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When a team comes out with a new uniform or identity design, we all say things like, "They did a nice job with that," or "I don't like what they did there." But who exactly are "they"? Who are the actual people creating the imagery we see on the field?
Often, it's Todd Radom, a graphic designer who's emerged as one of the sports world's foremost logo and uniform designers. Those new Washington Nationals uniforms are his work, and so are the current Angels unis. He's also created the looks for the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones and the mid-1990s Milwaukee Brewers, as well as a slew of jersey patches, including the logos for Super Bowl XXXVIII, the 2003 World Series, the American League's 100th anniversary, the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut, and the patches being worn this year by the Twins and Cardinals.
Radom toils in an odd sort of anonymity. Millions of fans are intimately familiar with his work, often to the point where they may feel an intense emotional connection with his designs. But except for a small cadre of hard-core nerds, most fans have never heard of him. If a flashy-looking team of high-priced athletes presents a spectacle akin to the Wizard of Oz, then Radom is the man behind the curtain.
Whatever you think of Radom's work (Uni Watch loves his Angels design and most of his patches but, truth be told, never liked his Brewers design and has mixed feelings about the Nationals), you've got to respect his background. In an era when more and more decisions regarding sports are made by uptight corporate marketing types and battalions of attorneys, Radom is at the other end of the cultural spectrum. A lifelong sports fan who doodled logos on his scorecard as a kid and did a baseball-themed senior project for his art school thesis, he still gets tingly about how lucky he is to work in the sports world. Plus he's a serious historian of sports aesthetics, with a massive database of vintage graphics and enough esoteric uniform and logo knowledge to run rings around Uni Watch.
Radom is also a swell guy, as Uni Watch discovered during a recent visit to his Hudson Valley studio. Dressed in a Red Sox sweatshirt and jeans, he was just another fan, except he gets to determine what the rest of us fans see when we watch a game. Unfortunately, he couldn't divulge the finer points of how some of his designs were developed, because one of his clients is rather paranoid about that kinda thing (hint: rhymes with "Major League Baseball"), but you can learn more about how he became a uni designer, and what he thinks about the current state of the genre, by checking out the full transcript of our interview, which is available here.
Something Up Their Sleeve
Uni Watch wrote last week about how teams that formerly had the Russell Athletic "R" logo on their left sleeves are now wearing the Majestic "M" instead. What Uni Watch didn't realize until Opening Day, however, is that teams wearing vests are now wearing the Majestic logo shoulders.
It is impossible to overstate how insidious this is, or how ridiculous it looks. And remember, this is not a fait accompli or one of those sad but inevitable aspects of modern sports if the Yankees can keep their sleeves logo-free, so can everyone else. It's time to stop this fungus before it spreads any further: E-mail your local GM and tell him the only logo you want to see on your team's uni is the team's logo. Demand an end to the menace of sportswear manufacturer logo creep!