If, as Rodney Richardson said, a brand is a story, then this is a saga.
Monday afternoon the Timberwolves, who are set to debut the team’s new logo at Tuesday night’s final home game, brought in the man who will help tell the team’s story going forward.
Richardson is the founder and creative director of RARE Design, the Hattiesburg, Miss.-based firm that is changing the way the NBA looks, team by team.
He and his firm’s work can be seen in Memphis, New Orleans, Atlanta, Sacramento, all places where he has designed the new logo and identity of the Grizzlies, Pelicans, Hawks and Kings, respectively. Richardson, who ran Nike’s teams division in the 1990s, also helped the NFL’s Houston Texans get off the ground with their logo. A long time ago, he said Monday, he worked with the Wild on the Hockey Lodge identity.
And now this:
No. You’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see the logo, which will be at the heart of the team’s first true rebranding process since 1996. The process will continue with the Target Center renovation, with a new court design. New uniforms will be revealed later this summer.
But know this: To Richardson, the process of creating a logo — a brand — is far more complicated than simply sitting down and starting to draw.
It is learning about the city from which he is drawing inspiration.
“In the world of the NBA, while they’re all professional sports teams, they do have very unique characteristics that should be lived out through their identities,’’ Richardson said.
The idea, he said, was to get to the character of the team, the city, the region.
Richardson and members of his firm made multiple trips to the Twin Cities, meeting with the team, traveling the region, talking to fans.
“A little bit incognito, striking up conversations with people we could tell were fans,’’ Richardson said “There was a lot of online research. It’s fun to go into fan forums, engage people in conversations, how they feel about their team. Or travel forums, to see people who are moving to the region or away from the region, to see how they define it.’’
And then, somehow, getting all that — either literally or figuratively — into the final product, the result of multiple rounds of work and dozens of drawings.
What struck him? The rugged yet beautiful landscape of the area, the idea of a young team emerging and maturing, a region that prides itself on hard work and working together. “There is an understated excellence,’’ Richardson said. “There is this ethic of hard work, of determination yet creativity, a great sense of pride in place. … There is a great desire for excellence, but not chest thumping.’’
And so, he said, the logo fans will see unveiled Tuesday will try to include all of that. It will be clean, precise, perhaps austere. Not gaudy.
The colors will include midnight blue, lake blue, aurora green, frost white and moonlight gray, with the lake blue and green holdovers from the team’s current look.
• Because of the Wild playoff game Wednesday night, the Wolves’ season finale Wednesday in Houston will be televised on FSN Plus.