277. Minnesota Twins Identity Update.
Dec 20, 2009 at 07:25AM

On of my favorite activities of the Major League Baseball off-season is watching the design alterations made to logos, uniforms and the occasional stadium. The first such change this off-season comes from the Minnesota Twins who are launching all three this coming year, including new open-air digs called Target Field.

According to their site the identity/design changes include:

  1. Inaugural Season Logo – Will be featured on the official commemorative baseballs and bases to be used during all Twins home games as well as on the team’s home uniforms and caps throughout the 2010 season.
  2. Primary Logo – The team will have a new logo incorporating the new “Twins” script and the words “Minnesota Twins Baseball Club”.
  3. 50th Season Logo – Will be displayed on 2010 road jerseys and on the home throwback jersey.
  4. Primary Home Uniform – The “Twins” script has been slightly altered and updated for 2010 and beyond.
  5. Secondary Throwback Uniform – Twins players will wear a circa 1961 throwback uniform on Opening Day as well as every home Saturday during the 2010 season. The uniforms are modeled after the wool version worn during the team's first season in Minnesota.
  6. Primary Road Uniform – Twins players will wear new solid grey road uniforms (no pinstripes) in 2010.

The New Logotype:

The Twins mark is the change in which I'm most interested. The typography of the design has been updated and features a thicker dark blue outter stroke (a bit too thick—I think), while the serifs of the new forms have been reduced in size making the update no longer feel much like a slab serif face. (This is in part due to thick outline.) The drop shadows that were once white and dark blue in that order are now gray, which does help the legibility overall though still unnecessary. I'm not a big fan of the sloping terminals of the lowercase characters even if they mirror the tradition of the past design. This needed further exploration, especially the s. It draws a lot of attention away from the entirety of the word. The incompleteness of the mark is most noticeable when reviewing the T. This is the element that carries the most iconic weight but also feels the most unrefined. The top arm appears shorter and the base not substantial enough to support the form. The new identity is a bit hit and miss all around but even if they took the new version and simply dropped the outline stroke and shadow the identity wouldn't be too bad. (The letterforms w, i, and n still optically blend together however.) I looked around to see if the M alternate logo was changed but could neither confirm or disprove.

The new logotype without outlining and shadow for kicks (better, yes?):

The baseball in the background has been revised as well, the stitching getting much-needed attention this time around. The thin, almost sickly stitching has been replaced by realistic shapes that more accurately depict the baseball seams. This is a good step despite the bottom half of the new stitches feeling slightly off in some way. Not something the average fan would notice, but when compared and contrasted next to each other the difference is quite obvious.

The Old (left) Contrasted with the New Primary Mark (right):

The most notable change is the addition of the words Baseball Club and the addition of the seal. Along with Minnesota the new words are set in a more refined serif face and are placed within a dark blue seal giving the whole identity a more formal look—forgivable given the anniversary, their 50th. I think in the end this an improvement, though the typography could use more polish. I will say that when applied to the jerseys the shortcomings are far less apparent, except for the throwback logotype. (Even if it's accurately portraying a retro design, it is simply hideous typography.) The road gray kits are the most handsome in my mind with a nicely set Minnesota script in dark blue with an outline in a darker red than used elsewhere. The design was inspired by the team’s original “Minnesota” script found on the players jackets from 1961-1986. Nice.

The New Jerseys:

The inaugural season mark is a bit of a mish-mash of the stadium silhouette, twin city skyline,  the TC lock-up, a poorly rendered ribbon and the Target Field logo. I think this would have benefited from some serious simplification and it possibly missed an opportunity with the repetition of circular forms. You have the Target logo, the TC lockup in a circle as well as the zeros in 2010 which could have been balanced in a pleasing manner—but that's just my gut reaction. It could also be argued that the stadium should play a bigger role in the design since that's what it's all about anyway. The anniversary seal is what you'd expect of a team if you closed your eyes and imagined a seal commemorating 50 seasons of Minnesota Twins baseball. It's neither surprising or memorable, it just is.

The New Anniversary and Inaugural Season Patches:

In summary, the combination mark and logotype could have used more finesse, but it's a small step in the right direction. These things tend to go worse in the corporate world but with baseball holding such regard for tradition the redesigns are usually small, calculated steps. I just think the steps taken here were not as confidently or expertly rendered as they could have been. But heck—there's always next off-season to tweak it, right?

More information can be found on the MLB's official site (complete with video of center fielder Denard Span and starting pitcher Scott Baker walking the cat walk) and this fan site, where I found the very top image. I hope some day the actual designers get to be a part of the unveil so the players aren't the only ones answering questions about the design. 

Article originally appeared on Graphicology (http://www.graphicology.com/).
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