A brand new Baseball New Zealand cap logo and jersey font are about to be released when the New Zealand U13 All Stars Baseball team appear at this year’s prestigious Cal Ripken World Series in Branson, Missouri as the national body’s open rebranding process reaches the end of its first round of deliverables.
Portland, Oregon-based Brian Gundell and Miami, Florida-based Brandon Moore, both top sports designers, were commissioned by Baseball New Zealand to run an open branding project in September last year, which has been featured online to a global audience by Chris Creamer, who founded and owns Sportslogos.net. The company has followed the progress with the designers’ plans and tracked the evolution of the re-branding campaign in front of tens of thousands of designers and interested parties.
“As designers involved in sports branding, and as design observers, we’ve seen time and again the backlash from fans and other invested parties when a team/organization goes through a rebranding process,” said Gundell via email from the United States, adding, “We felt like the key part of the puzzle that was missing was education, in that so often the general public doesn’t see the back and forth between designer and client and misses out on key conversations that happen behind the scenes.”
The pair believe “that it would beneficial to this project to let the fans see the whole process from start to finish so that they can understand our thinking, see our research, and watch the process unfold first-hand,” added Moore. “In doing so, we hope that their investment in the process will help them be invested in the finished product to a greater degree.”
The pair have been involved in dozens of re-branding projects and Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn believes the group (including Creamer and Baseball New Zealand national coach and Maori tattoo artist and designer Dave Bishop) have provided Baseball New Zealand with the look and feel and image we’ve desired for some time now—and one that we’re ‘growing into,’ Flynn said. “Already the organisation has achieved a lot over the last decade and this project will continue to increase the visibility of the game in New Zealand and project an image we wish to show the country and the world as the game and our standing in the sport expands each year.”
“With merchandise being one of the major focuses of the project,” Flynn added, “it won’t be too long before Baseball New Zealand gear is being worn all over the country, especially as the sport grows in small towns up and down both islands.”
The US-based pair have been assisted right through the process by Bishop, formerly from Porirua (Wellington), a prolific tattoo artist now based on the Gold Coast in Australia, to ensure any Maori facets of their designs are legitimate and in alignment with New Zealand and Maori culture. “From the beginning I thought I would just be making sure the guys handled our art with care, but after our first skype session Brian and Brandon asked for my thoughts on their direction and also how I would design a Maori pattern to fit Baseball New Zealand's design brief,” said Bishop, who added that he “did some sketches for the lads to work off and then we all went away to play with the ideas.
“It has been an awesome experience working with Brian and Brandon, getting to see how they develop their own ideas beginning from thumbnail sketches through to a vectored idea,” said Bishop, who wasn’t concerned by the fact that he was working in conjunction with designers on the other side of the world, saying, “With today’s technology most of what we do is online so emails of files and using Ai to vector and send away was easy,” he added. “The only difficulty was finding the right time of day that suited all three of us with the time zone difference and maybe some internet issues slowing down our skype sessions.”
Bishop’s sentiments are shared by Gundell and Moore, and the pair have been extremely grateful for Bishop’s input. “Dave has been crucial to our success on this project and we’ve looked to him to be our barometer for authenticity, which for us is a critical factor in making this brand work,” said Gundell. “We’d come up with our ideas, send them to Dave, get his take on things, and then make our own adjustments after that, he’s been super helpful and willing to jump in whenever we’ve needed him to…it’s been a great collaboration.”
And when the project is wrapped up, the US-based pair is excited about kitting themselves out with new Baseball New Zealand gear, but might have a difficult time keeping them away from other designers and friends. “Of course we will – we can’t wait to get our hands on some, especially the caps! But many of our friends and peers are telling us they want the merchandise immediately when it’s on sale, too,” added Moore—certainly a sign of a successful campaign for the sport in New Zealand.
Article added: Friday 15 June 2018