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Welcome to the first edition of Logo Love, a series where we dive into the unique world of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) logos and team names.
Jason Klein and Casey White, Partners at Brandiose Studios, have worked for more than 100 professional sports franchises to create branding materials to tell the team’s story to the fans. They sat down with each other to talk about the history of some of the interesting team names in MiLB, their methods for conceptualizing logos, and more.
On naming teams in the early days of professional baseball (0:10)
Klein: “The history of naming in Minor League Baseball goes back to the Civil War. The Civil War had just wrapped up and during the war, they had these imported German cigars that everybody got accustomed to. So when the war ended and everybody went back to their hometowns, in Wheeling, West Virginia, they became a cigar rolling community…that was really special to Wheeling, West Virginia, so when baseball came to town, they were naturally the Wheeling Stogies. The Wheeling Stogies would play the Glen Rapids Furniture Makers. That stood as much for baseball as it did for the pride of the industry of each of those towns.”
On finding stories to tell through logos (2:00)
Klein: “What Minor League Baseball is all about is taking the story of all of our great American hometowns and then fusing them into this fun universe where you just want to lose yourself for a night. That’s what’s so great about what we do.”
White: “When we’re coming up with a name, I would say that there are main three paradigms that we use. First, ‘is it a fun story?’. Number two: ‘is it just fun?’ Does everyone want to talk about it? Are kids going to love it? Number three is heart and authenticity. We want to create stuff that lasts a long time. We’re always trying to find more of those long term stories.”
SEE MORE: Logo Love Episode Three: Design Process
On what it means to create a brand, as opposed to just a logo (3:00)
Klein: “The great sports brands of our time are more than just a logo. There’s often theme songs or there’s rituals…traditions. We think deeper than what would just be a cool logo or what would sell. What would be something cool that we could create experientially that defines that brand that transcends logo.”
White: “The brand, the name, and the logo become an abstraction in people’s minds. We like to think of it like a box. In that box, you put all of your memories and all of your habits, and all of your relationships that you form [through the team]. The Yankees logo for example, of course it represents this incredible lineage of winning, but it also represents Babe Ruth and Joe Dimaggio, and moments like 9/11 where everyone rallied around…what it meant to be from New York. It becomes this box that everyone puts their memories in and we’re trying to make the prettiest box.”