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Friday, December 20, 2019

Louisville Soccer Logo (un)Failure

Louisville Kentucky has arguably the best soccer team and fandom in the USL, the US and Canada's second tier soccer league. They won two national championships out of the last three and they were in the final game of the third. They are opening a brand new, size appropriate stadium built for soccer. They've inspired yours truly to drive to Louisville just to watch soccer (a four hour drive) - something no other soccer team can claim.

So, they made a mis-step earlier this week. They have had a logo for several years now that I rank as adequate+. It's not spectacular, but it's easily recognizable and ties into the city well:

I can't say I'm thrilled by it. However, it's established in the hearts of the fans and thus if you're going to touch it you better come with something that's obviously better than adequate+.

The team hired some ad firm to rebrand themselves. That team came up with the kind of generic, blah corporate logo you'd expect (at least outside of the disaster zone of logos for minor league baseball).
The gray is a mistake that makes it looked washed out. The use of words across the top is an objectively bad mistake for a logo that's going to be small on the kit. Changing the the fleur-de-lis's to an ugly, sharp graphic rather than using the fleur-de-lis's that are actually on Louisville's flag is an unforced error. The inclusion of the stars is simply strange - particularly in that they are cut off. The shape of the overall logo in non-distinctive and it is far too cluttered. And then they offered an obviously contrived explanation for the white dividing slash that claimed it represented the Ohio River; fans didn't buy that for a second. This is the type of logo that is developed in a boardroom and rises at best to meh level.

Much to my surprise, after a backlash from the fans, Louisville City FC backed off. They are going to rework the logo with fan input.

Okay, so here's this fan's input.

First, a logo which is going to be on the left chest of a jersey should be simple and distinctive. Second, it is a rare logo that can pull off words on the logo (the current logo is an exception). Third, changing colors just to change colors is not a good call. Black and purple may be slightly better than purple and gold, but is it such a great improvement that it justifies the change? Don't change colors just because it's trendy or popular in some board room. And who thought that a washed out gray would do anything but look washed out? Is the white non-color meant to be part of the team's colors? Fourth, treating logos as Russian nesting dolls is a bad idea. The internal logo is okay; putting all the rest around it significantly detracts from it.

What logos could fit this criteria? Here's three I put together fairly quickly that would all look better than the corporate logo offered (click to see larger):

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All of those are simple, easily identifiable logos that will stand out on a kit and represent Louisville better than the corporate logo. If you're worried that people won't know what it is when your fans are wearing it you can write the team's name on t-shirts and hats you sell. Just don't put it on the logo for the kit.

If y'all at LCFC need some help, give me a holler at I'm pretty sure I can come up with at least a dozen solid options for you. And I'd be willing to do it for half the fee you paid to whatever ad company gave you generic logo #47.

Please don't prove me correct in my initial assessment that you aren't going to back down on the logo issue. If you find some useful idiots to rubber stamp your corporate logo or rubber stamp it after you make minor changes it will be obvious that you are just putting lipstick on that pig.