College baseball uniforms and Major League Baseball uniforms actually have more in common than you realize. Many times, schools and their identities are tied to how the football team (or basketball team) looks and not the baseball team. Football is marketable, it's more popular, it's the breadwinner. Especially down here in the glorious Southeast.
That's why it's not uncommon for college baseball uniform designs to be an afterthought. Outside of a few unique "baseball-only" logos (such as South Carolina's "Interlock SC", Clemson's "Swoop C", and Arkansas's "Gothic A" to name a few) most schools don't have any marks or branding that differentiate baseball from all of their other major sports. However, that may be design and not by default. Keeping everything neat and tidy under one marketing umbrella.
As for unique college baseball uniforms? That's very uncommon. In fact, most schools seem to just borrow design elements from a handful of MLB clubs and call it a day: Missouri uses a modified "Miami Marlins" font; Alabama uses the old "Blue Jays" lettering, and Vanderbilt modifies the "Birds on Bat" logo from the St. Louis Cardinals (replacing the birds with stars). Just to name a few.
That got me thinking. Could Auburn follow that same strategy? What would it look like if Auburn designed its uniforms based off of any of the 30 MLB clubs? And lo, a time killing, creatively fueling, and ultimately rewarding project was born. I took out my notebook and started to draft my ground rules.
- All 30 MLB clubs will be represented.
- Only Photoshop allowed. (Mainly because I'm better in Photoshop and suck at Illustrator)
- It does not have to be the current MLB Uniform. Historical is okay.
- Colors have to follow this basic rule: Light Color becomes Orange; Dark Color becomes Blue.
- Exceptions can be made if uniform is black, road gray, or powder blue aways. However, that will only affect the uniform color and not logo colors.
- Emulate the uniforms as closely as aesthetically possible.
- Avoid existing Auburn logos if at all possible. This will make each uniform unique and identify a "baseball brand". (This rule was fudged later, but you'll see that for yourself).
- Create at least one uniform, one script, and one cap logo for each MLB club.
- All elements (fonts, logo designs, templates, etc) must be designed from open-sourced materials. Keep the project at no-cost.
- Enjoy and share.
Based off of their current alternate uniforms. I tried to keep the signature solid color (bright orange), the script with the tail and modified an old Aubie logo I ran across to mimic the Orioles's own "Smiling Bird" logo. The cap colors stay the same with the white front panel which lets the logo pop a little better and not require an outline. The script was a modified "Team Spirit" font with the tail added from the BrannBoll font family.
Boston Red Sox
Probably one of the simpler designs to pull off. The Orange piping of the home uniforms is unique to the rest in the MLB/AU Set. The bigger debate was whether or not the front lettering should be Orange or Blue but since the Red Sox use Red, then obviously, the red had to become orange for this project. I took a bit of time trying to settle on the right western style font before ultimately choosing IFC Railroad.
New York Yankees
It's pretty easy for the Yankees's uniforms to look timeless. They are classic. They are clean, uncluttered, and Auburn emulated them during the 2004 Season. The road font is MLB Block and the AU Logo is a modification of the normal "Interlock AU" with a slight warp.
Tampa Bay Rays
Now things start to get a bit crazy. Instead of doing the current Tampa Bay Rays uniforms (because the starburst would just look out of place), I decided to have a little fun and hark back to the original Devil Rays design that used a hideous gradient. These are the 1999 black alternates. The eagle logo is actually the pride sticker used during the Doug Barfield football era.
Toronto Blue Jays
This one was pretty fun. Based off the 1994 alternate uniforms, the unique font is easily recognizable as "TORONTO" and the logo is a re-purposing of the Tigers Unlimited logo.
Another clean and classic and seemingly unchanged design. The "A" is Iglesia font and the script is BrannBoll. Following the Detroit lead, the cap logo is orange for the road cap and white for the home cap.
Chicago White Sox
Okay, here's where we start to get a little crazy. The current White Sox logo with the interlocking and downward cascading S-o-x just wouldn't translate well for Auburn. So I went back a bit and recreated the look of the '82 Southsiders. I know some folks are partial to the Brewers's "ball-and-glove" logo as their favorite retro baseball logo, but I'm kind of partial to the "Baseball-Man" logo that the pale hose used. It's also no stranger to college baseball. Florida Atlantic (back when the baseball team was known as the Blue Wave) used it fantastically.
Kansas City Royals
This one holds a special place in my heart (being a Royals fan). The only reason it is the 2008 alternate is because the current powder blue alternate uses a white typeface and I just thought the navy blue looked better aesthetically. The script is "Contribute" with another BrannBoll flair attached.
This one gets a little tougher. Obviously, the Cleveland Indians and "Chief Wahoo" wouldn't translate well to an Auburn logo. Thankfully, I was able to go with the simple and clean design and the almost neo-retro current Indians home look. With the dark cream and the simple orange. The wordmark and cap logo are both "Vincent" font.
This was a fun concept, but admittedly, I cheated a bit. Originally when I posted it on twitter, I got a little bit of negative feedback on the cap logo (an interlocking AU meant to resemble the TC interlock the twins used). So I decided to go back and use the normal Twins "M" logo, even though it wasn't used with this alternate. The wordmark uses the existing Twins's "T" and swoosh and filled in the rest with "Merit" font.
Love them or hate them, when I was doing an Astros inspired concept, I had to go with the classic "Tequila Sunrise". I did break my own rule by using an existing Auburn logo to balance out the front (and to keep the same position where Houston put a star). This same motif has been used in college baseball before at South Alabama, Virginia Tech, and others.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
This was on of the tougher concepts to create. I wanted to invoke the same imagery the Angels use with their "A" logo, a letter that is supposed to remind you of a piece of iconic architecture. In Anaheim's case, it's the "Big A" outside the stadium. For Auburn, I needed that same feeling, so I decided to make a Samford Hall/ "A" mashup from scratch. The font is MLB Angels from Eriq Jaffe.
I decided to go retro again and emulate the 1972 uniform sets. The A isn't exactly spot on (in fact, it looks more like Auburn High School) but it's actually closer to the "A" that they currently use (they just didn't use it in 1972).
The Ranger posed another unique problem. I needed the same western style font (like the Red Sox used) and one that was closer to the Rangers's wordmark. It's pretty hard since the typeface is unique to the ballclub in Arlington and features some curves (most noticeable inside the T). I ultimately decided on IFC Insane Rodeo. Granted, I could have just re-used the existing "T" in Texas, but I decided to start from fresh and hope that the double stroke and heavy drop shadow would pull off the homage well enough.
The Mariners concept brought up an issue I was facing with a lot of these concepts: What made the actual team logo unique were the colors (in Seattle's case, the sea green that dominates the home uniforms). The compass rose that the Mariners's use wouldn't translate well. So instead, I had to find something else about the team's identity that could stand out, be emulated and still be unique for Auburn. In Seattle's instance, I needed a thin, sharply seriffed font. I've seen it listed as "Triforce Font" some places, but thankfully Eriq Jaffe's MLB SEATTLE font worked just fine. I went with the 1998 road uniforms to let is stand out from the rest of the set (because no one else had road grays and sleeves).
Another unique challenge. How can you say "Braves" without the tomahawk? Answer: you cheat. Instead of using the current uniforms, I went back to 1978 and went fully retro. The Braves's old "Indian Feathers" could still be used and just now redubbed "War Eagle Feathers". The font is "Pacifico"
The Marlins new redesign is, in a word, gaudy. In fact, the Miami "M" is just an upside down "W". Still, I needed a sharp art deco font and Telegrafico did the trick. As for the rendering with the bevels and shadows? I stumbled across an easy tutorial from Fish@Bat. Although, I did have to lose a tertiary color because the "A" has only 3 side and the "M" had 4.
The only challenge with the Mets concept was how to differentiate from the others in the set. I suppose blue pinstripes and script lettering would have worked, but I wanted something better to make it stand out, so I went with the black alternate uniforms. The script is Kavaler Kursive and the cap logo is MLB Tuscan. I also thought about shortening Auburn to AUBS (to make it look more like METS) but ultimately decided against it.
This script was probably one of the toughest to try and recreate. Most script fonts will lean to the right (like handwriting normally does) but the Phillies' font stands straight up and down. I couldn't get it exactly right, but I used Lobster for the A and Pacifico for the rest of the wording. The only reason I didn't use Lobster for the entire thing is because of the sharpness (and I was trying to keep the Phillies' round pill-shaped font)
Another example of where the current uniform just wasn't unique enough, so I had to go back in time a bit. For the Nats, I went to the 2005 Home uniforms and lettered it in the same style (Big A arch middle Big N). The numbers are the same unique beveled numbers that were a Nats's signature.
Another slight cheat. The normal Cubs home uniform and distinctive logo didn't translate well for an Auburn design. I needed something unique that would make this design stand out from the rest in the set. That's were the 1978 Road Uniform helped. The distinctive white pinstripes on powder blue set it apart from the others. The wordmark is "Sports Jersey".
Honestly, this one is probably my least favorite of the groups. It's hard to modify the Reds's signature "Wishbone C" into an "A" for Auburn. I tried a little but by just completely closing the loop, but it really just comes off as an oddly shaped and warped horseshoe. I went with the 2003 home uniform to make it the only design in the set with orange pinstripes AND sleeves.
This one was easy. To a point. Ignore all the hideous redesigns the Brew Crew have gone through (including the time they decided to add hunter green into the mix). The Brewers look best in the classic "Ball-In-Glove" logo. I used Merit font to create the AU at the top.
Sadly, this design wasn't my first choice. I wanted to try and replicate the "Pill Box Hat" design from the '70s but couldn't find a good template. I also toyed with the idea of recreating the "Turn Ahead the Clock" uniform design. In the end, I decided to keep it classic design from 2008. The font is MLB PIRATES.
St. Louis Cardinals
The classic "Bird on Bat" logo is modified to just a single eagle. I also went with the Sunday home uniforms to cheat a bit and not have to try and warp the StL logo into some sort of AU hodgepodge.
The current D-Backs look works better for the team. It doesn't really work for an Auburn redesign. The 1999 home uniforms? Perfect. Cream and pinstripes? Custom font (MLB DIAMONDBACKS)? Modified logo? All perfect. Plus, it gets rid of the 1999 D-Back color scheme of purple and teal.
Let's face it: The Rockies' uniforms are boring. I understand the "Purple Mountain Majesty" in the color scheme, but it just seems odd. However, they do have a unique look with their alternate uniforms. The shoulder piping and gray numbers are replicated, along with the overstroked font (in this case Liberation Serif).
Los Angeles Dodgers
For this one, I had to modify the existing Dodgers script (keeping the "gers") and adding the "Ti" in "Ballpark Wiener". The unique separate color front number scheme remains as well.
San Diego Padres
Oh, how I wanted to do a camouflage uniform here. Thankfully, the Padres had another unique design in their 1984 home uniforms. The "Big Poppa" font comes close to replicating that groovy style (the "R" is different), but it's still a nice neo-retro design.
San Francisco Giants
In doing this project, I did discover some oddities in the MLB uniforms. One oddity is the fact that both the Giants' and Pirates' fonts are essentially the same. I went with the 2001 alternates to replicate the "color on color" look that is popular now and to differentiate it from the Angels' uniform (which is orange).
30 Clubs. 30 Designs. Enjoy. Share. Comment. Be sure to drop me a line on Twitter (@AUPPL) or by email: email@example.com