Established in 1958, the Canadian Football League (CFL) is, as its name very much implies, the professional league of Canadian Football. And by “Canadian Football” I don’t mean American Football that is played in Canada, no, Canadian Football is similar yet different from American Football. For example, they have three downs instead of four to advance ten yards, they have 12 players instead of 11, and defensive tackles say “Sorry” after every big hit instead of grabbing their crotch and howling like a gorilla. The CFL hosts nine teams that play an 18-game season from June to November and compete for the championship, the Grey Cup, after a three-week playoff period. Since 2010 the CFL has enjoyed growing interest and fan base and is setting itself up for more of it with the introduction of a new logo before this year’s Grey Cup this past Sunday. No design credit given.
“Our great fans will be the first to tell you: we need more fans. And in particular, we need to attract the next generation of fans, so this league is strong for years to come.”
Orridge, who assumed his duties as Commissioner last April 29, said this new approach puts the spotlight on what is true and best about the CFL today.
“It respects the past but really invites in our fans of the future,” Orridge said.
You have to give props to the old logo for trying to do something different with the obligatory maple leaf, rendering it in an italicized style and adapting to the shape of the ball with the acronym following suit. Still, not a great logo but passable (barely). The new logo is better in that it doesn’t look like it’s shooting out of a cannon and goes for the minimalist approach but the result feels odd in some ways. The holding shape is a cropped ball and it feels like, well, a ball that has been cropped, ending abruptly. The laces are too cartoonish because of their tiny size relationship to the rest of the ball. The CFL typography is the better element of the whole thing and at least they didn’t do the half-round-corner-half-not like in yesterday’s EFL post. And, surprisingly, the maple leaf is tiny and subtle.
Repeating the logo on many things sort of helps cement it as a serious logo but it lacks a certain gravitas to make it feel like the logo for the leading professional sports organization of Canadian Football. It’s not like it has to look like the NFL’s or NBA’s or MLB’s logos but this feels — mainly because of the laces — like a development league logo.
The “What We’re Made Of” (or #WWMO in hash tag parlance) campaign succeeds more in communicating the energy and status of the league. The tagline feels competitive without being too annoying about it. The video introduces the use of the Google Font Khand as the identity font, making the best possible use of a decent free font. Overall, and in part because of my preconception of typeface choice from a free library, this identity feels like it was done on a tight budget, cutting corners (or football shapes) that don’t quite allow the CFL to really take it to the next level.