Established in 1874, Aston Villa Football Club is one of the oldest and most successful football clubs in English football. They are one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888 as well as of the Premier League in 1992 and they are one of only five English Clubs to win the European Cup. They are based in Aston, Birmingham, England, where they have played at Villa Park stadium since 1897. Earlier this month, the Villa introduced a revised logo designed by London-based SomeOne.
The Club asked about the design of the current badge in fan focus groups, the feedback was that the lion in particular did not adequately capture the heritage of the Club. The lack of claws on the lion in the current badge was something that fans commented on specifically. The earlier circular badge was often referenced, and was much loved - but the shield shape was still seen by fan groups as the most associated to the Club. So from the start of the 2016/17 season, the shirt will display an updated badge, with greater emphasis placed on the heraldic lion at its heart. A rallying cry - dialling up the pride and passion.
We commissioned a renowned artist and engraver to design a heraldic lion for the badge which better reflects the Club’s heritage, history and attitude. The updated badge focuses on an enlarged and dynamic lion - its ferocity depicted in detail, which on the badge will be shown through the stitching - whilst also retaining the star honouring the Club’s European Cup win in 1982.
As in previous SomeOne projects (A, B) they have worked with Christopher Wormell — maybe he should just come on staff! — to create and instant sense of tradition and longevity through a beautiful, detailed engraving that serves as both the basis for the revised logo and the key visual element in the identity in the form of a 3D rendering that can be used at different angles and color variations.
As part of the review of the current badge, and in association with fan focus groups, we saw that the current lion was smaller within the shield in part due to the word ‘Prepared’. This meant that the badge did not perform as well at very small sizes, notably in some digital applications. So this was addressed, both aesthetically as well as technically - without a significant change to what is a much loved badge of pride to fans. So now both the lion and initials AVFC sit larger and prouder within the shield.
The old logo was fine and it’s funny how harmless the old lion now looks with the missing claws. The new logo is a simple evolution that very much improves on the old one. The lion drawing is much more accentuated through the claws and wilder hair/fur so at small sizes the wispy ends will still come across. I’m sure purists will hate the fact that “PREPARED” has been removed from the shield but as someone who doesn’t care at all about the team, removing it makes for a much better, higher functioning logo that increases the impact of the lion. Even the star is an improvement, sitting right in the middle of the “A”, so it feels less like it’s floating. Would have been nice to get a new “AVFC” wordmark in the shield that is more visually in tune with the new lion but I guess that change wasn’t on the table.
The embroidered badge does a great job in translating some of the texture of the engraving into textile. It’s probably much more expensive and time consuming to do the embroidery going in different directions, so major props for doing the extra effort on achieving a great textural effect on the lion.
Using the improved lion as a starting point, we also crafted other useful assets to use throughout the brand including a claw inspired set of icons and a bespoke primary typeface.
Things get weird after the lion, with the addition of a custom font and icon set that look as if a lion clawed at the insides of the characters and shapes. Both things feel very different to the vibe established by the engraving. The icons in particular take away from the elegance of the engraving. These don’t show up in the prototype applications either, so it’s very confusing for them to even be presented at all.
In application, things don’t quite blend together. The tickets and printed materials feel like they have one too many fonts and the wrong kind of white space, while the merchandise doesn’t feel exciting or covetable, almost looking old. The idea of using the monochrome 3D lion has potential but it seems the right execution in layout hasn’t arrived and the use of the stitched version in the backgrounds doesn’t have the finesse of the 3D one. Overall, strong and sensible logo evolution but lackluster applications.