I was approached by the Kalamazoo Wings hockey organization, a professional hockey team located in my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan, to design a new identity and logo system for the team. The last logo system had been done in the late 90’s, and the organization wanted to refresh and revitalize the team’s look in tandem with the renovation of Wings Stadium/Wings Event Center. I worked with project manager/marketing consultant Karen Buczek and Greenleaf, the corporate owners of the Kalamazoo Wings, on finding a new visual identity for the Wings.

My direction on the design was to simplify and clean up the design, and to make it not reflective of trends, but more classic in look. Given the very wide range of requirements and uses of the identity, I wanted to keep it simple and easy to reproduce. I wanted the new mark to be sleek, fast, powerful and iconic; I also wanted to give the new mark a feeling of legacy, of referencing what had come before, but to also show the future of the team simultaneously. I also needed to make sure the identity differentiated itself sufficiently from the Detroit Red Wings. Being in the same state, I wanted to make sure the Kalamazoo Wings team looked and felt unique, and not a version of the Red Wings.

While sports fans are always very loyal to their team’s logos, I hope that my new logo is one that respects the proud legacy of the team, and gives the fans and players something that they can be proud of and get behind and support.

PROJECTS

KALAMAZOO WINGS HOCKEY IDENTITY

Branding and logo system for the Kalamazoo Wings professional team hockey organization.

KALAMAZOO WINGS BRAND IDENTITY STYLE GUIDE

Branding and style guide provided to the Kalamazoo Wings Hockey organization, outlining the correct terminology, color use and logo system for in-house designers and outside vendors to use to keep the new system consistent across all media and platforms.

I wanted to include this in the profile of this project, as having to provide a branding guide for a new identity is part of the process, but also works to test out the requirements that will be made of the new mark. In all cases, I worked to anticipate needs of the logo and how the brand would need to be used, but I also worked to make the mark adaptable for use with architectural materials (glass, plastic, metal, wood, etc.) , fabric/wearable needs and social media. I find building the standards guide to be a good opportunity for me to finalize the mark and triple-check all aspects of what I am handing over to the client, as well as establishing a link back to me should the need arise for additional additions to the system.

MEDIA AND LOGO LAUNCH

The new identity for the Kalamazoo Wings will be revealed and launched during the 2016 Heritage Hockey Week event, February 1–6.

GOOD WORDS

I have been fortunate to be able to work with Paul in two significant rebranding projects.  As a brand steward and strategist, it is refreshing to work with somebody that is interested and commits to bringing it to life.  He is very conscious of the experience we want to deliver and uses it as a starting point for his designs.  Paul understands design trends that are current yet enduring over time, and the role his innovative visual identities have in influencing brand perceptions.  His visual style guides are very thorough and encompass logo, color, and typography usages from broadcast media to etched glasses and everything in between.  I am looking forward to working with Paul in the future.

—Karen Buczek, Buczek Marketing and Consulting