It’s been a Brandiose rebranding season, but has it gone too far?

Brandiose (formerly Plan B. Branding) is without question my favorite sports logo design firm. I generally trust what they do when branding a team and am always excited to find out what new direction they are taking baseball logos. I honestly think that they are the most influential, forward thinking and exciting firm working today and the look of Minor League Baseball has been challenged and changed over the last ten years because of their work.

Brandiose has once again been a big part of this rebranding season releasing numerous full rebrands, alternate logos and special event logos. But for the first time I’ve been concerned with the work that they have done and am left scratching my head at some of these logos. The artwork is, as always, top notch, but I think that a lot of these logos have gone too far or just generally have missed the mark in some way.

So let’s take a look at some of the work that Brandiose has been responsible for this offseason…

The Lexington Legends

This one falls into the “definitely needed an upgrade” category of rebranding projects this offseason. The original Legends logos were dated, at best.

This new set has one big winner, the mustache cap that I am currently wearing. I have already had numerous comments on this cap and I expect that it will be a hit with baseball fans and irony fans alike. It’s a very cool piece, though I have to admit that I’m not blown away by the creativity of the idea. I already own a coffee tumbler that sports a mustache very similar to this cap.

Generally I feel like something is not quite right with this set. I think my problems are with the amount of light colors used in the guy (Lex?). The white face mixed with the very light cream color of the jersey doesn’t provide enough contrast. The Lex on his shirt above the Legends looks out of place and tacked on and I don’t particularly care for the vastly different wordmarks. They are so out of place with the aesthetic of the rest of the logo.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

This one goes into the “had to have a rebrand category”. New stadium, new direction, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees name wasn’t what this team needed at this time so it is only natural to see them give themselves a new identity.

Brandiose and the front office decided to combine the two front runners for name, RailRiders and Porcupines into one logo with RailRiders the name and a porcupine for a mascot.

Again, the artwork couldn’t be better on these logos. I love the RailRiders wordmark and all four of the alternate logos are striking and fascinating in their own regards. My biggest problem with this set is the porcupine riding the rails in the primary logo. He looks out of place and awkward to me. Also, I don’t see a great cap logo out of the bunch. The “R” will grace their caps but I think it is the weakest of the bunch. They also unveiled an “SWB” logo for caps that I think is oversized and something that I wouldn’t wear.

Reading Fightin Phillies

This is the one that has really left me scratching my head. File this one under “rebranding that nobody wanted”.

It was announced weeks before this set was released that the Reading Phillies would be changing their name and logo and reaction in Reading was instantly negative. I’ve never heard a community come out so strongly in force against a rebranding before. And yet, the Phillies pushed on and I defended them saying that I trusted Brandiose to give them something classy and amazing that would put their fears to rest and make everybody happy. Boy, was I wrong.

Again, I like the artwork but these logos are completely tone deaf and contrived. The ostrich refers to a promotion that the Phillies do that involves a costume of a hot dog vendor that rides an ostrich. Basing a logo on a half inning promotion could be a fun idea that would probably work in a lot of places but not in the situation where a fan base was more than afraid that it would come down to some bad gimmick like this.

And then to compound this disaster, they also unveiled road uniforms that read “Baseballtown”, are different colors and feature a hot dog holding a bat. And these are not just alternates or fun pieces, these are the road uniforms. Reading and the Fightins are not represented on the road at all.

While in theory I like these logos separately, when put into one package and considering the fan base, this is a debacle all around. The public didn’t want this change and then the Fightins and Brandiose took it to the extreme with ridiculous logos while bragging about having the most uniform and cap options in baseball (seven different official caps, by the way).  I’m with the fans. I’d like to see them return to the previous logos or maybe something more conservative and classy.

There is one really cool thing to come out of this rebrand, though, that I think will be a major positive down the road: the awesome “fauxback” patterns used in their jerseys. You can see that awesome effect here and here.

Eugene Emeralds

You can file this one under “awesome, but unnecessary”. The Emeralds just updated their logo two seasons ago and while I agree that it was a very conservative look that was hard to get terribly excited about, did the club really make a 180 degree about face from that look? Maybe they did. They will sell a lot of merchandise with this logo, I have no doubt about that, but it still leaves me cold and feels really crass. See the whole set of logos here.

Perhaps my objection to this logo comes from my own biases. The Emeralds abandoned one of the last all wooden ballparks on the West Coast to share antiseptic facility with the University of Oregon and poor Civic Stadium sits across town rotting away with no plan and no hope. While I understand the move, it saddens me to see the Emeralds abandon their history for something new that isn’t really theirs.

And I kind of feel that they have done the same thing with this logo. This logo isn’t really the Emerald’s logo. This is a logo for the far away consumer of minor league logos that will see a sasquatch and says “cool” and plunk down their credit card without thinking twice about the city or team that it represents.

Look, I know that’s part of the game now. But it is that crassness that kind of runs a common thread through these logos this season.  I feel like Brandiose has always done a great job of walking that thin line between what will play well nationally and what will play well locally and I think that they have just barely fallen off creating logos that feel like they have much more of a eye on national sales as opposed to how it will play locally.

Posted in Baseball, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania | Leave a comment

Medford Rogues

The West Coast League, a collegiate summer league spanning Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, has expanded to Medford, Oregon for the 2013 season. The new team announced yesterday that they will be known as the Medford Rogues and released the above pirate themed logo. It’s a striking, fun logo that will be very popular in the Rogue Valley.

The logo and upcoming jerseys and alternate logos were produced by Keith Flynn of Flynnagain Productions, an Ontario, Canada based design company. If you think it kind of has a tinge of hockey influence, which is what I’ve been thinking since I first saw the logo, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Flynnagain has done quite a few minor league hockey identities including, locally, the Everett Silvertips.

The hockey influence is what keeps throwing me off a bit about this identity, it just doesn’t feel very baseball to me despite the bats and the stitching on the skull. But that isn’t going to stop the general popularity of this logo, in fact, it might be the reason that it will be so popular in the area.

One other small problem I have with the logo: the color scheme. League mates and probably rivals, the Klamath Falls Gems, are just 77 miles away and already feature a primarily green identity.

Posted in Baseball, Oregon | 1 Comment

Rockford Riverhawks

I’m a little behind with this one, but it is such an upgrade, I have to say something about the new Rockford Riverhawks logos.

I once owned a Riverhawks cap not so much because I liked the logo but because I stopped in Rockford to see about a job with my old general manager while on my drive of shame back home to Olympia, Washington from Richmond, Indiana where I was laid off/kicked out by the Richmond Roosters. Though he offered me a job, I didn’t take it and I have never worked full-time in baseball again. And though that was the decision that put an end to my short time working in independent baseball, I don’t regret not taking the job.  Never have.

But I digress. I did regret buying the cap because it featured the logo to the right, their inaugural logo and logo they’d use until 2007. It just never did anything for me. Boring colors, silly cartoon face, weak “R”. Not to mention the cap was a Zephyr fitted and I’m a New Era 59/50 guy all the way. I wore it occasionally when I really wanted to be different.

In 2007, they finally updated their logo. The face was still cartoonish, but they improved their color scheme and added a few nice alternates to the mix. Still, the logo screamed cheap and seemed a bit amateurish and already dated especially since they kept the wordmark from their original set of logos.

But last week, the Riverhawks announced a whole new set of logos, and it’s a pretty impressive upgrade for a team that has had basically the same amateur look for the past ten years…

Honestly, if I was pitched a job with this team with these logos instead of those old logos back in 2002, I might still be working in baseball.  But then I might not be married with two kids, either, and I’ll take that life over the turmoil of independent baseball.

These, finally for Rockford, are professional, respectable logos that mean business. Definitely one of the best upgrades released for the 2012 season.

Posted in Baseball, Illinois | Leave a comment

Southwest Washington Soccer Association concept

I swear to you, I will start updating The Sports Logo Pundit more regularly. I should. There is something to talk about every single day.

Today, I just want to share a logo that I submitted for my rec soccer league. I don’t know if they’ll pick it because it isn’t a very serious logo and irony doesn’t seem to be appreciated but I think it’s fun and different.

There is also a part of me that doesn’t want them to pick it because I will totally save that harbor seal and use it for my daughter’s first pee wee soccer team.

Posted in Soccer, Washington | Leave a comment

Goodbye Yuma Scorpions

The Yuma Scorpions, original members of the Golden Baseball League and recently of the woeful North American League, are no more. New ownership has taken over and are rebranding the team as the Yuma Panthers.

Ballpark Biz gets it right when he says that this is a bad move. There have been good and, recently, bad times with the Scorpions but their Studio Simon designed logo was a really nice, professional, solid and respectable brand and is arguably the best thing this team has going for it. I sincerely doubt that they’ll come up with anything even remotely similar or effective. I expect it to be done half-assed and on the cheap.

Prove me wrong Panthers, prove me wrong.

Posted in Arizona, Baseball | 1 Comment

The Clink Room’s Shadow League Voting

My entriesVoting is now open for The Clink Room’s Shadow League contest. I have three entries and I would appreciate a vote if you are so inclined. Go here for instructions and to see all the entries. If I had to steer you toward one, I think the Olympia Roundabouts logo (the yellow one, in case you can’t tell) is the best of my entries and has a legitimate shot to get some votes. Sadly it looks kind of janky on the ballot.

As for my votes, I have to admit that I didn’t have a very hard time whittling down the competition. I was generally a little disappointed by the entries. I thought they would be a bit more creative and I definitely expected more visual tricks and optical illusions. But there are some that I really like and will be voting for. I get five votes and I’m voting for my Roundabouts logo and then choosing four other logos from these…

Although the ballot is missing one that I would definitely vote for, the Key West Canes…

So until the Key West Canes appears on the ballot, I’m withholding my votes. As of right now, the definite votes go to the Roundabouts, Canes, The Krakken and the Eels. I’m leaning toward the Lagers (the beer mug) because I like the design and the designer gave the Roundabouts logo a vote but I’m also quite taken with the Hobos logo. The other three are the odd men out, but I do really like them all and are still in consideration.

Posted in Baseball | 4 Comments

Tampa Bay Rowdies

20111215-104735.jpgFC Tampa Bay is now the Tampa Bay Rowdies, a name and logo that are a throwback to their previous NASL days. I like it though I hope that they do a secondary logo crest of some kind.

Posted in Florida, Soccer | 1 Comment