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FĂştbol Identity

MLS Team Logos The Good and the Bad.


magine sitting in a stadium surrounded by the intense screams of crazy fans. Shoulder to shoulder crowd, there is barely enough room to breathe. You wave your hands and cheer as if this was the last game ever played. You glance down and see the shirt you are wearing proudly displays the emblem of your home team. You feel part of a community, as you share this passion with every fan around you. The dedication the emblem empowers you with can rule the world. Your home team is symbolized by this compact design of greatness and every time you look at the logo you want to feel the strength of togetherness and pride for the team.   The logo of a sports team needs to fully capture the name, identity and location of the team. An emblem will become the entire image for the team and it needs to properly convey what the city is about. From the name of the team, to the colors and imagery used. You should be able to connect visual elements from the logo to the place and people it is representing. The Major League Soccer teams all have a logo with a similar MLS feel. Some are more successful than others in giving meaning to the design. To illustrate the idea of successful design, I am going to break down a few MLS logos that are successful in portraying the team and compare those to ones that do not do such a good job and the reasons why.


The first example of a meaningful logo belongs to the Chicago Fire. A team established into the MLS in 1998, they have become one of the more successful teams in the league. The first aspect to a successful team image is the name that portrays the team. To connect the soccer team to the history of Chicago, the team was named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This was stated by the general manger, Peter Wilt. Not only does the name have a strong connection to Chicago’s history but as a sports team it has a sense of push behind it. The team will have fire in their eyes when they play every game. Also the power that fire contains is unimaginable and sometimes unpredictable.

The initial look of a logo needs to immediately capture the viewer. At a simple glance the overall shape needs to be visually appealing. With the Chicago Fire’s logo, the over shape resembles that of a fireman’s badge. This shape already portrays loyalty and pride because it is used by fireman across the nation. The single letter ‘C’ ties into other Chicago sports teams, like the Bears and Cubs. A sense of Chicago sports pride was the intention with the ‘C’ work. The six points surrounding the ‘C’ comes from Chicago’s city flag. Each point represents a monumental event in Chicago’s history. New to Major League Soccer in the 2011 season is the Portland Timbers. The Timbers are not a completely new franchise because they used to belong to the United Soccer League. With the move into the MLS there was a logo redesign. The redesign connected with the overall visual language of the rest of the MLS logos. The fan base for the Portland Timbers has been known for their dedication and passion they have for the sport. Unlike the logo for Chicago Fire, the Timbers logo is more representational and meaningful to the state of Oregon. First the letter ‘T’ in the shape of an axe represents Oregon’s rich history of logging. The axe conveys the power and precision of the Timber’s in relationship to their heritage. Portrayed behind the axe are chevrons. These are stylistic trees to again tie into the history of logging. There are three chevrons on each side, which represent the three leagues the Timbers have been apart of, the NASL, USL and currently the MLS. The strongest element of the Timbers logo is the color palette. The ponderosa pine green clearly communicates the rich forestry Oregon has. The highlighting moss yellow makes a bold statement and identifies the team.


A final example of a meaningful MLS logo is that of the Philadelphia Union. Joining the MLS in the 2010 season, the Union was a completely new team. To immediately bring the city of Philadelphia together as a fan base, there was a contest held for the fans to choose the team name. The Philadelphia Union was chosen in 2009 and the team started to grow. For the Chicago Fire the logo was based on the cities past events. For the Portland Timbers the logo was based on the state of Oregon. Now for the Philadelphia Union the logo is based on Philadelphia’s rich colonial history and the major connection they had in the development of our nation. What makes this logo great is every single aspect ties back to the idea of colonial history. The colors of navy blue and gold represent the colors of the Continental Army’s uniform worn during the American Revolutionary War. The thirteen stars are a reminder of the original Thirteen Colonies and they are displayed in an arch on a circular form of unity. The most interesting aspect of the logo is the rattlesnake. This image was used by Benjamin Franklin in cartoons he illustrated for the Pennsylvania Gazette in the 1700s. History shows that it quickly became a symbol used during the American Revolution. This logo is full of rich history of our nation and the Union will proudly wear the colors for every game. After close analysis of a few successful MLS logos, it is time to compare them to some that are lacking connection to the teams city. One example of a logo that turned out not to be very successful in meaning is that of Kansas City Sporting. They were formerly the Kansas City Wizards but in 2010 decided to rebrand. Like any logo, Kansas City tried to bring in history and make meaning behind the design elements. It seems that a design was created and the meaning was an after thought. First off, the team has been known as the Wizards since 1997 and the new name is completely lacking as a soccer team. There is no power behind it and it simply does not sound right. For the stripes on the left side, they are supposed to represent the eleven players that have, and currently play on the field for the team. The problem is when you first look at the stripes many only see six light blue lines. The majority of the public do not recognize the dark blue between the light blue as more stripes. On the right side of the crest, the ‘SC’ standing for ‘Sports Club’ is a stylized ligature that was intended to play off of Greek mythology. There is not enough relevancy to connect Greek mythology with Kansas City and fact that the logo contains, the city name, the team name, and an acronym that represents another name seems to be too much. This rebrand needed to take a deeper look into Kansas City’s history.


Connecting the logo to the city the team is from has seemed to be what makes the logo successful. For Chivas USA, the story is a little disconnected to the city of Los Angeles. Chivas USA became part of the MLS in 2004 and is considered to be the little sister of the most famous Mexican soccer team in Guadalajara named the Chivas. The reasoning for taking the identity of a Mexican soccer team and basically duplicating it and adding USA to the name seems unknown. It looks lazy because there was no need for a logo creation. The logo is exactly the same as the one used in Mexico. For the Mexican team there is a lot of connection the emblem carries to the city of Guadalajara. But to the city of Los Angeles there is no connection. The logo is not lacking in design or meaning for the intended team in Guadalajara but as an MLS logo this has not been a successful identity. One last comparison is for the MLS team, New York Red Bulls. Introduced to the MLS in 2006, the NY Red Bulls were formerly known as the Metro Stars. The general public automatically knows that the name of this team is pitiful for a soccer team. The reason it that, Red Bull is already a successful energy drink company. The MLS logo is literally Red Bull’s energy drink logo added to a crest with a soccer ball and the city’s name. No history at all and the name screams corporate America. It is just one big advertisement for Red Bull and they should not have done that to the fans in New York. It is difficult to have pride for a team that is based on an energy drink. New York is filled with wonderful history and that could have been design very well into a logo. Just because it is successful in the energy drink department does not mean it will work for a soccer team. Passion and pride is what a true fans feels about their home team. Every time they look at the single image that portrays their team they want to feel at home and see the rich history that they are surrounded with. Graphic designers are able to communicate concepts and ideas in a variety of ways. They take pride in their design just like a fan does with their home team. Put thought into everything you design because there should be meaning behind visual communication. Allow history to live on in different forms and give people visual imagery they want to proudly wear on their shirt.

Major League Soccer logos courtesy of

Article by: David Gamboa Sources:


Review of the Upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup logo.


ne of the greatest sporting events to happen every four years is the FIFA World Cup. The World Cup Tournament is an international sensation and only the best countries are qualified to play. Dating back to 1930, the first official tournament was held in Uruguay. Since then the tournament is played every four years and the location is chosen based upon biding from different countries. FIFA determines what country would benefit most from hosting the World Cup because it can bring a country to new heights. From the beginning, the identity associated to the tournament is developed by the hosting country. The design of the official World Cup logo presents an image and feel for the event. When the logo is visually presented to the viewer it encompasses stylistic features from the hosting country. The design team works to create a concept unique to the country. Since each year the tournament is at a different location, fans want the ability to link the logo to the location of the event visually. The hosting country is chosen shortly after the previous tournament is finished. That means the design has four years to develop. With so much time for the design to unravel, fans expect quality to be produced. But every designer has their own style and they cannot make everyone happy. That is why every time a new logo is revealed, a lot of criticism is presented to the design and the team responsible.


In review of the 2014 FIFA World Cup logo, there has been, like always, fans that appreciate the design and fans that despise it. The Brazilian design agency responsible for this logo is “Africa.” The design team at Africa is formed by several well known Brazilian graphic designers. A theme of “Inspiration” was developed with stylistic features from Brazil’s culture. At first glance the colors of green and yellow are the major elements that connect the logo to Brazil. The stylized design incorporates hands that come together and form the iconic shape of the World Cup trophy. Like many of the previous World Cup logos, the countries artistic style is obviously present. A well thought out concept by Africa separates this logo from the others in the past. Being that the World Cup is an international event, fans take the representation of the logo to the country very serious. With this, controversy stirs up amongst the soccer community. Initially when the 2014 logo was revealed, Brazil was designed with the letter ‘z’ in the name. Many felt that an ‘s’ would be more appropriate, being that in Portuguese the correct spelling is Brasil. For English speaking countries the spelling used is Brazil. The out roar convinced FIFA administrators to allow the traditional spelling to be used. Another element of criticism was the design of the hands coming together to form a trophy. Critics felt this was inappropriate because the only person that can use their hands in the game is the goalie. Some fans simply felt it did not represent the game very well because of that. The concept behind the hands was not intended to represent the use of hands during the game of soccer but instead it was based around the raising of the World Cup trophy by the hands of the winning country. The inspiration theme is presented well in this aspect because every teams ultimate goal in the tournament is to win the trophy for their country.

2014 World Cup Logos courtesy of

People will continue to critique artwork around the world. There is no art or design that will ever make everyone happy. Opinions will always be presented no matter what is created. For now the logo design of the World Cup since 1930 has successfully created an identity for the tournament. Both representing the artistic style of the hosting country and presenting an overall feel to the World Cup every four years. Article by: David Gamboa Sources: 6

FIFA World Cup Poster

Through the years.


ince 1930, the FIFA World Cup has developed logos to give a look and feel to the tournament. Along with the logo is the official FIFA World Cup poster. This is the piece that can express more of what the hosting country has to offer to the World Cup. The style of the poster depends completely on the country and once a concept is developed and the poster is produced, it is seen immediately around the world. Along with the logo, these two designs become the image fans will forever associate to that years World Cup Tournament.


’30 1930 World Cup hosted by Uruguay won by Uruguay against Argentina 4-2.

’34 1934 World Cup hosted by Italy won by Italy against Czechoslovakia 2-1.



1938 World Cup hosted by France won by Italy against Hungary 4-2.


1950 World Cup hosted by Brazil won by Uruguay against Brazil 2-1.



1954 World Cup hosted by Switzerland won by West Germany against Hungary 3-2.


1958 World Cup hosted by Sweden won by Brazil against Sweden 5-2.



1962 World Cup hosted by Chile won by Brazil against Czechoslovakia 3-1.


1966 World Cup hosted by England won by England against West Germany 4-2.


’70 1970 World Cup hosted by Mexico won by Brazil against Italy 4-1.

’74 1974 World Cup hosted by West Germany won by West Germany against Netherlands 2-1.



1978 World Cup hosted by Argentina won by Argentina against Netherlands 3-1.


1982 World Cup hosted by Spain won by Italy against West Germany 3-1.



1986 World Cup hosted by Mexico won by Argentina against West Germany 3-2.

’90 1990 World Cup hosted by Italy won by West Germany against Argentina 1-0.



1994 World Cup hosted by USA won by Brazil against Italy 3-2 penalties.


1998 World Cup hosted by France won by France against Brazil 3-0.


’02 2002 World Cup hosted by South Korea and Japan won by Brazil against Germany 2-0.

’06 ’10 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany won by Italy against France 5-3 penalties.

2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa won by Spain against Netherlands 1-0.

Article by: David Gamboa World Cup posters and results courtesy of


Top Four Most Popular English Premier Team Logos.


he sport of soccer, or more commonly known as fútbol, is an international sensation. Every part of the world has a different image of the sport. Although the image may be different, the game has a universal language. It seems that those who play the game all share a special connection to how the game makes them feel. European soccer style is a little different then soccer in America. Actually, the fan base of European soccer teams is completely different. Fans in Europe take the game very seriously and many of the soccer clubs have what they call firms, which are essentially gangs. So in comparison to soccer in America, European fans are a little more dedicated. The English Premier League contains some of the greatest players and teams in the world of soccer. Fans proudly display their home team logo and colors. In particular there are four teams that are part of the English Premier that every soccer fan knows about. I am going to break down what some consider to be the top four logos in English soccer and the identity they portray. Probably known to be one of the most famous sport franchises in the world, is Manchester United Football Club. Located in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, the team has coined the nickname ‘The Red Devils.’ The nickname became such an important part to the club that it was incorporated into the teams crest. The origins of the crest comes from the Manchester City Council coat of arms. It has changed over the years and today the only aspect that still remains from the original coat of arms is the boat above the devil. Still with a classical feel the two red bands give the bold shape to the crest and strong historical representation.


The second most popular crest of the English Premier League belongs to Arsenal. Representing South London, Arsenal has accomplished a lot as a football club. They are the only team to have played an entire season in the English Premier League without losing. With great accomplishments, Arsenal has gained the nickname ‘The Gunners.’ From the beginning, the crest has contained the image of a 17th century cannon. It developed over the years to the present logo, were a single cannon sits on a shield pointing east. The simplicity of the shield and the instant recognition of the cannon allows Arsenal to stay well known and spread their image across the English Premier League. Toping the list at third, is Chelsea Football Club. Located in West London, Chelsea acquired the nickname, ‘The Pensioners’ because their first crest contained the image of one. A pensioner is a person that is retired and in the case of the first Chelsea crest there was a retired member of the British Army. As football increased in popularity, the Chelsea franchise felt that the pensioner needed to be removed and that brought about the image of a lion. It has changed over the years with different stylistic lions appearing in the middle of the circular crest. With the main color of the club being blue, Chelsea stands out from a majority of the English Premier teams. For reference, the other three teams on this list have red as their main color.

English Premier logos courtesy of

The fourth most popular logo in the English Premier League belongs to Liverpool Football Club. Infamously known for the impressive number of English titles won, Liverpool is the most successful English Premier team. With red as the clubs main color, the teams nickname is ‘The Reds.’ The club did not adopt the color red until 1894 when it changed from blue. The aspect of the crest that captures the eye of most fans is the tag line, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ This is the anthem of the team. Along with the anthem name is the most iconic aspect of the liver bird. From the beginning of the club, the liver bird has always been the prominent design element on the shield. As a symbol of Liverpool, England, the liver bird will always be apart of the football club. In the past the club has been through a couple of disasters involving the stadium and fencing collapsing, which resulted in the death of many fans. In memorial of these disasters there are two eternal flames outside the stadium which are represented in the crest.

The England football image has a very historical feel. All the teams logos are derived from crests, coat of arms, and badges of the teams city. This gives England football the distinct feel that fans love. The difference between England and American soccer is visible in the fan base and the identity of the entire sport. Article by: David Gamboa Sources:


Zine written & designed by:

David Gamboa

The Fútbol Identity  

This handmade zine contains four articles based around the subject of soccer. Ranging from talking about Major League Soccer logos to breaki...

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