The Nashville Sounds unveiled new logos and uniforms late Wednesday morning, in the hope that they will strike a chord with the fan base.
The new logos pay homage to Nashville's status as the Music City, a legacy that also inspired the Sounds moniker when the team was first established in 1978. The Pacific Coast League franchise, now the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, will be playing in brand-new First Tennessee Ballpark in 2015 after spending the previous 36 seasons in Greer Stadium.
The Sounds' logo set, designed by San Diego-based Brandiose, is highlighted by a primary logo depicting a red stylized "N" overlaid atop a guitar pick. Embedded as the cross in the "N" is an F-hole guitar opening, which is found in many acoustic guitars as a means to amplify the sound.
"Once we knew that we would be collaborating with the Sounds, we hopped on a plane to Nashville and immersed ourselves in the community," said Brandiose co-founder Jason Klein. "We went to Robert's Western World [Honkytonk] and ate at Hattie B's Hot Chicken. ... What we found about Nashville is that the people are really proud to be from there. We wanted to create something that was an icon for the city as much as it was an icon for the Sounds."
The primary logo was first unveiled in October, featuring a new orange-and-black color scheme. Three months later, that color combination has been revised due to the team's desire to be in tune with its fanbase.
"We heard loud and clear the strong feedback of our fans after our new logo was unveiled last fall," said Sounds owner Frank Ward, a New York City-based real estate developer. "We have made the decision to return to our traditional red-and-black color scheme to accompany the new Nashville-styled logos."
Also sure to receive feedback is the Sounds' guitar logo, which specifically references the team's iconic guitar-shaped scoreboard. This scoreboard had been one of the most distinguishing features of Greer Stadium, and a new version is being installed at First Tennessee Park. This logo will be used as a sleeve emblem and will also be featured on an alternate cap. A third logo, which will also be featured on an alternate cap, overlays the letters "MC" (for "Music City") above the same guitar pick used in the primary logo.
Brandiose has made a name for itself over the years with attention-grabbing, often defiantly cartoonish Minor League rebrandings (recent examples include the El Paso Chihuahuas, Akron RubberDucks and Biloxi Shuckers). However, Klein feels that their work with the Nashville Sounds is of an entirely different piece.
"I think people have gotten the idea that [company co-founder] Casey [White] and I go in to places and get messy with the paint bucket, coming up with wild and crazy names and being irreverent," he said. "But it depends on the vision of the club. I think that this is something that feels classic and Major League, yet still has its own unique story to tell."
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.