The Graphic Design of Mexican Fútbol
I cannot help it, every time I watch a soccer game, besides the excitement of the match, I pay particular attention to the visual representation of the team. That is, the team’s badge, colors, uniform and how all of these elements affect the overall brand image of the organization. Today’s …
I cannot help it, every time I watch a soccer game, besides the excitement of the match, I pay particular attention to the visual representation of the team. That is, the team’s badge, colors, uniform and how all of these elements affect the overall brand image of the organization.
Today’s post surveys the state of design of the Mexican first division, a league established in 1943. From 2012 the league comprised of 18 participating clubs. To give you a bit of history, each season the league holds two tournaments: the Apertura, which starts in the summer, and the Clausura, which starts in the winter. The league is currently ranked number 11 in the world and number 10 in the last decade (2001–2010) by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics).
If you grew up in Mexico, like me, you’d agree that team badges are a big part of the visual landscape of the entire country. However, have you ever wondered how good their designs are from a professional point of view? In today’s post, I will review them for you. Note that this post has nothing to do with the team’s performance in the field.
That said, here we go, starting with the bad ones and saving the best for last:
18. CHIAPAS FC
What can I say? This is just wrong in so many levels, the sad part is that the team recently re-designed their badge and, to be honest, I’m not sure which one is worst. They shouldn’t have bothered.
17. CLUB TIJUANA
Founded in 2007, The Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente, commonly referred to as Xolos de Tijuana, or simply Xolos, has such a bad logo. The abstraction of the xoloitzcuintle dog is way too busy and it lacks any sophistication. I know few talented designers in Tijuana who’d have done a stellar job in creating a badge that does justice to the Mexican hairless dog.
16. TIBURONES ROJOS DE VERACRUZ
Their nickname Tiburones Rojos means red sharks, too bad they settled for a clip-art looking red shark. Overall this badge looks more like a drink coaster. Hey Mr. Fidel Kuri Grajales, please hire us to design something better for you.
14. PUEBLA F.C.
I read that this club was first founded in 1904 by an Englishmen who integrated it into the Mexican football league during the amateur era. I regret such Englishman aesthetics’ were not inspired by the English Premier League.
13. QUERETARO F.C.
This year the original Querétaro team disappeared after Chiapas relocated to Querétaro and became the Gallos Blancos (White Roosters). Along came a brand re-design that, sadly, is not working: The proportions are wrong; The ‘Q’ is barely noticeable; and, I’m sure it’s a nightmare to reproduce when printed at small scale.
12. CRUZ AZUL
Cruz Azul is ranked 36th in the IFFHS rankings of August 2010 and is the top-ranked team among CONCACAF and Mexico. While appropriate, the badge design is boring and expected. This is another one that needs to be put in the drink coaster category.
11. TIGRES UANL
The badges start to get slightly better from now on. The Tigres design is ok, it just needs simplification and more contrast in the color palette. The rectangle is too plain and not too friendly. Overall, a missed opportunity.
10. CLUB LEON
The shield’s shape is a modification of the French Empire style. This shape usually works in fútbol badges as shown here or on a couple of badges of the English Premier League. I don’t like the style of the soccer ball; it’s plain and clip-arty and it doesn’t work in harmony with the rest of the design.
9. F.C. PACHUCA
In the last ten years, Pachuca has been one of the most successful clubs in Mexico. To make its badge more graphically successful, I’d redesign the graphic in the middle. Stylistically, it doesn’t work with the rest. While at it, the typography needs to be re-visited as well.
8. MONARCAS MORELIA
Overall, this badge has a robust graphic impact. Although the different elements can be integrated better, the color palette and proportions work. With a name as rich as Monarcas, this badge is another missed opportunity. Imagine that instead of having a boringly-drawn ball at the center of the badge, the designer would have placed something more interesting. A re-design is due, maybe?
7. C.F. MONTERREY
Founded on June 28, 1945, it is the oldest active team in the professional division from the northern part of Mexico. Although its badge is modern and forward-looking, I think something got lost in the recent redesign. I feel the designers traded sleekness for the soul.
6. C.D. GUADALAJARA
Guadalajara is the only football club in Mexico to exclusively field Mexican players and has been the launching pad of many internationally successful players, including Javier Hernández, Carlos Vela, Omar Bravo, and Carlos Salcido among many others. The team’s three colors (red, white, and blue) symbolize “Fraternity, Union, and Sports.” Overall, the badge works, if anything it’s a bit busy and, I’m sure, it’s difficult to reproduce on a small scale.
5. CLUB AMERICA
Perhaps one of the most recognizable badges in Mexican fútbol, America’s visual presence is inescapable. The vibrant palette of primary yellow, red and blue makes it impossible to miss. From a branding point of view, this is a good thing. While I appreciate its boldness, I don’t appreciate the harmony of the elements. Give it a few refinements and this will be a winning badge.
4. C.F. ATLANTE
Overall, the Atlante badge looks authentic and can sit alongside some of the best in the world. The typography seems to be going up symbolizing a moving-forward energy. The bright colors make it stand out. The badge shows pride in its country by introducing the colors of the Mexican flag in the center stage. The crest boasts the Old French shield style and is appropriate for the fútbol category.
3. CLUB ATLAS
Apparently, Club Atlas was founded in a bar of Guadalajara, Mexico, where a few friends recalled their football experience at English college squads where they had spent the last few years. The team was founded in 1916 and ever since their badge has remained faithful to its original design. The original logo design was created by artist Carlos Stahal, who, allegedly drew it in less than 20 minutes! The end result is a winning badge that has managed to stay timeless even at almost 100 years old!
2. DEPORTIVO TOLUCA F.C.
This badge looks regal. It reminds me of the Real Madrid and France’s AS Monaco FC. I can easily see it anywhere in Europe along some of the best. The laurel leaves hints of competition and victory. The typography is old-style but it works well. I would proudly wear this badge. And that is precisely what a badge should do: make one proud.
1. CLUB UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL
The Pumas wanted, from the start, to show that they are a different kind of team and its badge shows it. The blue triangle with the rounded corners contains a carefully drawn puma. Its simplicity makes the mark stronger and highly recognizable. The animal’s eyes and the nose make up the letter ‘U’ in a subtle yet clever way. Unlike many other badges, the ‘U’ is fully integrated into the symbol. The perfect symmetry is flawless, the lines are clean and the proportions are just right.
The gold and blue color palette show strength and harmony. The master behind the design is Manuel Andrade Rodríguez a.k.a. ‘el Pajarito Andrade.’ It took the designer hundreds of sketches to come up with this winning design
The badge is a classic. Even though it was created more than 30 years ago, it has never been modified or refined. It’s strong, powerful, solid, dynamic, memorable and easy to reproduce. What else can we ask of a badge? Also, I was happy to see that this logo doesn’t have the tiring drawing of a ball or any unnecessary ornamentation, it simply doesn’t need it. It’s great the way it is. Go Pumas!