Established in 1899, FC Barcelona is one of the most well known and successful football teams in the world with far too many titles and accomplishments to list in one paragraph. The Catalan team has attracted some of the best players in the world over the decades, including Johan Cruyff, Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi, among many others. Last week, the club introduced a revised crest and new identity designed by Spanish firm Summa.
FC Barcelona has updated its crest to suit modern times. Since its last update in 2001, the context, society and technology have changed enormously, and so must the Club’s identifying features.
This evolution is faithful to the historic elements in the crest and also makes it easier to reproduce, especially in the increasingly important digital media. Its features include greater balance and power in the blue and maroon colours, a more prominent football, as the iconic representation of the Barça style of play, simpler, more homogenised shapes and colours and the elimination of the FCB acronym, not explanatory and in disuse.
The main features of the new crest are greater balance and power in the blue and maroon colours, greater presence of the ball, an iconic element that represents the Barça style of play, and simplicity and homogenisation of the shapes and colours. A more harmonious crest that still maintains its shape and essence.
It goes without saying that the very best decision was to not mess with the crest in any significant way. I’m all for changing crests to modern logos — à la Juventus — but I think a team like FC Barcelona will simply never be able to change. Over the years, the team hasn’t been too shy about making updates, so this new update isn’t as controversial or unexpected. All the changes are an improvement, making the logo simpler, easier to read, and more efficient to reproduce. Getting rid of all the thin black strokes on the inside alone should be a national celebration. The color combo is still a little whack, lacking some contrast but not much you can do there. The one thing that does bother me is that the top two quadrants, the sides that touch the crest do not follow the curves of the crest, especially the white/red cross that I think could have easily hugged the curve. Nonetheless, it’s an update that should incite little ire from fans and, in this realm, that’s the biggest win possible.
I’m not super excited about the new wordmark (or font in general) but it’s not bad by any means. It just feels at odds with the crest.
As a result of this process and the new strategy, we have opted for two official brand expressions: FC Barcelona for everything relating to the institution and football, and Barça, a very popular expression which had not previously been given official status.
The second name now identifies everything related to all other sports and the knowledge, social change and entertainment areas. Areas that speak for themselves, because Barça is more than a club.
The sub-brand system is pretty straightforward and it may seem “bland” but when you look at the logo-itis they had before, where everything had its own different logo, it’s a most welcome approach.
To broaden the communicative register of the brand, we have designed a visual system inspired by its values and attributes, giving the club a distinctive, flexible voice, capable of adapting to the different contexts and audiences with which it interacts.
A system of colours, stripes and textures that can be adapted to the Club’s different areas and fields of activity. And its own exclusive FC Barcelona typeface, based on the traits of the crest and the personality of the brand, which is versatile and capable of evolving.
The custom type family has some interesting qualities — the way any angled strokes (like the “A” or “R”) are squared off or the curve of the “A” — but maybe it has one too many of them. The little slabs on the “C” and “S”, for example, or the angles on the top bars of the “T” and “E”. Pick one or two distinguishing characteristics and stick with those.
The patterns are sort of okay. The idea of making one from the crest is good but the color combination of red and blue is taxing on the eyes and when paired with type as in the business cards, it borders on looking more cheap than elegant. Feels like there is some room for improvement on the institutional materials.
The system will probably be less seen by the everyday fan and, in the end, it comes down to the crest and its value for fans. This is an evolution that will look great on merchandise and all communications for another 10 - 15 years until the next evolution… or until someone is crazy enough to completely change it.