Established in 1913 — originally as United States Football Association and later as United States Soccer Football Association — the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer for short) is the governing body of soccer in all its forms in the United States. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, it manages the men’s and women’s national soccer teams that represent the U.S. at the World Cup and other tournaments as well as the Olympics and Paralympics. U.S. Soccer oversees youth development leagues, operates the National Training Center at StubHub Center in Carson, CA, sanctions referees, and pretty much helps fuel the increasing love of soccer in the U.S.. Yesterday, the organization introduced a new logo designed by Nike and a new proprietary type family by Type Supply.
The process of the rebrand began in earnest about two years ago with U.S. Soccer providing input and insight to the design team at Nike. The collaborative effort went through hundreds of different iterations before arriving on a look that is modern, aggressive, youthful and timeless. The unveiling of the updated crest aligns the visual identity of the Federation with its position as a leader in sport. It represents limitless possibilities for what soccer is today and will become in America.
This design embodies the spirit of U.S. Soccer, but it also transcends our teams and the game. It’s uniquely and unmistakably American.
[…] Notably, the new identity no longer features stars or a ball. In soccer tradition, stars are placed above the logo to represent World Cup victories. The WNT crest will prominently feature the three stars earned in 1991, 1999 and most recently, the historic 2015 victory.
[…]The new crest also does not include the soccer ball that has been featured in the past two iterations.
The old logo, designed in 1995, was mostly bad but nothing offensive in execution. It was regularly criticized for the stripes being blue instead of red as in the American flag but I find the stars more annoying than that detail as they look like metal stars you buy at antique stores. The main problem with the logo was that every element had its own aesthetic and the only thing that kept it together was literally being inside a crest shape.
The new logo is much simpler and efficient, dropping the stars and the soccer ball while doubling down on the U.S.A.-ness of it. The stripes have been corrected to be red and white and include all 13 from the flag while the “USA” lettering fits snuggly in the straightforward crest shape. There are no unnecessary curves to the crest, it has a good proportion, and it looks confident. The lettering is bold, striking, and mostly well executed… as much as I don’t like half rounded corners on letters, the top corner of the right stem of the “U” should have been rounded to mirror that of the “A”, as everything else is symmetric. Nonetheless, it’s a strong evolution and, probably more important than the logo representing soccer, it represents the U.S. and the merchandise has the potential to sell well beyond soccer fans. Heck, it’s better than the official Brand USA logo.
To introduce the new logo, U.S. Soccer sent out 10,000 packages with a VR device and scarf with the goal of lighting social media on fire. I don’t follow soccer on social media so I can’t tell if it worked but from looking at the Instagram accounts of men’s and women’s national teams it wasn’t too hot. ESPN has collected some of them and The New York Times has a good story on the unveiling approach that cost in the “seven figures”.
In addition, U.S. Soccer unveils its official font, 90Minutes, a unique custom look designed by renowned typeface designer Tal Leming to complement the lettermarks used in the crest and allow for the integration of text with the crest.
The identity comes with a new type family by Tal Leming of Type Supply — he goes into every detail here — and the best thing about it it’s that it’s not a geometric sans! Goool! U.S. Soccer, as Tal explains, had been using his type family, United, to good effect so switching to something else was almost as big a deal as changing the logo. The new type family was based on a first headline font designed by Nike, which was on the awful side, with very wonky construction and poorly resolved structure. I’m not a huge fan of the aesthetic of the new type family. The half rounded corners still bug me but it’s undeniably a well thought-out and very well developed type system. The numerals are pretty cool and will be one of the most visible elements as they will appear on jerseys. The font lacks the FORCE attitude of United but it has a more sophisticated feel that is fitting for the increased reputation of the national teams.
Overall, logo looks good, type looks good, website looks good. Nothing earth-shattering but given how easily things can go South in large redesigns this held up well in what I’m sure was a grueling approval and consensus process.
Plans are in development for coming back to Europe in Spring of 2018 with the current top contender host city of Barcelona.