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Review of the San Diego Padres New Logos

So the uniforms have been released and everybody is oohing and aahing, but I think the logos have been somewhat ignored even though these are the changes that have made me most (and least) happy.

Let's start with the new primary logo:


The new primary logo is a modification of last year's secondary logo and also borrows the circle border concept that was used in just about everything that the Padres did in the 90's. I've always liked the SD interlocking. The fact that the S and D interlock to make a little P in the middle of the logo doesn't look quite intentional, but is still a nice touch that justifies the "Yet Another Interlocking Letters Logo" beyond the jumble that I see in the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees logos.

(Not to say that those logos aren't perfectly fine, Dodger Fan. It's a subjective judgement. What? I'm not allowed to have subjective commentary on my blog? Why? Oh because True Blue LA only deals in "facts"? OK, just don't yell at me again. No seriously. Please. Go enjoy Downtown LA. I insist. Skid row is just right over there.)

Personally, I like this logo the best. I like the interlocking SD. I love the addition of "baseball club". This makes for a great patch or t-shirt and just looks nice and clean to me. I've always been a fan of the "half-serif". It's a very nice improvement over just the block version of this logo.

Onto the new (old?) secondary logo:


I am so torn by this logo. It would be my favorite, except that just a few touches nag at me.

If you had to break the Padres up into two different eras, there would be the Kroc years and then an extended period of unspoken embarrassment over ever having been associated with the Kroc family. That's not a criticism of the current ownership group, who I think, has made baby steps towards acknowledging that the team actually existed in the 1970's and 1980's (outside of 1984). Just overall, everybody seems kinda weirded out by Ray Kroc. Every ownership group, including Joan Kroc, has subsequently fed into the idea that brown and yellow is ugly and that the original branding was somehow off. It's a McDonald's uniform. Cartoon friars are for kids and baseball is for grown-ups (like manly Dodger Fans). The words "classic baseball" and "1970's" have no business being in the same sentence.

This embarrassment seemed to be the case with the "fixed" Swingin' Friar, introduced in 1996. Gone are the goofy eyes and scribbled look. The awkward smile was left for a more confident, polished Swingin' Friar, that seems to say, "Yes. I did intend for my hair to be cut this way."

So on the one hand, I love the return to the 1969 Friar. The original looks so happy and haphazard. It just feels like Schoolhouse Rock or the cover of a Beach Boys album or classic Hanna-Barbera. The "fixes" that they had made to the Friar in 1996 (specifically around the face and head) all seemed to be made in the spirit of, "Nobody's going to take us seriously if this dude looks so goofy". That thinking, to me, is the lack of self-confidence that the Padres have always had.

On the other hand, the fixes to this one again feel a little off. For one thing, the original 1969 logo was two-tone in brown and yellow. The new one done in a single blue reminds me of a carbon copy. Notice the yellow circle in the original:


It makes the logo so breezy as less "stamped". Also, notice that the Padres script on the bat has been changed to the new script, which I really dislike. The new script feels glaring. It's like New Coke or something.

Can you guess what the two most popular items are at McDonald's? French fries and the Big Mac (coincidentally introduced to McDonald's nationwide in 1969). Both items have remained essentially the same for years.

Why do I make that comparison? Just to demonstrate the point that when you get it right the first time, it's best to leave it be.

I wish they had made the effort to introduce a second color as the circle (sand maybe?) and that they had just left the bat script untouched. I get the idea that we want to keep the number of fonts being used to a minimum, but in this case, why tarnish the classic logo with the new font? It just nags to me like a constant reminder, "Yeah this is cool, but it used to look cooler."

It's like what happens when Pet Semetary meets baseball graphic design.

Those are the first two logos introduced last week. I'll tackle the new tertiary logo, a variant of the previous primary in a future post.

Go Padres.