Football badges - a designer's worst nightmare?

Is there a tougher brief than the redesign of a famous football club's badge?


As an Everton fan, I'm no stranger to terrible badges - see a previous rant - but Leeds' effort seems to have exploded to a point well beyond that. If the conspiracy theorists are correct, then kudos!

I’m not going to write an essay on why these things need changing - why does any logo need changing (this is a rhetorical question so steady on there!) - but why is it so hard?

As a kid, surely your dream would've been to design the crest on your team's shirts? I can still remember ripping off Italia '90’s Ciao (the stick man) for my under 11's side and *everyone*(*I*) thought it was ace! (...I played as a sweeper, so we were already embracing a continental mentality - classy!)

Nostalgia for one thing.

It’s super powerful stuff. Some people like to call it ‘heritage’ or ‘history’ but it’s the same thing really - chances are you ‘fell in love’ with your team as a kid and I bet the badge they wore on their chests back then is your favourite. It is for me (the same is true of the kits btw - that yellow one with the blue stripe was the dogs nuts!)

Trouble is, fans come in all shapes and sizes (and ages) so you’re bang up against it landing something that pleases everyone there. Trying to encapsulate something from each era is one tactic but you’re on dodgy ground there - include everything and you’ll end up with a dogs dinner of a badge with way too much going on....


Secondly, football fans can’t, won’t, MUSTN’T, ‘switch sides’.

Butcher the Coke logo and I’ll (begrudgingly at first) go buy a Pepsi. I will not, under any circumstances, start waving a red scarf for, them lot across the park. 

That tribal loyalty is so ingrained that I still won’t buy a Candy washing machine or Crown paints either. And I’m not alone - back in the 80’s, Zanussi famously dropped their sponsorship of Real Madrid after their sales plummeted in Catalonia.


When you boil it all down, it’s what supporting a team is all about. You might not be winning the league season in, season out but you’re in it together - the good and the bad - and often it’s coming back from depths of despair that are the sweetest moments (Barry Horne will always have a special place in my heart).

All that means is that when your club lumbers you with a dog of a badge, it’s yours too ...whether you like it or not. And, unlike an unwanted Christmas jumper, you can’t just shove it to the back of a cupboard, you’re gonna have to wear it all season long (or for the next 100 years, apparently!) and that’s gonna hurt.

For what it's worth, I think the ‘idea’ comes from a good place - a point particularly well articulated by Matt Wilson here.

“What’s our most valuable asset?”

“Our fans.”

“Well, let’s put ‘them’ at the heart of our badge then. Literally”

Spurs got it right back in ‘06, beautifully capturing heritage and history in a clean modern crest. They’re the exception and not the rule though. We (Everton) very definitely got it wrong in ‘13 and, whilst some might disagree, I think Juventus got theirs wrong last year too.




So, over to you LUFC. Well done on your swift response to the outcry and good luck on getting it right next time - the eyes of the football world are on you!