Announced on October 2014, Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) will be an expansion franchise for Major League Soccer, beginning play in 2018. Owned by a number of usual businessmen, the team also features celebrity and sports owners like Will Ferrell, Magic Johnson, and Mia Hamm. With a 22,000-seat stadium in the works, LAFC will join the LA Galaxy as the second team in Los Angeles, further establishing the demand and growth for Soccer in the U.S.. The team introduced their new logo las week and the credit is a little convoluted: “developed and designed by Spark International co-founder Thai Nguyen and the creative team of Tue Nguyen and Matthew Wolff”. (Although it looks like Matthew did all the hard work).
The crest, “100% made of Los Angeles,” derived its outline from the Seal of the City, incorporating an Art Deco-inspired typeface (Neutraface) based on the signage of architect Richard Neutra, a nod to Downtown Los Angeles’ rich collection of buildings designed in that style. Pitch Black and California Gold color the crest, and are meant to embody the success, urban texture and glamour of Los Angeles. A flash of Glory Red represents the team’s home in the heart of the city, with Asphalt and Wolff Gray complements. The “LA” monogram incorporates a wing intended to pay homage to the “City of Angels” with its power, mobility and aspirational nature. The four blades represent the four club pillars, and the city’s founding date of Sept. 4, 1781.
Like those moments when you come out from a dark place (a theater, say, not your soul) and it takes your eyes a minute or two to adjust to the bright light, that’s what it felt like to see this logo. It took me a few minutes to register it as it’s quite unexpected. There is no abstracted soccer ball, there are no swooshes, there is no spiky typography… it barely looks like a sports logo. (There is a shield, so that does give it away). Not only does it not look like a sports logo, it looks like something old and historical. The Art Deco-ish monogram and typography are quite a surprise, looking more like a glamorous after-party for The Oscars, or having a flair of what people in New Hollywood would call Old Hollywood. All to say that I mildly like it. It definitely speaks to a very Hollywood-esque aesthetic that couldn’t be pulled off by another team in another city and the gold and black color palette is an interesting (and high-class) counterpoint to the more aggressive Oakland/LA Raiders of silver and black. The wing could probably be done in a more convincing way so that it didn’t look like a fish fin but it gets the point across and it solves the giant counterspace between the two letters successfully.
Not much in application, just a few samples from the shop. The gold and black combo will win a lot of casual fans and will look great when the stadium is full of fans wearing it. There is a peek at what an LAFC wordmark looks like and it’s not bad either. Overall, bonus points for going in a direction that diverges from current trends and for making something that actually feels like it belongs in the city where the team is based.
Thanks to Kjell Ryerson for the tip.