Before the people of Kansas City developed their longstanding and staunch support for the Kansas City Royals baseball team, they had been abandoned by their previous city franchise. Previously, The Athletics used to represent the city in the American league. Unfortunately, the owner of the sports franchise had been unhappy about the city for almost a decade before he got enough votes at the American League to allow the move. After relocating the city’s baseball franchise to Oakland, Charlie Finley attracted massive criticism from the then Missouri US Senator. Stuart Symington demanded the American League to create a new franchise for the city, and the Kauffman’s earned their city legacy by founding the Royals.
Making the Logo
Ewing Kauffman decided to give Hallmark Cards the job of creating the Franchise’s logo after concluding the name-the-team contest that had over 1,700 entries. Hallmark Cards had been operating in the city since 1910, and the design firm had its work cut out for it. The logo had to capture the city and team names. The franchise was named Kansas City Royals because the city was the leading livestock stocker, and it was the host to the American Royal parade. That is why some of Hallmark Cards’ logo entries included cattle symbols.
Hallmark Cards engaged 15 artists, and the winning one was Shannon Manning. He captured the desired imagery and messaging in sheer simplicity. The logo had to take into consideration the fact that it would have to appear on the uniform, stationery and other advertising paraphernalia. Shannon had to revise his initial submission to meet the expectations of Hallmark’s client Ewing Kauffman. The imagery was simple and clear. He superscripted a big and ultra-white capital letter R with the initials KC, which appeared in gold, and put it in a blue shield. He went further to place a golden crown on the shield and finished the logo by placing the word royals at the bottom and in caps and gold.
Shannon Manning explained that he was designing the logo for a 1969 team, and he tried to make the imagery as contemporary as he could. In his imagery, the franchise name ‘Royals’ took the focal point. He placed simplified but major emphasis on the concept of royalty. He captured the mood of majesty that the newly formed Kansas City Royals team needed coming into the Major League Baseball.
Sticking to the Brand
Surprisingly, the Kansas City Royals have always remained consistent with the simple things that bring the team and the city people together. For over 45 years since the team’s foundation, it hasn’t changed its logo much. It only makes minor changes that bring about major impacts for the brand and how it sways its huge fan base. Manning’s crown logo stands over 100 feet high since he won the branding competition that was coordinated and organized by Hallmark Cards back then. In fact, the extensive global baseball community identifies with it because it adorns one of the most popular scoreboards in baseball history.
Despite the consistency, there have been changes made over the years. The changes basically managed to shift the focal focus from the R to the KC.
- In 1979, the Kansas City Royals made minor changes to the logo. The word royals at the bottom was scripted, underlined and written in small letters. It was also changed from gold to blue. The shield and the crown became slightly smaller.
- In 1986, the scripted word Royals was made significantly bigger such that it sticks out on both sides of the crown.
- In 1993, the Kansas City Royals made yet another minor but significant change to its logo. It changed the bright gold color of the crown and KC initials to a lustier golden tone.
- In 2002, the Royals decided that the logo insisted too much on the royalty and forgot the city. The R on the shield was edited out and the superscripted initials KC became the focal point.
- In early 2019, the focal point completely shifted from the Royals to Kansas City. The logo only features the initials for Kansas City inscribed on a blue shield and finished off with a golden crown.
- It seems that there is always a deliberate and dedicated reason for changing little aspects a well-known brand such as the Kansas City Royals. Most of the changes react to time, history and contemporary issues.