Monday, November 27, 2006

Minor Leaguers Can Look Major League.

Springfield Cardinals Minor League Identity: Polished, Professional, Perfect.

I've been outspoken about the silliness/goofiness/wackiness of minor league baseball team branding. My issue is that minor league marketing executives believe that the success of a minor league logo is all about being "cartoony and quirky". This seems both simplistic and short sighted to me.

While fully understanding Minor League baseball marketing is all about affordable family fun, I am in disagreement that every identity needs to look like a cartoon (or a heavy handed complicated illustration). The following examples are NOT provided to condemn the designers (who are paid to meet team objectives), they are just the providers of the illustrations, not the enablers (the team marketing executives take the blame) of this brand business. And it iseems to be getting sillier every change.

Here's my Top Five Silly Sampling

1. Toledo Mud Hens (I'll take my eggs over easy)

2. Modesto Nuts (Okay, I'll admit you start with a name like Nuts and you're doomed)

Kid: "Hey #8... are you Nuts?"
Player: "Nah kid, I'm just a Nut, okay?"
Kid" Oh, okay, kinda nutty huh?"

3. Lansing LugNuts (You cannot comment on Nuts without commenting on LugNuts...)

Uniform: Yes, it says LUGNUTS..

4. Vermont Lake Monsters (kinda just rolls off your tongue doesn't it?)

I'm sure the state of Vermont is proud of their Lake Monsters? Huh?

5. Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (There is nothing silly or cute about this is there?)

Okay, I'd easily accept Iron Horses in honor of all-time great Lou Gehrig's nickname. But please Iron Pigs?

My point being a large percentage of minor league logos look so minor league that they hurt.

Then, there's the Springfield Cardinals brand identity. Wonderful. Sharp. RELEVANT!

A major league look for a minor league baseball team. This is branding nirvana.

New cap design:

How relevant is this minor league identity. Let me delightfully count the ways.

1. The Springfield Cardinals major league affiliation is the St. Louis Cardinals.
2. Springfield Cardinals color scheme: classy and traditonally sharp.
3. High socks with beuatifully striping. Outstandingly cool.

I want to applaud GM Matt Gifford for providing clear concise wonderful evidence minor league teams can look professional, have a personality and tie directly to the MLB pro team.

Hey minor league logo designers take note, do your research, but away the Disney sketch books and create something wonderful.



Anonymous said...

What are some examples of good Minor League identities that DON'T use their parent club's name? Obviously Springfield sucked the personality from their parent's look...

Look forward to your feedback Mr. O'Grady.

President, SBSofA said...

Sure. Here's my favorite in no particular order, hope you agree with a few of them.

1. Memphis Redbirds
2. Brooklyn Cyclones
3. Durham Bulls
4. Chattanooga Lookouts
5. Carolina Mudcats
6. Pawtucket Red Sox
7. Toledo Mud Hens (previous)
8. Burlington Bees (provious)