By now, you may have heard, and seen, the name and logo for Wichita's new baseball team: the Wind Surge.
The brand came about after months of work, driven in part by acclaimed sports logo designer Todd Radom. In his decades-long career, Radom has crafted logos for the Los Angeles Angels, the Washington Nationals, the Cleveland Browns, and Super Bowl XXXVIII — but his true passion is baseball.
Radom was in Wichita for the Wind Surge unveiling earlier this month. The day after the big reveal, he sat down with KMUW's Tom Shine to talk about how created the look, and why he isn't bothered by any criticism of the Wind Surge brand.
Tom Shine: Can you walk us through the process that led us to the Wind Surge logo and name, kind of how that started?
Todd Radom: We had a very tight branding team within the organization. You know, we start talking about names. I know that the community had submitted some 3,000-plus names, and it was a range of stuff. And I will say that all of it was taken into account. ... I think that thematically, it was emphasized right from the get-go that this needed to look forward, not look backwards.
And just briefly, the the logo process took place over the course of months and months and months. You start with a with the idea of a logo. We eventually settled on a Pegasus, which is very inspirational, aspirational. Who wouldn't want to, you know, identify with that? We talked about the kind of wings that it would have: Are they fluffy wings. Are they ascendant eagle wings? Are they, all kinds of stuff.
We talked colors. Blue and red are derived from your city's beautiful, beautiful flag. Blue is the color of the sky. It looks great with those two colors, too. And yellow provides a little bit of a burst, a little pop. We looked at sunsets and of course, the color wheat from here. And so the colors made a lot of sense that played out over the course of months and months and months. And then after that, we squeezed the primary logo down. We had headwear, mark, home cap, then you get into uniform. So it was a long process.
In Minor League Baseball, these days, there's seems to be a dividing line between kind of crazy names —Trash Pandas comes to mind, Sod Poodles — and more traditional names. Seems like the Wichita franchise wanted to go to more traditional, is that true?
That is very true. And that's one of the reasons that they brought me on board. The mandate from day one is, listen, this is a regional hub, a powerhouse, biggest city in the state, obviously. The desire was really to come up with sort of a Major League look in a big Minor League city.
You started your design company roughly in the early '90s, well before the advent of social media. What was it like rolling out logos then, as opposed to rolling out logos now?
At that time, launches like this were primarily fashion shows and newspapers covered the events. There was really no possibility of a leak, which we all worry about now. The emphasis on focus groups, I think, was far less than it is now. So a very different thing, to say the least.
And you get instant feedback.
Yes, you get instant feedback. And here it is, our social discourse. What we're witnessing speaks to the fact that I always say sports fans are the most ardent brand loyalists on Earth. We love our logos and uniforms, or we might hate them, but we do care about them.
Talk about the feedback. You surprised by that? Worried by that? Bothered by that?
No. I mean, again, I think ... it kind of hearkens back to me to what I mentioned earlier is that people care. One way or another, they care.
You know, a logo exists in a vacuum until the time that it's activated and brought to life. And when the Wichita Wind Surge take the field of play, April 14, 2020, right here in downtown Wichita, in this beautiful new ballpark, they're going to start to make history. The logo, with the look of the thing, I think people will take it into their hearts and it'll gain a little bit of a different context than it does now.
The name itself, and I've not spent a lot of time with social media cause because I don't, but it seems like people love the logo, love the color scheme, love the uniforms, but are struggling with the name. Were you part of the naming of that, or was it was that more of a group throwing out names together and then coming up with one?
Part of the collaborative effort that I referenced earlier with branding, the naming part was similar. And I was in on those discussions, no question about it.
I think it was important to kind of bear in mind the fact that that this is a place where people have come to do big things and dream big dreams and take to the air. And that is, you know, not every place can say that. So, yeah, I mean, I think, again, the name will settle in. People will live with it. The idea of "go Surge, we are surging," those are all good things.