Football clubs rebrand to lay down Community Design law

The design industry is continuing to benefit from an upsurge in branding work for football clubs, with two Premiership teams in the throes of launching redesigned team crests and more redesigns in the pipeline.

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club last week revealed its redesigned club badge, created by Navy Blue Design Group (DW 8 September 2005), as part of plans to build the team’s brand internationally and attract more lucrative sponsors.

At the same time, West Bromwich Albion will unveil its new badge on 7 February, designed by GVC Advertising & Design Consultants. It was developed to take advantage of European Registered Community Design legislation.

WBA is seeking to protect its club badge through the Community Design rule, under which designs that are less than 12 months old can register for protection of the brand against copy infringements. Arsenal undertook a redesign of its crest with 20/20 for the same reasons in 2002 (DW 7 February 2002).

GVC’s identity takes the core elements of WBA’s existing logos – the throstle and hawthorn, plus the stripes and shield – to create a ‘cleaner and more disciplined badge’, explains consultancy joint managing director Graham Robinson, who is also in discussions with three additional Premiership clubs.

Navy Blue won the Tottenham Hotspur redesign after an initial five-way pitch. In addition to creating the logo, the consultancy has produced a comprehensive set of brand guidelines. The branding also features a specially commissioned typeface designed by Dalton Maag.

‘We have not been the best at managing our brands and corporate identity over the past couple of decades; there are four or five versions of the identity in use around the stadium at the moment. It is difficult to manage and build a brand in this situation,’ says Tottenham Hotspur executive director Paul Barber, who is in charge of commercial operations for the club.

The design follows research and consultation with the club’s supporters, officials, shareholders and staff members. The research programme was conducted by the club’s head of marketing Hazel Ruscoe, in collaboration with Navy Blue.

The badge features the club’s historic cockerel and ball emblems, redrawn in ‘a sleek and contemporary design’, says Barber. ‘The existing logo had become a bit cluttered and we’ve actually taken it back to where it started.’

As part of the relaunch, the team’s website has been redesigned by Blue Halo and its address changes from to, emphasising the club’s official name.

The identity will be applied to merchandise from next month and will appear on the team’s kit next season, although the club has decided not to include the team name on shirts, deeming the badge to be a strong enough symbol to stand alone.

‘We wanted a greater consistency to build on an internationalisation of the brand and attract bigger sponsors. We have to show that we can manage the brand well. Sponsors in particular – often big brands themselves – will look closely at how well you can manage your own brand,’ explains Barber.

Registered community design law

• Said to be quicker and cheaper to register than trademark or patent registration

• Allows a business to protect its brand or ‘look’ across the European Union, without proof of actual copying – unlike copyright

• Can only be used for logos or brands that are less than 12 months old

• See for information

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