20th century football writing and nostalgia in a skilled and cultured groove
The Joy Of Minimalist Badge Design
In common with most modern football clubs, Liverpool intermittently commission new versions of the club’s badge to use for different sporting or commercial purposes. There’s one contemporary example that was first introduced in 1999 and still features extensively on club merchandise that I really struggle to get on with; indeed I would go as far as to say it’s one of the worst logos to be found anywhere in the world game.
I’d call it the busy one, the badge (above) which in design terms unashamedly apes the ethos that nothing exceeds like excess. Count the different elements: the club name, the heraldic shield, the year the club was founded, a cormorant, the Shankly Gates, the song name closely associated with the club, a couple of flaming torches and some decorative ribbon – eight different components vying for your attention in a small graphical area. The club does at least have a more minimalist alternative that is a hark back to a bona fide Liverpool classic badge (below), the crest used between 1969 and 1987, but it plays very much second fiddle to that busy eyesore.
Of course badge aesthetics are like shirt designs and so a matter of individual taste, but personally I most certainly have always belonged in the less is more camp. To my eyes most of the greatest club badges in the world also happen – not coincidentally – to be the simplest and most pared down. But what happens if you take the concept of ‘less’ design to its logical extreme? Well, imagine the reaction were Liverpool to unveil a new club crest that was free of any typographical components apart from a single, capital letter L? (imagine the early Legia Warsaw logo below in red).
If that doesn’t do it for you then how about we add in one other element, perhaps a number to signify the year the club was founded – like the Berlin club SV Lichtenberg 47 (below). These are examples of graphic design and branding at its minimalistic purest: the essence of a sporting institution broken down into a single letter acronym. It’s a stylistic approach to football logo design that’s virtually unknown in the British game, but has been a common design standard around the rest of the footballing world over the past century.
So I’ve painstakingly assembled a collection of nearly 200 examples of minimalist badges for BTLM – a veritable A-Z of modern stylishness – and once you too have viewed them I’m sure you’ll be wholly persuaded that this is the design language that all clubs should follow for their badges.
The criteria to qualify: single-letter club name acronyms (with the very occasional two character badge that has especially impressed us). Numbers are fine too as is other non-character adornment within reason. Some of the logos featured are older or alternate versions of that club’s contemporary badge; some of the badges are of female football clubs and the provenance of most of the collection is Germany, a country with a wonderful eye for visual football design in general.
The gallery is below and it will also reside as a permanent page on BTLM called The Joy Of Minimalist Badge Design that you can access via the link or by clicking on the image below. I’m always on the look out for new additions, so get in touch if you have any submissions.