April 16, 2024

NWA Naturals VP, Justin Cole, Talks New Look

Northwest Arkansas Naturals New Logo- Photo Credits - NWA Naturals Media Dept

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals, a minor league baseball team that has been a staple of the region since 2008, is heralding a new era of baseball with a comprehensive rebrand that includes a new logo package and uniform combinations. All will see the change in their upcoming game against the Tulsa Drillers on Friday, April 5, 2024.

Northwest Arkansas Naturals New Logo- Photo Credits – NWA Naturals Media Dept

The Naturals, the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals, has been an integral part of the local sports scene for nearly two decades. In an exclusive interview with Justin ColeVP/General Manager of the Naturals, we spoke about the rebrand being an exciting step forward for the team as it heads into its 17th season at Arvest Ballpark

The new logo package and uniform combination are the first substantial changes the Naturals have made to their brand since they started playing baseball in Northwest Arkansas. The updated marks, uniform combinations, custom font, and slightly altered color scheme reflect a revitalized and refreshed look for the Naturals. Cole would have this to say on what it meant to the organization. 

Yeah, you know, it was trying to keep the tether to the past, but figure out how you do that but still differentiate yourself for the future. And that was like the biggest challenge all along. So we narrowed down how we can be more versatile, a little more vibrant, a little more variety. We started there, and then it was just like, you almost had the board, you start throwing words on it, you know, and it was, you know, home state, Northwest Arkansas, naturals, all that. You pulled that together, and we discussed it with the guys who helped us design it. They toured the area because they’re not from up here; they’re from DFW, and they came up. And when they came back to us with a few follow-up questions, then they came back to us with sketches, it was like, wow, we’re on the right track right away. So, as somebody who’s been with the organization, what does it mean for you to be over this? You know, today was the first day. It felt kind of cool all along, but today it felt cool to finally let people see it. And you get all the feedback, and hey, whether you love it, hate it, or are indifferent, it’s nice to get it out there and let people experience it. But it was the first time you could kind of look back and realize how long it took and different checkpoints and offshoots you could have gone down, but I’m happy with where it ended up. It gives us the variety that we want. We start with this look, which I love, but we have optionality now in the future for alternate jerseys and caps, and we struggled with that a little bit in the past. I love our original logo and everything. That’s why we wanted to keep that connective tissue, but we just have so much more variety now that we can continue to tweak our look and play with it in the future, and it excites me, too.”

The logo and uniforms are more than just a cosmetic change. They signify a renewed commitment to the fans and the region. The team hopes the new look will excite and energize the fan base as they look to continue the tradition of Naturals Baseball at Arvest Ballpark.

Photo Credit – Wes Pruett/ 4SSM

As Cole would mention, the changes are expected to be a mix of respect for the team’s history and a nod to the future. Given the team’s long-standing presence in the community, the rebranding effort will create a buzz among loyal fans and local supporters.

We discussed the abovementioned process, what went into this, and his thoughts on the final product. With all the checkpoints mentioned above, along with the significant change in the look and feel, we asked about the length of this change. Cole would say. 

“It’s almost two years, probably 18 to 20 months, for a good reason. Major League Baseball and everyone, it helps you make sure that your brainstorm process is you give yourself time and make sure everything can be cleared, you know, you don’t have any issues with that. And you can get the merchandise in when you launch. You can check every mark. So it’s not long after opening day 2021; we got the ball rolling. We had talked about it prior to 2018, 2019 we had to reassess after 2020. But once we hit 21, it was like, let’s get this in gear. We want to get this going here after the 15th and 16th years. And we were able to do it.”

The Naturals’ first game with their new look against the Tulsa Drillers, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will undoubtedly be a momentous occasion in the team’s history. As the Naturals take to the field, they will be playing for a win and showcasing a new era of Naturals baseball. When asked what Cole envisioned that day, he smiled and said,

Yeah, I hope it feels almost like the first one again. It’s a new era in a lot of ways. It’s a new look. We want to integrate that into the experience here, not just through signage but through the visuals and everything we do to promote the team now. And as well, sometimes you look good, play good, feel good, play good. I hope that can translate too, and we can get off to a really good start next season.

Photo Credit – Wes Pruett/ 4SSM

When the Naturals take the field to open the upcoming season, led by manager Tommy Shields, it will be another exciting season. In what is a talented roster, including the possibilities of Cayden Wallace, Gavin Cross, and others, we asked what Shields and the team thought of the new look. Cole would surprise us with his answer. 

“Haven’t seen him yet. I will send Tommy; I’m sure he may have by now. He’s not the biggest social media guy, so I will make sure he gets a peek at it. I sent him to Kansas City before today, just because sometimes they print things for the complex and whatever, but even Mitch Meyer was like, I’m going to keep him in my back pocket until after you announce it. So, everyone’s getting their first look today. So I’m excited. It’ll be neat when we get the guys here, and have our first workout in the new gear, pictures, all that. That’s when it’s really that final threshold to cross that I’m pumped about and getting that reaction.

As the Naturals begin to start 2024, we will see a new look, and according to Cole, a new attitude. As we saw last season this team they are proven winners. Cole motioned the “Look good , play good mindset” and they for sure will look good!

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