Why I Love Minor League Baseball Logos!

I love minor league logos.

Good ones, of course.

Good creative ones.

These logos depict the most interesting, unique mascots. The Flying Squirrels, Mud Hens, Iron Pigs, Rubber Ducks, Yard Goats, and more have taken their place in the pantheon of sports franchises.

It takes a talented designer (or design firm) to develop a visual brand around these mascots that goes beyond mere novelty. The creativity that is tapped into and put on display is something I truly marvel at.

New Logos for El Paso Chihuahuas by Brandiose
New Logos for El Paso Chihuahuas by Brandiose

I have great admiration for those who excel at the cross-section of two loves of mine: in this case, sports and design. Brandiose, a design studio that makes teams famous, has created some of my favorite sport team logos. Jason & Casey are amazing at what they do and the enthusiasm they have for the craft shows in their designs. They are the epitome of outside-the-box thinking. When the mascot isn’t common, there is an opportunity to come up with something never seen (or heard of) before. I love seeing designers take that opportunity and run with it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen many a fantastic tiger (one, flying) and effervescent eagle. But it’s something about seeing a well crafted brand centered around a super-fit jumbo shrimp that earns extra credit from me. And the designing doesn’t stop at the main logo. The team’s identity includes secondary and tertiary logos, uniforms, hats, other fan apparel, promotional images, etc.

The next level of my love of these designs comes from the creative applications of the team’s identity. How do you promote your new look? How do you incorporate your new look in your communication? How do you capitalize on your unique brand and increase your popularity? You may not be a major league franchise but you can have a major league impact.

I preach often about the importance of investing in your brand, regardless of the market you wish to thrive in. Great design attracts. A great brand knows how to take advantage of that attention. Minor league franchises don’t have the budgets of the majors but can use their originality to present a refreshing presence in sports.

~b.

CreativeBobbieTV: A Weekly Dose of Design + Branding.

Every Thursday, I am posting a new video in addition to my weekly Tuesday blog. CreativeBobbieTV will teach lessons learned through my design work as well as show some behind the scenes / works-in-progress. In the future, there will be tutorials and case studies for those who want to know more about what I do and how it can help them.

This is another idea I’ve had for awhile and have finally delved into. I’ve written about the importance of video in the past. This is me entering that space on a regular and (hopefully) long-term basis.

There have been 3 episodes released thus far so make sure you subscribe on YouTube and follow me on social media to get notified of new episodes!

So far I’ve covered…

Episode 1: What Is A Logo?

Episode 2: How To Use Your Sketchbook To Discover The Most Excellent Logo

Episode 3: Negative Space: Creativity Through Composition

If you have topic ideas or things you want me to cover (through video or the written blog), e-mail me (creativebobbie [at] gmail) or fill out my contact form.

~b.

Get People To Buy Physical Albums Through Creativity & Design

Last week, I talked about what happens when music artists invest in their brand. Like any other industry, investing in your brand increases your chances of success. To many people, album sales is a measure of success. How receptive your audience is in your latest project and their willingness to pay for pleasure of the listen will depend on how interested/invested they are in your brand. They buy the brand. The brand is you and each project is an extension of that.

Each project should provide an immersive, worthwhile experience for your audience. The overall experience is key. Particularly in this day and age, fewer people than ever actually buy the physical album release. So, for those of you still wanting to give people something tangible to purchase and enjoy, you had better make it worth it.

It starts with the music, of course. You should always strive to craft a quality product. For me personally, some of my favorite albums of all-time have been concept albums. Albums that tell a cohesive, compelling story tend to stand the test of time and make a great impact. I’ve always preferred these kind of albums over just a collection of random singles.

Some album/single cover artwork I've done.
Some album/single cover artwork I’ve done.

Now let’s get to my area of expertise – design. Some of the most iconic albums of all-time have some of the most iconic album covers of all-time. Much like in magazine design, the cover is like the “logo” of the project. Your album cover will be the thumbnail on iTunes/Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc. Your album cover will be the first thing people notice in stores. It is usually used to first announce the upcoming project. Great album cover designs reflect the message(s), theme(s), mood(s) of the overall project. Album cover designs can end up being the nucleus of whole campaigns, which include your visual identity on social media and collateral material.

But it’s not just the album cover you should invest in. The cover is just the beginning of how you will package your album. Packaging design involves the entire physical experience – the look AND the feel. How you package your work matters. The package adds to the overall experience and aids in the creation of lasting memories. Investing in the physical experience provides the ultimate payoff for your fans (and soon-to-be fans) who bought your album. This takes everything about the project to a new level. There is a reason why some people are willing to buy collector’s or limited editions.

childish
“Because The Internet” album packaging by Childish Gambino, which was equipped with a holographic front and foldout artwork.

In those collector’s and limited editions, many times other physical products and apparel are offered. Supplemental products and apparel can include hats, shirts, artwork/posters, and more. Offering all of this elevates your entire project while giving your supporters materials they can use to show others they are your ambassadors, your advocates. Well designed apparel can be conversation starters as well as beacons that draw fans to other fans.

If you are going on a tour to support your latest project, you can incorporate visual elements from your album cover and packaging in your stage presentation. Have the supplemental products and apparel for sale at each stop. All of this gives your fans a richer experience and brings them into the ecosystem of your brand. Apple would still be great if it were just the company that made the Macbook. But Apple has a family of products that work together within their ecosystem and create an allure that attracts people that want to be a part of that experience. It’s the experience that people remember. It’s the experience people want to be a part of. It’s the experience, if positive and impactful, that will create the brand equity and trust to keep them coming back for more.

~b.

What Happens When Music Artists Invest In Their Brand

“You know my first week looking crazy due to high demand
Cause people don’t buy music in this day and age
They buy the brand” – Logic, “44 Bars”

Branding is important in every market known to mankind. The product you produce, the story you tell, and the human (or humans) behind it all make up what is known as the brand. The more people you attract to the experience of you, the more successful you will be. People will support what (and who) they believe in.

The sheer amount of music available makes it increasingly important for music artists to understand how to stand out and rise above. You have to make sure you are projecting your authentic self, which will attract those meant to hear your message. Assembling a fan base is crucial to your long-lasting success. Having a dedicated fanbase means having ambassadors that will share your music and message with others.

You can mobilize a fan base. However, before any of this can take place, you have know who you are and how you want to present yourself. You need to have a signature – a particular look, feel, personality. We need to know and recognize your work.

rollingstones

The Rolling Stones logo ranks as the number 1 music artist logo according to Complex. See how many of the Top 25 are from artists that are well-known all over the world. (SPOILER ALERT: Pretty much all of them)

A personal logo can act as your stamp you can put on your album covers, T-shirts, social media, etc. Having a visual brand identity gives you the equipment to cultivate a consistent and accurate message. Great visuals permeating throughout your projects, merchandise, and website give you a cohesive vision to broadcast to consumers, potential sponsors & partners, and record companies. You can even apply brand identities to each project you release. Big Sean, for example, recently released two new singles (“No More Interviews” and “Bounce Back”) and each was accompanied with apparel you could buy. He even adjusted all of his social media to reflect the release of these songs.

Thinking more about your overall branding gives you an opportunity to extend your influence beyond your music while simultaneously drawing new people to your music. You can have the greatest songs in the history of music but, if no one knows about it, you’ll get nowhere. Have an interesting visual style, produce quality branded content, and have an overall game plan on how you want to manage your image and work.

~b.

Case Study: 2017 National Convention Visual Brand Identity

Every two years, the brothers of Kappa Kappa Psi and the sisters of Tau Beta Sigma come together as national delegations to meet, fellowship, and direct the future of the organizations. Each event has its own identity. It’s one of my responsibilities as Publications Manager to create and present that identity visually. With the 2017 National Convention of Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma to be in Orlando, Florida, I am excited to craft the visual story of this event.

natcon17

The Origin

The host hotel will be the Buena Vista Palace, which is a Disney World Resort Hotel. When I think of Disney World, I immediately think of the iconic Magic Kingdom. So, I knew I wanted to do something with “magic”. The theme/tagline I came up with was “Celebrate the Magic of Music”. This was used at the end of the location reveal video I made that was played during the 2015 National Convention final joint session.

www.facebook.com/kkytbsnatcon/videos/573321606142082/

The Execution

I had the goal of combining the magic of the locale with Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma’s love of band & music. The magician’s hat has 5 curves that leave 4 spaces just as 5 lines leave 4 spaces on a musical staff. The traditional magic wand is replaced with the conductor’s baton, representing leadership in music. The stars surrounding everything add to the overall magic effect. The greek letter version, which will be on the back of the convention shirt, is placed upon a shape that resembles the “Welcome To Orlando” sign. As it was with the 2015 National Convention logo, I wanted it to capture the essence of the place as well as the event itself.

screenshot-2016-11-01-15-47-56

The National Intercollegiate Band (NIB) logo is pretty consistent from convention to convention, with only slight changes that reflect the identity of that year’s convention. So, for the 2017 NIB logo, I simply took some of the stars from the main logos and put them over the ‘I’.

screenshot-2016-11-01-15-57-48

The Presentation

Continuing the tradition I started with my first convention branding project, I put together an official visual brand development presentation for the national leadership of each organization. It breaks down my design decisions and hidden meaning behind certain elements. The document also has mockups for suggested designs for attendee shirts and National Intercollegiate Band participant polos. It gives them the overall concept well in advance so we can all be on the same page visually. This will inform the creation of future event collateral and promotional graphics.

screenshot-2016-11-01-15-49-25

It is not enough to design. You must know how the designs should be applied and be able to explain and justify your decisions with the overall project goal(s) in mind.

~b.

What Should A Magazine Cover Do?

As the National Publications Manager at Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma National Headquarters, The Podium falls within my purview. Twice a year (Fall and Spring), we send this national publication to chapters and alumni across the nation. When they receive and open their package, the first thing they will see is the cover. The design of the cover is important to the overall presentation of the magazine. There is a reason why getting on the cover of certain publications is considered a big deal in the entertainment industry. The cover image is in many ways the “logo” of that particular issue. It is a condensed representation of that publication’s brand and that issue. It is worth investing serious effort.

Continue reading “What Should A Magazine Cover Do?”

How To Create An Appealing Themed Social Media Campaign

When putting together content for your brand’s social media accounts, you’ll want to establish a unique way of telling your story. When people see your content, they need to be overcome with the desire to share. The people following you need to be informed, entertained, and/or educated by the content you produce. However, nothing of substance can be produced without proper preparation.

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When You See The Charlotte Hornets Logo Pyramid You May Want To Create One

With the dark days of the Charlotte Bobcats behind them, the NBA franchise in Charlotte, North Carolina (my home state) returned to being called the Charlotte Hornets in 2014. The franchise, along with the NBA and Jordan Brand, created a new brand identity for the Hornets. Within that identity, they created a new logo system pyramid.

Continue reading “When You See The Charlotte Hornets Logo Pyramid You May Want To Create One”

What Happens When You Create Awesome Brand Ambassadors

What is a Brand Ambassador?

A brand ambassador is someone who, through their words and actions, is a living testimony to the greatness of your brand. They are your allies in the world. Whether they are on your payroll or are just satisfied patrons, they are crucial in spreading the good word about what your brand does.

Continue reading “What Happens When You Create Awesome Brand Ambassadors”