Minor league baseball hasn’t been the same since Jason Klein and Casey White arrived nearly two decades ago and began reshaping the industry by designing team names and logos with a flair for the outrageous. The lifelong friends from San Diego have taken their company Brandiose to new heights, working with roughly half of the sport’s teams and leading the industry that strives for family-friendly entertainment to a new level of silliness.
Brandiose has created many of minor league baseball’s top-selling (and most outrageous) brands, including the El Paso Chihuahuas, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Omaha Storm Chasers and Richmond Flying Squirrels. Their approach has not been embraced by everyone, with some observers questioning whether teams are going too far off the beaten path, but Klein and White wouldn’t want it any other way.
What follows is my conversation with Klein on how Brandiose has evolved while changing minor league baseball, and what the future might hold for himself and White, and minor league baseball as an industry. The transcript has been edited in parts for clarity.
Your story is pretty well known within the Minor League Baseball community, beginning with landing your first client, the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, out of college. What was that experience like and how did it shape your careers?
Being so close to Disney growing up, we loved the idea that a story transported you to another world. We took that approach of storytelling with our work and built the brand around a character named “Gem Dandy.” We didn’t really know what the Diamond Jaxx was [about], so we invented this additional story about the diamond mines in the hills of Tennessee.
The brand was great, a lot of visual elements to the story, pickaxes, the character had a handlebar mustache like the Pringles man, which had the naming rights to the park. But there are no diamond mines in the hills of Tennessee. So, I think that was the biggest lesson, that you have got to do your research. So from that point forward, we started travelling and doing on-site research for every brand we created.