Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is the most immersive and innovative baseball fan experience in the world. Not only is it the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, but it is also a platform for the Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community (SRP-MIC) and its culture.
From the press release:
“We wanted to reinvent the fan experience of spring training by designing a distinctive destination that focuses on fan connectivity to the players while creating a unique environment that embodies the character, values and culture of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks,” said Byron Chambers, director of sports design, HKS Sports & Entertainment Group.
… Salt River Fields is located on a 140-acre site near the Pima-Loop 101 Freeway and Indian Bend Road. Salt River Fields is the first Major League Baseball Spring Training facility built on Native American land. Owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC), the complex consists of separate training facilities and clubhouses accommodating each team as well as an 11,000-seat central stadium which features a uniquely designed roof structure that offers fans in the cross aisle plenty of shade.”
I have had the opportunity to be lead designer and creative director on the identity, signage, environmental graphics, interpretive graphics, concession branding, and more. It has been a very challenging project. We have to balance the brands of two very distinct teams, the Diamondbacks and the Rockies, and, just as important, tell the story of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Prior to our involvement the community created an aspiration line for the facility – “Two Tribes, Two Teams, One Home.” The ideas behind “Two Tribes, Two Teams, One Home” really inspired our team. We knew we had to find a way to create an icon for this facility that illustrated the partnership between the SRP-MIC and the two teams. We also wanted to distinguish Salt River Fields from the other spring training facilities by developing a identity that leverages existing brand equity but creating something completely unique. (There are 10 Spring Training facilities through out the Phoenix area, as you can imagine, competition is getting fierce.)
We wanted to establish a “visual language” throughout the facility. We wanted this “language” to move through all of the graphic elements; from logos to the signage. These elements were being developed at the same time which helped to create a cohesive visual brand language. The logo was the perfect place to start this language.
Above are all three logos of those involved in the facility. The Colorado Rockies have not had a logo change since they became part of the league in 1993. The Arizona Diamondbacks re-branded themselves in 2007. The third icon above was developed by a local Pima artist and calendar stick carver. His icon speaks about the mountains and the rattlesnake in SRP-MIC history. These symbols are very important to the Community because they help tell the history and stories of the tribe and families. The symbol implies Salt River Fields in the community’s historic timeline.
Overall, the major challenges in creating the identity icon were:
We toiled over the icon for several months – Everyday going back and forth about what would be best for the facility – then on a late Friday night around 2:30AM the idea popped into my mind after viewing a set of sketches we made earlier in the night.
I began dissecting each individual element.
The solution, though simple, has many layers. It speaks about heritage. It speaks of team. It speaks of partnership. It symbolizes the essence of the project quickly. It delivers the solution to our four main challenges above.
The final artwork above utilizes the prominent colors of the teams and one selected by the SRP-MIC.
The use of a more horizontal version of the logo is used sparingly and only on certain elements.
Obviously, more conversations with the ownership went on before and after the this solution presented itself. I can tell you we had four prior meetings about the logo. We had a concepts that were shot down. But, when we rally around the project, explain the design process, and LISTEN to the client, the end product is always better. This project is a testament to that.