#Shortstops: Ticket Master

Written by: Dani Dayton

The digital age is one of wonderful possibility. What adaptation will be introduced next to propel us forward in efficiency in our fast-paced lives? Whatever the innovation, it will likely have some effect on the National Pastime.

About a decade into the new millennium, barcodes for tickets were made available on mobile devices and accepted and scanned at the gates of venues in place of printed media. Efficient and clear as they may be, those digital hodgepodge black and white graphic codes replaced some of the richest – and unusual – samplings of visual art from the centuries before.

The team, and therefore visual brand, of the Chicago White Sox was created in 1901. With time, technology and culture, the design of that brand changed. When the Sox took the field for the first time, they sported uniforms of monotone white or grey, with a red square shaped block “C” on their chest. Early players like George Davis wore plain blue and white color schemes – while more ornate letterforms and Eddie Collins reigned in Chicago during the introductory days of pinstripes, with the stacked “O” and “X” nested inside of the large “S” logo, through 1926 when the road jerseys took on a condensed block font.

The organization’s re-designs for the first 30 years were quite tame compared to what came next. There after the Sox dabbled with red in their logo, explored uniforms in powder blue and sported collared shirts and wide racing stripes. They employed jersey logos that were ornate, block serifs, script, old English – and that rectangular Star Wars looking logo from the 1980’s. All of this happened before landing at the conservative black, white and grey visual brand we see today.

In preparation of the 2017 season, the director of advertising and design services in Chicago delved into the White Sox archive and came up with the idea to make their season tickets a retrospective on the club’s rich and art-filled history. A culmination of the White Sox brand has now been illuminated in one set of 81 artworks: the 2017 premium season ticket package. These books of tickets and specially designed package are now preserved in the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s collection.

Renowned sports industry designer Todd Radom rose to the occasion and designed a unique and beautiful image for each White Sox home game. Some tickets feature pins or ephemera taken directly from the time – like the 1959 World Series press pin and the Sept. 30, 1990, game program for the last game at Comiskey Park. On others he asserted his own artistic hand on with era-inspired lettering paired with photographs of notable players and illustrations of unique elements and successes of the franchise like the artwork for the 1917 World Series.

Chicago was the first in Major League Baseball to recruit Radom for season tickets, and the Detroit Tigers pounced at the chance to book his services for the 2018 season.

Radom, an advocate of beautiful tickets, of course, told HOW Design: “Ticket stubs are memories and memories currency.”

Dani Dayton is a graphic designer at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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