Call him what you want, but Chris Creamer has over 5 thousand people flock to his temple every day. And no, this is not a cult, though the subject matter and the level of conversation might seem erroneous, the Chris Creamer Sports Logos Community is a one of a kind Internet world, where the topic is sports branding.
Man Law: Talk of Sports Uniforms may not exceed 30 seconds, unless discussing the awesomeness of throwbacks.
When Miller Light came up with their Man Law marketing slogan, featuring the Men of the Square Table, documenting the unwritten rules of manhood, this was one of the ‘rules.’ Obviously, the thirty second boundary is far exceeded in the sports logos community, and so far, no one’s manhood as been questioned.
I interviewed the mastermind who created the Sports Logos community (boards.sportslogos.net) and found out many interesting facts about the formation of this public domain. First off, it seemed that the entire ordeal seemed to surprise Mr. Creamer, 23.
“About seven years ago I was browsing the net and found a place that offered free message boards. I put it on the site not expecting any traffic, and well, there wasn't really that much at the beginning... It just kept evolving and getting bigger and bigger until it became the empire you see today... It all really started out of personal curiosity on how a board was run and wanting to do one myself.”
When in 1997, Chris created a website called sportslogos.net to be a personal database for himself to access sports logos easily. Soon, it received some traffic from people searching the term. He was not sure if he wanted to continue on with the upkeep of this steadily growing website. Creamer, trained in many internet languages, with a degree in web design, decided to take the sight to the next level, at the behest of his father, making it the most comprehensive and well kept sports logos database on the net. The boards came later, and in the past few years have experienced a boom and some noted credibility from graphic design studios and pro leagues.
”We actually have some of the top sports logos designers as members, Todd Radom, Joe Bosack, Keith Flynn (of flynnagain), Studio Simon... all of these people are responsible for 90% of the new sports logos coming out every year... oddly enough we actually had to ban a big time sports designer recently. I won't reveal his name because that would be embarrassing to him, but I will say he was responsible for creating a few NBA logos still in use”
But it was not until 2002 when the community was first recognized,
“There was an incident in the fall of 2001 where I was given every new baseball logo for the upcoming 2002 season... that was pretty huge... major league baseball knows me by name after that one. We got them in October and they weren't unveiled until January, so a good 3 months. Of course when they unveiled them everyone knew what they were going to look like. The big one was the Anaheim Angels’ complete redesign, but the Royals and Texas Rangers also had new ones”
But for a man who could make or break an entire the entire industry of Sports branding by leaking logos, Chris Creamer is a remarkably simple man. He is only 23 years old, he lives in his parent’s basement, has had a girlfriend for four years, and his a huge Blue Jays fan, attending roughly 25 games a year. And he knows he is normal too. Comments such as “did I put you to sleep yet?” were common in our conversation. But this ordinary man does not have small aspirations. He has started his own design company that has worked for both the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs. While this was going on, his sportslogos page was booming, getting thousands of hits a day, and the board was beginning to pick up speed. The conversations had then branched from the Chiefs throwbacks to politics, fantasy leagues, and concepts, an area unique to the web, where fledging designers can create team identities. Large design corporations have hired many designers there and some designs have even been sold, such as the new logo for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.
Chris does enjoy partaking in some of the conversations on the board. It is widely known that his favorite logo was that of the Hartford Whalers, now the Carolina Hurricanes for its simple complexity.
There are many debates on the boards, as there are bound to be in a community of over 5,000, with a few tourists here and there. Two of the major ones are between a retro jersey movement, and the anti-retro jersey movement. Another regards the ball and glove logo of the Milwaukee Brewers, which is polar in opinions, it is either the greatest or worse logo ever created. Creamer moderates these discussions with the help of his moderating team, but steers clear of opinionating.
“I’m in the middle on both issues... I like seeing teams modernizing old looks... it's 2006, if you want to use the ball-in-glove bring it to the 21st century... darken the blue, change the yellow to gold, etc.”
Chris Creamer and his sportslogos.net site and board are certainly doing just that. He single-handedly brought the once taboo conversation of sportslogos to new frontiers, modernizing it, and allowing it to adapt to new frontiers that seemed inconceivable only a few years ago. And he is doing all of this from his parent’s basement in Toronto.
Postscript: the Brewers Ball in Glove logo, which was brought back this year for a Sunday home uniform, much to the joy and behest of many CCSLC members.