We’ve been helping Aston Villa build on their brand heritage and update their Club badge as well as developing broader brand assets.
Like all football clubs, Aston Villa has often updated the way it looks over time – it’s part of a Club’s evolution, and has been commonplace throughout the game’s history. The Club has had at least eight iterations of its badge over its 142 year history. As part of a wider brand review the new badge incorporates some subtle yet important changes.
Passion, Pride and Purpose
Aston Villa is a great English football institution; enjoying a proud, rich heritage which includes being a founding Club of the Football League in 1888, and one of only five English Clubs to win Club football’s most prestigious trophy – the European Cup. This heritage has been represented throughout by a lion rampant at the centre of the Club’s badge. Lions have been used for centuries as the centre-pieces of coats of arms – widely perceived as the king of beasts, they stand for values such as bravery, valour, and strength. It’s this spirit that made a heraldic lion the perfect choice by the Club’s founders to represent Aston Villa’s values. And this spirit is certainly needed now.
Asking the fans
The Club asked about the design of the current badge in fan focus groups, the feedback was that the lion in particular did not adequately capture the heritage of the Club. The lack of claws on the lion in the current badge was something that fans commented on specifically. The earlier circular badge was often referenced, and was much loved – but the shield shape was still seen by fan groups as the most associated to the Club. So from the start of the 2016/17 season, the shirt will display an updated badge, with greater emphasis placed on the heraldic lion at its heart. A rallying cry – dialling up the pride and passion.
The Club asked about the design of the current badge in fan focus groups, the feedback was that the lion in particular did not adequately capture the heritage of the Club. The lack of claws on the lion in the current badge was something that fans commented on specifically.
Craftsmanship and design befitting of Aston Villa’s history
We commissioned a renowned artist and engraver to design a heraldic lion for the badge which better reflects the Club’s heritage, history and attitude. The updated badge focuses on an enlarged and dynamic lion – its ferocity depicted in detail, which on the badge will be shown through the stitching – whilst also retaining the star honouring the Club’s European Cup win in 1982.
As part of the review of the current badge, and in association with fan focus groups, we saw that the current lion was smaller within the shield in part due to the word ‘Prepared’. This meant that the badge did not perform as well at very small sizes, notably in some digital applications. So this was addressed, both aesthetically as well as technically – without a significant change to what is a much loved badge of pride to fans. So now both the lion and initials AVFC sit larger and prouder within the shield.
The word ‘Prepared’ will always be part of the Clubs heritage and it is a word that will continue to be seen around the Club, however it has not always appeared in the badge and to the fan focus groups it was not seen as an essential part of the badge.
As part of the wider branding exercise and roll out, it’s now up to Aston Villa how and where they implement the new badge around the Club – certainly not with the large mosaic outside Villa Park itself. This in part, is the benefit of building a wider brand world, as well as retaining the badge shape.
As part of the brand tool kit for Aston Villa, we have introduced a series of textures, crops and details of the crafted lion. Beautiful hand engraved marks, detailed stitching and elegant bas-relief all form part of a broader brand world that helps support the Club, and it’s drive back to success.
We crafted these assets in several angles and crops using all of the signature Villa colours along with London-based visual effects studio Smoke & Mirrors.
Using the improved lion as a starting point, we also crafted other useful assets to use throughout the brand including a claw inspired set of icons and a bespoke primary typeface.
To bring all of these elements together into a coherent brand world we developed a set of template systems using a holding device inspired by Aston Villa’s heritage.