the tanner ba'

We don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!!


In the last week or so no less than two MLS clubs and one MLS-wannabe club have either revealed newly designed club crests, made it clear that they know they need a new club crest, or “opened the floor” to submissions from the general public. Let’s start with the club that released a newly-designed, official club crest, the San Jose Earthquakes.

The crest (above) is awful- embarrassingly awful.  It looks like something you’d make with a Mac you found at a flea market that still had AppleWorks installed on it or that an eighth grader might come up with in study hall.  First of all, there are some issues with it in terms of it’s composition.  The preponderance of black and blue make it look “muddy.”  From anything but the closest distance it’s going to look like a big dark blob with some white line in it.  Then there’s the soccer ball…  I’m not going to fight the losing battle of “why do so many MLS clubs think they have to incorporate a ball into their crest” here, I’ll just ask a simple question:  Why is it shaded?  There’s no shading anywhere else on the entire crest!  It looks like somebody put a soccer ball sticker on the real crest and said, “Yup, perfect!”  Finally, from a visual standpoint, that is, there’s that little bit of red which seems a little bit out of place, and provides no contrast with the background.  Oh, and then there’s the problem of that red “1974” being a big fat lie.

What’s that?!  That’s right, San Jose has decided that their club has been a continuously operating entity since it was “founded” in 1974- except that it hasn’t.  It’s not even close.  Let’s take a look:

  • 1974-1982:  The San Jose Earthquakes play in the North American Soccer League (NASL).
  • 1983-1984:  The club changes its name to the Golden Bay Earthquakes.
  • 1984-1988:  The club reverts back to “San Jose” with the collapse of the NASL, joins the Western Soccer Alliance (WSA).
  • 1988:  The club is dissolved after the WSA goes out of business.
  • 1989-1993:  The club “sort of” exists (many of the same players) as the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks.
  • 1994:  San Jose is awarded an MLS franchise and the Blackhawks enter the league as the “Clash.”
  • 1994-1996:  The San Jose Clash exist, but don’t play as there is no MLS yet.
  • 1996-1999:  The San Jose Clash play in MLS.
  • 1999-2005:  The San Jose Clash changes it’s name to the San Jose Earthquakes and play in MLS.
  • 2005:  Unable to get a new stadium the club moves to Houston.  MLS Commissioner Don “Stalin” Garber states that the Earthquakes’ name, colors, logo, word mark, history and competitive records would not be transferred.
  • 2006:  The San Jose Clash begins play as the Houston Dynamo, an “expansion team.”
  • 2006-2007:  There is no MLS club in San Jose.  The San Jose Earthquakes only exist on paper.
  • 2008-present:  The San Jose Earthquakes- not an expansion team despite being entirely new from top to bottom– return to MLS play.

Even if you buy Don Garber’s making up new rules about how history is written, and even if you let the various name changes slide as something that just happens, how do you overlook the fact that the club was dissolved in 1988 and since  it’s new form emerged in 1994(?) there have been no less than four seasons when the club only existed on paper?  No players, no staff, no stadium!

The good news is that along with the is phony new logo, the club introduced new home and away uniforms!

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 8.43.19 AM

Oh, wait, those are terrible as well.  I get that they were going for “retro,” but I think they ended up with “rec league.”  If these were Umbro kits the you know that the players would have only been given one pair of shorts for both the home and away kits and that they would have been the black “checkerboard” ones with the white drawstring.  These look like something that the Ipswich Town F.C. wore in the early 1980s.  I half expected them to be modeled by John Wark.

But, after all of that negativity, there is good news!

New Columbus crew owner Anthony Precourt has announced that the club is interested in having a new logo for the 2015 season.  Without getting into too much detail he (clumsily) said that the construction workers on the current (awful) badge didn’t really represent Columbus (or words to that effect) any more and that he wanted a new crest to reflect the modern, dynamic city it had become.  There was, of course, backlash from various quarters and Precourt had to take to social media to “finesse” his original remarks, but the logic behind them is no less true.  Over and above that, the logo is, and has always been, terrible.  Luckily, in this internet age there are plenty of people out there who’ve already taken a crack at a new logo and a couple of them are just great!  First I saw this and I thought the competition was over:

cclogo1Simple, stylized, I like the skyline, I like the single star for their 2008 MLS Cup win, I like the more muted yellow, and I like that the name of the city is included.  Nice work.  But then I saw this:

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.36.46 AM

I love this- LOVE IT!!  There’s nothing like it in the league, it reminds me of a crest a German club like Hamburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach, or Schalke 04 has and, if I can be a little more obscure, with the inclusion of the hard hat and the overall “warning” label look to it, it reminds me of clubs like Chile’s CD Cobresal and other clubs whose crests directly reflect their origins as “works teams” (which Columbus isn’t, but that’s not the point!).  Should Columbus make a change they will leave only my aesthetically-challenged New England Revolution with a largely unaltered crest since their founding.

Finally, there is New York City FC, the soon to be 20th franchise in Major League Soccer.  The club has a front office, a partial coaching staff, but no stadium, no players, and importantly for this discussion, no club branding of any kind!  The club recently took to social media to begin to address that last matter.  They’ve made no promises about using anything that is submitted to them (protect your intellectual property before submitting, people!), but the mere suggestion was enough to bring the budding graphic artists out of their parent’s basements.  As you might imagine with a club that is owned by Manchester City F.C. and the New York Yankees, there were numerous attempts that were little more than the MCFC crest with a few Gotham-centric tweaks and plenty of designs that sought to shoehorn in pinstripes no matter how bad they looked, but there were some good ones, the best of which- in my learned opinion- was this:


This, to me, is the best kind of compromise.  It’s modern and stylized, but quintessentially “New York.”  It has the bridge, the skyscraper, the two shades of blue representing the two parent “companies,” the bolder font for “NYC,” it’s easily reproduced for everything from stationary to replica shirts, in short, it screams “NEW YORK” so much that I can’t help but already hate the club.  That was going to happen anyway, however, I mean the Yankees and City are involved, in my eyes they were doomed from the start.

As always, your opinions are most welcome!



One comment on “We don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!!

  1. Sculptor?!?
    February 7, 2014

    Been thinking this over for a day or so (honest!), and trying to think of something nice to say. The best I can come up with? I still am just… not impressed, by any of them.

    Columbus gets a ‘Meh.’ The first is at least clean. The second…lets just say my background is causing me to see it as a fire diamond.

    That SJE badge is pure crap though. Graphic design fail start to finish. I can’t even pile on a more scathing review than what you already gave it (seriously, any design student would have failed that grade). I just…no.

    I can’t unsee the smiling minion in the NYC badge. And now, neither can you. You’re welcome. Worse, if that’s placed too low on the shirt, it’s a tit. I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t like boobies, amirite? But yeesh, that’s not what we’re looking for either. *facepalm* (moderate disclaimer: I’d not like it purely because it’s New York, but I can at least temporarily ignore that and evaluate the logo on its own merits, of which it has few.)


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