It’s hard to know how to market a team in a state of constant flux. For the Tigers, who are rebuilding, many of the core “star” players on the team were in play as trade chips throughout the offseason, meaning when it came time to design season tickets, they didn’t necessarily want to rely on using players for all of the layouts.
The team turned to designer Todd Radom — who previously designed the Angels new logo, the World Baseball Classic logo, several All-Star Game logos, and the logo commemorating Old Tiger Stadium — and asked for his help creating the 2018 season tickets.
Radom was kind enough to give us a little insight into the process of designing the new tickets.
We asked Radom how much direction the Tigers gave him as far as design went.
“The club gave me a pretty broad mandate: celebrate the 1968 team and the season that’s still so special to so many Tigers fans. The Tigers have a very deep archive of photos as well as objects such as game programs and scrapbooks, so that really dictated the content. The specifics lined up nicely across 81 games once we started to think about how to fill it all out. I worked with Ron Wade, the Tigers’ Director of Marketing, a great guy with a great appreciation for visual art—he had a pretty good feel for where to take it, right out of the chute.”
The tickets, which all feature iconic Tigers players or vintage images, certainly have a keepsake quality to them. I asked Radom if he thought promotional materials these days lacked the brightness and fun of these designs.
There’s a ton of sports design out there that’s super aggressive and overly serious. The 1968 team served as a unifying force for a community that faced some very difficult challenges. 1968 was a time of sometimes painful societal change and often violent upheaval. Imparting a sense of joy and optimism made a lot of sense. The graphics of the time had so much character, some of which was no doubt weird, but it was great to have something with a lot of character to sink my teeth in to.
Seen above, the tickets are all unique, but manage to maintain a consistent feel as well. I asked Radom what his primary inspiration was.
Job One was coming up with a “frame” for all of the tickets that would deliver the necessary information with ease—date, opponent, seat information. Since the art was going to be varied and colorful it was important to address this part in neutral fashion—not a lot of color, clean fonts, etc. I created a custom “live” font that duplicates the letterforms for player names and numbers from the Tigers’ jerseys. After that it was all about laying down a 1968-looking vibe; embracing the look of the era including letterforms and colors, and looking to the culture of the time and place to really lend authenticity and flavor to the whole thing.
And of course, I had to ask which one was his favorite of the bunch. “I knew right from the beginning that I wanted to create a few illustrations in vintage style, so I’d have to say that the psychedelic Bill Freehan and the pop art Willie Horton are right up there,” he said.
Radom also offered some deeper context for the meaning behind the tickets, and the importance of the 1968 team in Detroit’s history.
I’m not from Detroit, but I was able to attend a couple of games at Tiger Stadium back in the day (I also created the final season logo that was worn as a sleeve patch back in 1999.) I’m also a student of history, so I had a pretty good sense of what the 1968 club meant to the city and to the fan base. This was a terrific project, so much fun—the club really wanted to do something special to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this special team, and I hope that Tiger fans are happy with the results.
We certainly can’t speak for all Tigers fans, but we at Bless You Boys were certainly wowed by Radom’s incredible work.
In addition to his design work, Radom has also released a book chronicling the best of the worst uniforms in major league history, called Winning Ugly: A Visual History of the Most Bizarre Baseball Uniforms Ever Worn.