossed bats fill in nicely for a Jolly Roger, and the type has just enough ornamentation to establish the buccaneer theme without cluttering the space. The primary cap features the pirate head, while the alternate cap places an emphasis on a stylized B that coincides with the Marauders wordmark. A+.

Moving forward to 2010, the Eugene Emeralds unveiled their new logo on January 21st. The old logo featured the word "Ems" in a script over a field and crossed bats in kelly green, navy, and metallic gold. The new logo borrows imagery from the region and replaces the metallic gold with sky blue. While the old logo was somewhat redundant because "EUGENE EMERALDS" and "Ems" both appear in the mark, the new emblem eliminates the excess and replaces the field background with a home plate holding shape. Although I hope they feature more kelly green in the uniforms, this is a definite upgrade. A-.

The design section of this blog continues with a re-branding effort for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. While last week's design showed everyone what the T-Rats could look like if re-dubbed the Foxes, this week's design keeps the Timber Rattlers moniker. The color palette I chose takes burgundy, which is featured in the stadium, and makes it the primary color, complemented by red and two shades of metallic gold. The primary logo features a coiled snake ready to strike above a TIMBER RATTLERS wordmark. The secondary is a snake W, to be worn on the primary home and away caps. The tertiary is a standalone rattler, and is seen on the alternate caps and as a patch on the left sleeve of each jersey. The jerseys feature compound placket piping and sleeve trim. The primary and alternate home uniforms are emblazoned with the TIMBER RATTLERS wordmark. The alternate home uniform features a burgundy jersey with white lettering and numbers. I have included two options for the away uniforms: a version with a khaki colored base, and a version with the traditional grey. Both feature a two-toned WISCONSIN wordmark with a rattle on the W.

Feel free to comment on Minor League Baseball's re-branding efforts, the Timber Rattlers concept above, or anything sports branding related. Next week "Buy Me Some Logos and Cracker Jacks" will wrap up with Part 3 of the series.

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