As the designer of record for Oriole Park at Camden Yards since 1992, Ashton Design has been responsible for developing and maintaining the ballpark’s complete graphic vision—from exterior, wayfinding, and ADA signage to placemaking. In the stadium’s branding, Ashton Design has drawn inspiration from the team and city history, and in-depth research has resulted in many unique and authentic touches, including the ornithologically accurate Baltimore Orioles weather vanes above the scoreboard.
For the 20th anniversary opening day in 2012, the park got a graphic refresh. Ashton enlivened its color palette with five gradations of color from yellow to Oriole orange, complementing the iconic red brick warehouse façade and the standard Camden green of the 1890s Baltimore Baseball Club. The firm also created new names and graphics as part of a complete concessions makeover, designed retired numbers sculptures for the left field upper deck, created new stair murals featuring songs important to Orioles fans, developed team history displays on the Club level, and designed new restroom entrance murals to enhance wayfinding.
For each area of the park, Ashton tapped its extensive research to build visual variety and invite fan exploration without sacrificing a coherent sense of place. In the Carvel Kids’ Corner, murals teach about the physics of baseball. Eight-foot-tall fiberglass “bobblehead” sculptures in the main entrance plaza are based on the Oriole bird logos from the 1960s, 1970s, and 2002. The interior décor of Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant is infused with visual reminders of Rick Dempsey’s years as a catcher and 1983 World Series MVP: Dempsey’s signature as the restaurant logo, light sconces shaped like catcher’s masks, a home plate podium at the entrance, and a mural featuring an ode Dempsey wrote to Memorial Stadium, the predecessor to Camden Yards.
Ashton’s attention to detail carries through to fabrication processes: the 22 letters of the main entrance sign were fabricated by hand of stainless steel by Glen Rock, Penn.-based blacksmith Tom Moore—rather than fabricated in a cheaper but less durable plastic foam. The stainless steel letters echoed the signage in the same material that helped to make Memorial Stadium a landmark, and harkened back to the city’s steelmaking, industrial heritage.
“Expert exploitation of historical team graphics and imagery to create a seamless ballpark experience.”
“This represents a wonderful and tasteful graphic overlay that competently ties together the sense of place, architecture, and historical significance of Baltimore and the ball club, truly adding to a special fan experience and sense of place.”
“The scheme draws together both the branded environment and the architecture of the ballpark in a cohesive manner—rather than being an add on, the signage and wayfinding are integrated within the whole to create a seamless environment. The scheme illustrates how a strongly branded environment can be tailored and edited to create a coherent message for spectators and visitors.”
Ronnie Younts (principal/creative director), Keith Kellner (lead designer, project manager, illustrator), Alexey Ikonomou (designer), Alison Grissinger (Designer)
National Signs (concession identities), Corsair Display Systems, LLC. (portables, concession kiosks), Arundel Signs, Inc. (Birdland Memories billboards), Belsinger Sign Works (stair murals), Advantage Signs & Graphics, Inc. (Free State Pub interior graphics, freestanding Mr. Boh in Oriole uniform, stair murals, Natty Boh Bar bottle cap puzzles and wall graphic, team store identities, concession blade signs), Triangle Sign & Service (Natty Boh Bar identity, Orioles 47 brand identity, Free State Pub identity, Orioles shirt shop identity), Aldinger Signs & Murals (Natty Boh Bar interior mural), Merrell Design (concourse restroom murals), Heritage Flag Company, Inc. (retired number/Hall of Fame banners), F.W. Haxel Flag, Flagpole, Banner & Sign Co. (oversized concourse pennants)