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Major Logo Biting


It all began in the year of our Lord, 1968. Jerry Dior of Sandgren & Murtha Marketing created what is arguably the most influential and recognizable logo in American history. The classic Major League Baseball icon. It is the penultimate expression of a game, instantly apparent that the graphic is of a batter ready to smash the ball in front of him in to the upper deck. Dior probably had no inkling of how many people the world over would revere his creation. And of course with followers come imitators.


Within one short year, perhaps with only the best of intentions, a slimy, writhing, newborn logo was begat in the image of the MLB graphic. It was the National Basketball Association (NBA). Granted, that logo (seen on left) badly needs an update - those short shorts really highlight your hips, West! Yet another easily distinguishable icon was irreversably thrust upon the world stage that would continue a horrifying trend. Some may call it "adopting a model," but what it really provides is a simplistic, non-thinking application of the same look to every related icon in it's wake. Hm... I wonder where we have seen that before. That kind of goose-step, parasitic reliance upon a type of upotian society... Oh yeah, Nazi Germany!


What those designers created was a trend that has surpassed almost any other logo treatment ever seen by human beings. The design was so good, that most large sports organization followed suit. Women's National Basketball Association, American Hockey League, National Lacrosse League, Indy Racing League, and Major League Gaming used this icon style for their leagues or groups. Even the Major Legaue Eating association plagiarized the popular look. Thank the Gods that the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) had some principles and stayed with their own unique looks. Although I am sure they were pressured at some point to homogenize all the branding of the main US leagues. C'mon, NFL, it's so easy! Everybody's doin' it.

While the disturbing trend continues among many so-called professional organizations, the abuse amongst smaller groups is as rampant as a New England clergy. Every time I see some new cluster of like-minded cretins, they have some lame variation of the MLB style logo emblazoned on their clothes to let the world know they are participating in something and don't have enough intelligence to create a unique logo.

Yeah we get it! The MLB logo type is so good looking and simple, it can be copied so easily. You don't even have to put forth an iota of thought process to impress your peers in the *insert-funny-cliché-name* group. What these denizens of trend fail to realize is that they encourage people to be part of the herd. Not to mention taking away work from real designers. And it is a full-on, 100,000 mile guarantee that none of these copycat logos were created by a professional designer. Perhaps someone who thinks of themselves as a designer, sure, but once they realize their life direction is in a rotten, disease-ridden, filthy and corpse-strewn gutter, hopefully they will have a career-changing epiphany.

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Who, since 1969, could have claimed that this is original art in the loosest sense of the word? On one hand, I am sure Jerry Dior enjoys the adoration and imitation of his logo, but I would also hope as a designer that part of him would be angry that people cannot seem to create their own ideas. On the one side of the coin you are seen as a God amongst designers, and on the flip side your style has been copied more than a Xerox® machine in the State Department. When larger and more "official" organizations use the style it seems like a good idea on the surface.

But then again, you have locked yourself in the group that is herded by trends. To many it makes your group seem disingenuous, immature and dependent on others to make your critical decisions. It seems like the exact opposite reaction of what was initially sought after. That would be an easy entry in to the "big leagues" of logo design. The MLB icon is one of the grandaddies in that respect, helping to create one of the biggest leagues of them all. But perhaps that is one of the problems. Apparently, Major League Baseball® does not recognize Jerry Dior or his old marketing firm as being the creator. In a classic too-big-to-fail maneuver, MLB claims they have no records of the original design. Yet there is plenty of evidence that they certainly should, or at least acknowledge off the record that Dior did in fact design it. This ignorance - whether feigned or real - is one of the biggest disgraces in graphic design history.

Speaking of disgraces, the popular stylization has been applied to everything from drinking groups to gag t-shirts. If the creator got a royalty payment every time his design were used, copied, printed, stitched, photoshopped, etc, he would probably be a billionaire. Well, that would probably have to exclude the droves of highly inebriated booze-hounds that proudly wear the icon.

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Please help stop this inexcusable forgery. If you ever come upon someone "putting together a logo" for their Drop Point Needle Club, do not let them use a MLB style logo. Please! For the love of everything aesthetic, when we contribute to dumbing down our already mentally challenged society we are really digging our shallow, early graves to rest in so we don't have to exert our minds any longer than necessary. This abuse must be stopped. Only we can help us.


And we have saved the best for last. A group of people who perhaps represent the quintessential oblivious imitation of intelligence is the "Major League Doorkickers." In a stunning disrespect towards anyone with even a tiny shred of humanity and decency, the MLD appears to be military in nature and murderous by intent. The "joke" here is that this is a herd of individuals (perhaps in Iraq or Afghanistan) who pride themselves on kicking doors down and implying they kill the enemies hiding within. More than likely they allegedly murder any males in the domocile and then rape and torture any remaining females, only to attempt to cover it all up as an insurgent hide-out. Allegedly.

While a bit macabre, that usage of the MLB icon style is a perfect representation of everything that is wrong with our society's abuse of anything good. If someone were to come up with a new style logo that retains all of the perfection of Jerry Dior's design, you can bet it would be ripped off within minutes. In part thanks to the Internet, trends and icons spread instantly and are susceptible to forgery on a worldwide scale. How do you say "please stop biting" in 6,500 languages?

RC   (October 16, 2011)

For a great ESPN™ article on Jerry Dior and his masterpiece, please visit this link