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.

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