Instant Interview: Dan Simon (of Studio Simon) on Winter Meetings Logos

Prior to the Winter Meetings, I made it be known that I would be willing to conduct an “instant interview” with any attendee interested in doing one. A whopping two people ended up taking me up on it, the first of whom shall be featured today: Dan Simon.

While you may not recognize his name, Simon’s work is familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in Minor League Baseball. He’s the man behind Studio Simon, the Louisville-based design firm responsible for dozens of logos throughout the MiLB landscape (including recent efforts such as the Erie SeaWolves and Aberdeen IronBirds.) He’s also the man behind this, the official logo of the Winter Meetings themselves:

meetingslogo

In this brief Q and A, Dan sheds a little light on the history of the Winter Meetings logo and the philosophies and strategies that guide the process.

Ben’s Biz (aka: “The Guy Typing This”): How long have you been designing the Winter Meetings logo?

Dan Simon: The first one was 2003, New Orleans. The reason for it was because Brian Earle, who at the time was director of licensing for Minor League Baseball, saw that [offseason] events like the NFL Draft and, later, the Combine, were now branded. Similarly, Brian wanted to brand the Winter Meetings as what they are: one of the biggest, if not the biggest, offseason events in all of sports.

And it wasn’t just about what the Winter Meetings were, but what they should be. We certainly can’t take all of the credit for it, but the growth of the Meetings to where they are today started to happen when they were branded as an important event. That was Brian’s vision, and that was the result.

Ben’s Biz: So what are the key elements of a good Winter Meetings logo?

Dan Simon: I had already done two Super Bowl logos —  XXXVI in New Orleans and XXXVII in San Diego. Both of those events were branded to be city-specific and we wanted to brand the Winter Meetings similarly. People are coming from all over the United States, to this one place, and we wanted the identity to reflect the destination. The first one we did, in New Orleans, had a jazz musician in it. 2004, in Anaheim, represented southern California’s car culture and Dallas 2005 had steer horns and barbed wire.

In the future, maybe we won’t be site specific. We’ve already done two in Orlando [site of the 2013 Meetings], so maybe we’ve already covered the appropriate visual references…Now we may be looking to do a logo that is more about baseball and the Winter Meetings than it is the destination. I don’t know if we’ll necessarily go that way, but it’s something that we’ve discussed.

And then, in 2006: Orlando's citrus groves

Orlando 2006: citrus groves

2010

Orlando 2010: What a croc

Ben’s Biz: What was the thought process behind this year’s logo?

Dan Simon: Nashville is the Music City, of course, and 2007’s logo had a music theme as well….There are other things about Nashville, but that’s what people really know about it and so we wanted to re-visit that theme.

There’s also the Trade Show and Job Fair. Those are secondary logos, the children of the Winter Meetings logo, which is the main logo. They’re not meant to look exactly alike, but the Trade Show and Job Fair should look like they were born out of the primary Winter Meetings logo. We used a record-containing shape for the Trade Show and a guitar pick for the Job Fair, so it’s all music related. But it all starts with the jukebox.

The primary logo and its two “children”:

bwm_web_header_bam_635x200

bts

12_jf_web_header_635X159

Thanks, Dan, for taking the time to speak with me. If you’d like to share something related to your experiences within the world of Minor League Baseball, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. (Seriously — if you hesitate I will be offended.)

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

3 Comments

Please, Ben, as a graphic designer, I beg of you…do a full interview with Dan! I’d love to hear more from him and about his journey as a designer and how he broke into doing sports logos, etc.

I’d be happy to, so long as the public demands it! Dan’s an interesting and engaging guy, very thoughtful about his work.

The public (me) is demanding it! Thank you sir!

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