The Story Behind the MLB 2017 All-Star Game Logo

Just because Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game has the word “star” built right in doesn’t mean the logo always contains a star. This year’s MLB 2017 All-Star Game on July 11 in Miami, though, gives us not only a star, but one stylized with a modernized marlin to tie to the host team, the Miami Marlins.

“In all the history of the All-Star logos I have had the privilege to be involved in, we rarely have used a star,” Anne Occi, MLB’s head of design services, tells HOW Design. “This year it really worked and we wanted to top it off with the flying marlin. It is very sleek and worked right into the top of the star, making the star unique.”

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Each year, as MLB moves the annual July event to different ballparks around the country, the MLB design team creates a logo for the event, using the year’s host club’s mission statement of why they want to host the game as the starting point. “I take that to heart in what we are going to use as the visual identity,” Occi says. For Miami, the Marlins wanted to show off their ballpark, Marlins Park, a modern stadium bathed in white and with an unusual roof to give it character. Throughout the building the team plays up the visual component of architecture and design, peppering the stadium with artwork.

The logo’s form works to show off that modernized design of the park, all while borrowing the colors of the Miami team and accentuating silver, a natural star coloration.

Having worked with most of the clubs on the creation of their marks, Occi says she knows well how to bring a team identity to the All-Star logo in order to offer maximum brand awareness for fans associating the All-Star Game with the host team. That said, the one-year lifespan of the mark—although it does last longer in the hearts of the fans of the host team—allows MLB to play with trends in design, seen most prominently atop this year’s All-Star mark.

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“My favorite part of the whole thing is the design of the marlin, the look of the marlin and the star,” Occi says, adding that the open nature trend of logos really fit with this year’s creation and the entire star-marlin combination came as a “happy accident” during the design phase. “The way the marlin lops off without banging the nail on the head punctuates the specific type of event.”

Working with both an external design firm and a type designer, this year’s logo also includes a modern and sleek—the two words that Occi uses most to describe the 2017 effort—custom typeface. With trends showing the movement toward simplistic type that comes easy to read and still highly stylized, MLB opted to create its own type for the logo. “It is very important for it to be read very quickly and it needs to marry up and juxtapose all the other elements,” she says.

Having been unveiled in July 2016—the mark for the July 2018 game in Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will enjoy an unveiling in the weeks following the 2017 game—the 2017 Miami All-Star Game design has enjoyed over 11 months of public consumption. It will reach its pinnacle use in the weeks leading up to July 11 and then all focus will turn to 2018, even if the MLB design team is already brainstorming the design for the 2019 game scheduled for Cleveland.

First, though, the baseball and design world can enjoy the final days of the 2017 mark, a sleek representation of Miami, Marlins Park and a star-studded marlin.

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