“Chicago Fire Football Club (Est. 1997) is an American professional soccer club based in Chicago, Illinois. The team competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference, having moved to the conference in 2002. The franchise is named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and was founded as the Chicago Fire Soccer Club on October 8, 1997, the event’s 126th anniversary. The team began play in 1998 as one of the league’s first expansion teams. The Fire won the MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup in their first season in 1998. They also won U.S. Open Cups in 2000, 2003, and 2006, in addition to the 2003 MLS Supporters’ Shield. In 2015, the club won the first ever MLS Wooden Spoon, and repeated the feat in 2016. The Fire’s home stadium is Soldier Field.” (Wikipedia)
Designer | Agency
Doubleday & Cartwright (Venice, CA and Brooklyn, NY
Should you update the existing logo or should you do a full on rebrand? This is a big question for football clubs as well as any other national-level sports team considering such a move. These types of rebrand projects have lead to complete revulsion, angry rants and ultimately resigned indifference but there have been some success stories. We don’t have to be afraid as designers to do such work but we have to fully understand why it is necessary to do so. After all, re-branding can offer an organization to make a new second impression to a new audience attracting new customers; but at what cost?
According to the agency’s design rational: The Chicago Fire’s badge honors the founding legend of city. After the Great Fire of 1871 razed the city to ashes, the people of Chicago stood on it’s ashes and were determined to rebuild it from the ground up. “At the center of our badge, the Fire Crown — with flames inverted to become a crown — tells the story of a dramatic rebirth, and how it became the legend of our city’s people.”
The old logo captured the heroism of the fire department badge but that wonky “C” seemed like a flawed decision in the end. The new logo has been met with a TON of disdain and dare I say hate (check out the replies on the team’s Twitter announcement). I don’t necessarily hate the logo by any stretch, I wouldn’t feel I need to defend it in any way. The rational concept of using the Great Chicago fire and the idea of mirroring a flame into a crown is interesting at best but the execution falls a bit flat. One of the most valid arguments against it is the use of a gold crown, a symbol associated with one of the most violent gangs in the U.S., Chicago’s very own Latin Kings. Visually, it’s confusing and somewhat beige and why all the negative space? I will admit that the secondary logos are somewhat more interesting and it looks great on the merchandise. It’s just not as bad as people are making it out to be but something tells me something a little extreme would have worked better. Cleaning up the original logo and modernizing it a bit may have been a better approach. So it remains to be seen if the club will stick with the rebranded logo or not.