Established in 1987 with a single pitch (court for us Westerners) in the Scottish town of Paisley, Powerleague is a chain of 5-a-side (5-on-5 for us Westerners) soccer pitches, which makes them tiny and adorable, smaller than regular indoor soccer and bigger than the field for Puppy Bowl. There are over 50 clubs (totaling 200 pitches) across Europe, most of them in the UK, and each of them is referred to as a club that hosts a league (officially, the Lucozade Powerleague), offers open times that can be booked, and rents its space for birthday parties and corporate events. Earlier this month Powerleague introduced a new identity for the organization and individual logos for all 50 clubs designed by Manchester-based Music.
Music worked with Powerleague and its Marketing Director Caspar Nelson, to articulate the core principles of the business. Whilst football is at its heart, capturing football culture in all its forms - the growth of women’s football, the spirit of learning to play, reflecting local allegiance and pride, and uniting people through a sense of shared passion and community - is as much a part of the Powerleague brand as the game itself.
Music provided press release
The old logo looked like a label for a new flavor of Lucozade (which is a range of energy and sports drinks) and nothing there indicated that it had to do with soccer… not being familiar with the company myself, I would have never guessed what it was. To its credit, it was well designed and it looked sporty. The new logo becomes more evident in its relationship to soccer by adopting a shield/crest as its main visual element. There is absolutely nothing unique about it but it manages to convey a lot more than the previous logo, even properly managing the endorsing relationship of Lucozade to the bigger idea of Powerleague.
The logo comes in two flavors: the one shown above where the shield is populated with the purpose of the organization in a very clear way — that somehow reminds of the Keep Calm and Carry On posters — and the one shown in the header image where the shield is smaller and empty. Both are effective, especially the full logo that works almost like the “We are Macmillan Cancer Support” logo in that the logo is always announcing exactly what it is. The typography is all simple with a dash of bland but it works.
The shield graphic has the benefit of being adaptable to Powerleague’s various entities and they all look like a nice, big, happy family.
In application, big emotive images and Lineto Brown work hand in hand to create an emotional connection built on camaraderie and talking smack (friendly smack). Like the logo, there isn’t much to it but it’s effective and attractive landing in an aesthetic somewhere between large gym chains and community centers, which is not a bad place to be.
Customer insight data indicates that 90% of players live within a 10 mile radius of the club where they play. Inspired by this idea of connection and local pride, and of Powerleague being a place to belong, not just to play, Music has designed a crest to represent each Powerleague club. Each club crest is unique and tells a place-specific story. The unifying element of each crest is the Powerleague name.
The rebrand will see all 50 Powerleague locations become community clubs, adopting a new crest. The crests have been carefully designed to avoid any colours or symbols that relate to other football teams.
Music provided press release
A fun part of the project was designing crests for each of the 50 clubs, all of them with something relevant to the city and community where they reside in while trying to avoid references to professional soccer teams. Individually, none of these are very good — they all have a rushed, made-in-bulk feel unfortunately — but collectively they are at least a fun, weirdly cohesive group of logos. I like the freedom they took in letting the club names fall whichever way the illustration called for, whether it’s at an angle, on a curve, stacked, etc., and it wouldn’t be good sportsmanship to not acknowledge the effort of doing 50 logos in a similar style and providing each club a source of pride and token of belonging to something, which is, indeed, commendable.
Overall, this seems like a solid update that, above all, genuinely comes across as being undertaken to give the players and customers something for them, to make them feel part of something bigger, that makes a 5-on-5 game have higher stakes, and that makes each club feel like a micro community.