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Premier League branding

With the most expensive football league in the world coming to an end, TMG looks back at the brand history of the Premier League. 

The worldwide popularity of the Barclays Premier League grows and develops with every season. And so has their branding.

Back in 1992 when commercialisation exploded in football, design agency Minale Tattersfield gave us the first iteration of the famous Premier League lion with it’s ‘trophy crown’. Back then the patches were embroidered and had to be stitched on. Presumably due to cost, the FA Premier League (FAPL) now use the same heat-transfer technology Sporting ID developed for shirt lettering.

The next evolution in 2001 featured a change of name and the very first sponsorship. The FA ‘green bar’ was removed  in favour of ‘Premiership’ and the shield shape was dictated by the Barcalycard logo. This was also the first time we saw official FAPL shirt lettering. The English Football Association (FA) decreed that all teams in the FAPL must use the same font for shirt names and numbers. A stretched version of the font ‘Optima’ was used. This was a smart marketing move, as fans could now pay for the privilege of having their idol’s name or indeed their own – printed on their expensive replica shirts. Obviously, this increased revenue for football clubs and the FAPL.

In 2004, the badge moved on again and adopted Barclay’s corporate colour. The current version, which was designed in 2008, features a 3D re-draw of the lion which protrudes out of the shield and a return of the ‘Premier League’, leading with with their own corporate colour.

But the FAPL didn’t stop there. A huge worldwide brand, they embraced branding and created their own assets. They adopted their own logo (without the sponsorship) with several different lock-ups. This logo always features on FAPL referees’ shirts and on the official football. A bespoke typeface was also commissioned which is used on shirts and shorts. These brand assets feature on all their communications. From annual reports to digital. They even act as a watermark on television. On Sky’s TV graphics you can see a magnificent, roaring gold lion alongside the Premier League font.

With the news of Barclays not extending their sponsorship it will be interesting to see the next logo evolution.

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