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Two Shields are Better than One

Reviewed Apr. 13, 2008 by Armin

Industry / Sports Tags /

Seattle Sounders FC, Logo

The Major League Soccer (MLS), currently in the process of expanding from 13 to 16 teams by 2010, recently announced its 14th team, the Seattle Sounders FC as an expansion team. The Seattle Sounders FC were named after a public poll that included the names Seattle Alliance, Seattle FC and Seattle Republic (you can read the rationalizations for these names here) as well as providing a “write-in” option for the fans to propose something they liked. With 14,500 registered fans, 50% of the votes were write-in options and, from those, 49% offered a variation on the name of Sounders. Now, I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the history of Seattle soccer — I certainly wasn’t — but the Sounders is a name associated with Seattle soccer since the 1970s, first with the Seattle Sounders that played in the North American Soccer League from ‘74 to ‘83, and currently as the Seattle Sounders — four-time champions! — of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division since ‘94. The MLS’ Seattle Sounders will use “FC” (Football Club) to differentiate themselves from the USL Seattle Sounders… although I’m not clear if the USL Sounders are going away. At first I couldn’t understand who would call themselves the “sounders” but, I’m guessing, it’s in honor of Seattle’s Puget Sound, the body of water that’s their pride and joy.

Drew Carey

Minority owner Drew Carey. No, this picture adds nothing to the identity discussion, but he’s funny to look at.

With a name and some celebrity ownership in place — Joe Roth, a heavy-hitting movie producer and director is a majority owner while bespectacled comedian Drew Carey is a minority owner — the Seattle Sounders FC presented their inaugural logo, designed by DNA Brand Mechanics: A double-shielded, single-bannered, Space Needle-wielding badge. And some fancy press releasing to go with it:

The badge represents the organization’s personality, image, core competencies and characteristics. This design is loosely based on a heraldic shield, which helped identify combatants who were otherwise hidden by their armor.

The Seattle Sounders FC badge was developed with two distinct layers to represent the partnership between the ownership, the community, the players and the fans.

The partners are all united under one banner which carries the team name.


General Manager Adrian Hanauer at the logo announcement.

There are one too many pieces of flair in this logo: two shields, multiple strokes, banner, illustration, spikiness. It’s so elaborate that it almost works in its excess and it can’t help but signify energy and dynamism, so it’s hard to fault it for trying to so hard. I have a real problem with the double shield, it’s overly redundant and feels like they couldn’t pick one style of shield over the other so they just went with both. The Space Needle illustration is actually quite nice, it’s dramatic and recognizable but, of course, it’s pretty clichéic. I’m torn on this logo: I don’t quite like it, but it works nicely for a new sports team, as a badge it fits within the visual language of soccer, and, above all, it’s not another angry animal.

Seattle Sounders FC Introduction Video and Crest Unveiling. Please, please watch the last minute of this video — that’s how you present a logo.


Thanks to Stefan Udziela for the tip.



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