Two years ago he was responsible for redesigning the Broncos jerseys in a retro style that brought back the blue and green colours. This summer the rebranded Swift Current 57’s baseball team, previously known as the Swift Current Indians, will play in new colours and with a new logo he also designed.
He grew up in Swift Current and is proud of these designs for hometown teams, but each project has a different meaning to him.
“As a lover of hockey I’m more proud of the Broncos,” he said. “It dates back to my childhood. I spent many hours watching the Broncos ... but the 57’s was much more my baby, if you will. My creative ideas went into it and were approved as opposed to cleaning up and refreshing a brand, which is what I did with the Broncos.”
Wiebe was still working in Calgary when he started to think about a change to the Broncos jerseys. He went to hockey games during visits to Swift Current and recalled what the team looked like when he was younger.
“There was no green anymore and I knew they could look so much better than they did,” he said. “They didn’t feel like the Broncos I grew up with anymore and I wanted my home team to look like a NHL team. I wanted them to be classic, timeless and to stick with their roots as well.”
He approached the team with a proposal for new jerseys and a logo. At the time the team was still recovering from a financial loss and he offered to do the work at no cost.
“So I was paid with a couple of jerseys and I get paid every time I go to a game and get to see them,” he said. “It’s really exciting.”
Since then his design has been recognized with an inclusion in The Hockey News ranking of the Top 100 jerseys of all time.
“They chose the Broncos jerseys that I did for — number 95,” he said. “That’s awesome. There’s some other WHL jerseys in there that are quite a bit higher, but to be in there at all is enough payment right there.”
The baseball team approached him to be involved with their rebranding as a result of his previous work for the Broncos.
He was able to apply his creativity in designing a logo for a new team name and received positive feedback to his proposals.
“Joe Carnahan, who I dealt with from the 57’s, is a very laid back guy and every time I showed him or the club the next phase of the design, they generally loved it,” Wiebe recalled.
There were some small tweaks to his ideas during this process, but nothing on a significant scale.
“Maybe that would have changed if I presented them with something they didn’t like, but somehow I kept hammering the nail on the head, which was wonderful, because we only had about a month or so to go from concept to completion of this,” he said. “It was a lot of time pressure, but it worked out really good.”
He felt the scope of the design work for the two teams was appropriate for his level of experience at the time that he did each project.
“The 57’s might have been too big of a task for me four or five years ago,” he said. “The amount of challenge was about equal, but I’ve grown in my knowledge and skills so that I could handle both. They were both at the challenging level where maybe your heart beats a little faster when you’re doing it because you realize the potential. Like what if the 57’s use this logo for 57 more years. That scares you a little bit when you’re designing, but it’s exciting.”
He is currently a graphic designer for Copies Xpress in Swift Current, where he just completed a rebranding project for a local restaurant. His design assignment will vary from working with clients who know exactly what they want to those who will rely on his creativity to provide them with an appropriate design.
Wiebe has previously worked for Briercrest College, where he managed their visual identity. A highlight from that time was the design of the promotional material for Youth Quake 2015, which is an annual event with speakers and musical performances at the college.
In Calgary he worked for three years for Samaritan’s Purse Canada, where he designed the non-profit organization’s gift catalogue that has a print run of about 100,000 as well as the Operation Christmas Child brochure, which has an annual print run of about one million.
In addition to his formal employment he has been doing freelance graphic design work since 2008, for example apparel design for Gymnastics Saskatchewan, the Caronport Skating Club logo and the artwork for an album by the Swift Current metal band Brave the Border. He has also been selling designs for t-shirts and other apparel through his own online site PEZRULEZ Artwork and through shirt-a-day sites.
His designs are characterized by certain elements. He attempts to create a design with a timeless and clean appearance.
“I like to make things pop,” he said. “That can involve big pictures or bright colours. I typically don’t try to use more than one decorative font in a piece. You want your header font that maybe is fancy, but then everything else is more laid back to give more attention to the header.”
He would like to do more sport logo designs and as a designer it is important for him to create work that will endure.
“It always feels I’m moving forward if I get some meaningful work that will last,” he said. “I think a goal that I have is for more people to approach me for their design knowing what I’m capable of.”
He believes it is too early to tell what his designs for the Broncos and the Swift Current 57’s will mean for his interest in doing more projects involving sport logos.
“I don’t think the answer exists yet,” he said. “I can see my career going into a number of different directions. One of them might have a decent amount of sport logos involved, but I think you have to build up that portfolio before you can really get to a point where you say ‘I’m there.’”