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Home Biz of Baseball - Interviews Todd Radom Talks the Art of Sports Logo Design

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Todd Radom Talks the Art of Sports Logo Design PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 26 January 2009 23:41

Todd RadomThe logo. The sleeve patch. The special event logos. Historic brands. Sports logos encompass them all. They are the designs that are itched in the sport fan’s psyche. As much as the team name conjures up memories, so to do the logos that are associated with them.

Todd Radom has been part of that process by either coming up with new marks, or offering up variations as clubs work to tweak designs over time. He’s also been involved with commemorative sleeve patches that have adorned more than one club’s uniform over the last few years, with some recent designs being the sleeve patches for final seasons of both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium.

While Radom is under strict confidentiality agreements with the clubs and leagues he works with, there is more than one that he can publicly say he worked on. The Washington Nationals, the latest incarnation of the Angels logo, Fenway’s 90th anniversary logo, the Brooklyn Cyclones design, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as Super Bowl XXXVIII, the 100th Anniversary World Series logo from 2003, the logo for the 50th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, and the World Baseball Classic logo were all brought to life by Radom in collaboration with the league and clubs that hired him.

In 2006, we interviewed Radom shortly after he designed the logo for The Biz of Baseball. He has since designed all of the Business of Sports Network logos.

Lest there be any doubt of the interest in sports logos and uniforms, sites such as Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos and Uni Watch are just two sites that have incredibly large and loyal followings.

Of the 45 baseball related interviews and more than 50 total that the Business of Sports Network has conducted, to date, Radom’s 2006 interview has been the most popular.

With the recent debate over the design of the inaugural Citi Field commemorative sleeve patch, that landed within days of the commemorative patch for new Yankee Stadium, we thought it was time to talk with Radom again and get his thoughts on logo and uniform design. Topics for the interview include alternate jersey and logo designs, the challenges that come with corporate sponsors being infused in the design mix, the mindset of designing new logos as opposed to tweaking existing designs, some of his favorite minor league baseball logo designs, what older logos may have had him scratching his head, whether red or powder blue drops off the “all the rage” list for uniforms first, his thoughts on the ‘70’s Astros uniform colors, and much more. – Maury Brown

Select Read More to see the 2009 interview with Todd Radom

Maury Brown for the Business of Sports Network: How busy has Todd Radom been lately when it comes to doing sports related marks, patches, etc.?

Todd Radom: I am happily and consistently busy, working on a range of fun projects, constantly keeping stuff moving through the creative pipeline. Every job has it’s own unique challenges and traits, and the reward of seeing it on the field of play and out in the retail world is always rewarding.

Bizball: There seems to be a steady stream of alternative jerseys each year in MLB, a sign that variety makes the cash registers ring. How set are the clubs and MLB going into a redesign? Is it a case of “less is more”?

Radom: It’s kind of a loaded question, again, every job is different and priorities and goals vary from job-to-job. My own personal view on alternate jerseys is that, more often than not, they should be clearly subordinate to a franchise’s primary look, part of the visual family but not the alpha member of the pack. That said, less is (more often than not) more.

Mets arm patchBizball: There has been a lot of hullabaloo over the Mets inaugural season patch, which leans on the Citi Field logo design (for the record, Radom did not design it). Is it tough to be creative when a key sponsor is integrated into the design mix?

Radom: An additional logo within a logo always presents specific challenges, no question about it. There’s a delicate balance involved in cases like these, plenty of issues with regard to proportions and prominence of a sponsor’s mark, some very specific dynamics that require a defined game plan going into the project.

Bizball: Personal opinion time. There are some marks that are timeless, such as the Yankees and Red Sox. Newer franchises have been pretty liberal in how often they redesign their club logos (see Mariners, Blue Jays, and Rays as examples). You’ve been involved in creating wholly new logos (Nationals), and substantial redesign (Angels). Without talking directly about how those projects proceeded, what kind of mindset do you get into when working on a broader scale than a logo tweak?

Radom: It really depends on the culture of the franchise and locality and what the goals are. I’ve often said that a redesign of any corporate identity represents an opportunity to articulate a shift in tone, a new era. Such change is often proceeded by failure—successful franchises with tangibly great results on the field don’t often change their look in the midst of a great run. The chance to start from scratch is the greatest challenge imaginable, a blank canvas of sorts.

Bizball: We’ve been talking about major league sports, but there are a large volume of minor league sports logos that have interesting designs. You’ve designed the logo for the Brooklyn Cyclones, for one. What are some other designs that you find interesting?

Kernals logoRadom: Minor League Baseball is all about fun and accessibility, a real celebration of baseball and the communities that host the clubs. There are so many quirky and fun looks that I enjoy that live within this culture, including the Cedar Rapid Kernels, the classic Durham Bulls and Memphis Redbirds; I could go on and on here.

Bizball: In our last interview, we talked about some of the classic designs that you admired, including the St. Louis Browns “Brownie”. Let’s flip the question over… what logo designs over the ages have had you scratching your head?

Radom: Wow! Visceral reactions aside, this really requires the ability to travel through time in order to properly get a grip on what went into the process. One design that comes to mind is the expansion Washington Senators logo, a pitcher just about to release a high hard one, standing in front of a very detailed United States Capitol building. Lots going on here to say the least. I would have loved to have been part of the conversation involving the use of “scrambled eggs” on the Seattle Pilots’ caps too.

Bizball: What logo or uniform color will fade back from its current rage first? Red or powder blue?

Radom: Red denotes power and energy, intensity, passion and desire—all of which are especially relevant in the world of sports in one way or another. Powder blue, with few exceptions, is never expected to carry the day thematically. Trends being inherently trendy, I think that the abundant use of powder blue goes by the wayside sooner rather than later.

Astros uniBizball: Cool or something that made your eyes scream? The ‘70s yellow and orange Houston Astros jerseys.

Radom: Beyond cool! Something that could (and probably should) never happen today, but so iconic, so 1975, so Houston in 1975. Amazing. Paired with the orange cap, of course. A visual explosion, resplendently depicted in 100% polyester!

Bizball: Finally, when working with major sports leagues and their franchises, you wind up dealing with non-disclosure agreements, meaning you can’t speak about the design process. When there is considerable coverage in the media and on the internet surrounding one of your designs, do you simply fall back to Oz, the man behind the curtain?

Radom: I don’t really look at it this way at all. The design process is so incredibly collaborative and so much depends upon having a great Creative Director sell the work, great support people implementing and making the work happen in so many ways. Don’t get me wrong, recognition is great and is absolutely necessary as far as generating income goes, but I’ve been doing this for so many years now that I understand the process and the dynamics and realities of how things work.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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