You've probably never heard of Todd Radom. But if you're a sports fan, you've seen his work, because Radom has emerged as a leading uniform and logo designer. Those new uniforms that baseball's Washington Nationals are wearing this season? They're his doing.
Radom, 41, is a lifelong sports geek who grew up doodling team logos on his notebooks. After designing lots of baseball-themed book jackets in the late 1980s, he approached the folks at Major League Baseball, who were sufficiently impressed to let him design some minor-league logos. He hit the big time in 1993, when he overhauled the Milwaukee Brewers' uniforms and graphics.
"A sports logo is ultimately a corporate identity, just like the IBM logo — it's part of an integrated branding system," says Radom. "So I think about why a team is changing its look, its market, and the tradition that I'll need to adhere to or break from."
For the Nationals, who until last year were the Montreal Expos, that was a tricky equation. "Washington already had some baseball history," he says. "But it's a different kind of city now. There's more of a corporate presence, and those are the fans of the future." The resulting uniform employs modern jersey typography but mimics the old Washington Senators "W" cap logo.
Radom is content with his anonymous role. "The designer is usually in the background," he says. "Besides, it's a thrill to see my work on the field. I knew I'd never become a ballplayer, but this is the next best thing."
A version of this article appeared in the July 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.