Rebranding Watford FC Through a Competition
There’s a saying that we all know that says “You get what you pay for.” Of course, this saying doesn’t apply to everything and sometimes you could get great outcomes for so little in stake. However, when it comes to wealthy franchise looking for a design through a design competition, …
There’s a saying that we all know that says “You get what you pay for.” Of course, this saying doesn’t apply to everything and sometimes you could get great outcomes for so little in stake. However, when it comes to wealthy franchise looking for a design through a design competition, the outcomes could be bad. Earlier this year we got the word that British club Watford FC was looking to redesigns its crest. Shockingly, they were not looking for any creative agency or in-house designers to design the badge; rather they created a competition where the public submitted their design. As we know design contests never turn out good so it would be interesting to see the outcome of this Watford logo.
Nicknamed the The Hornets, Watford FC was founded in 1881 in Watford, Hertfordshire by a group of local youths. Interestingly with a nickname like that, you would expect the club identity to revolve around the hornet in some sort of way. Spoiler alert… it does not. Rather than the crest being identified with the hornet, it has been a male deers head that has been the main symbols for over 100 years. In fact, the hornet has been part of their visual identity for only a decade. You may ask yourself: If they were founded in 1891, have a deer head as their main recognizable symbol, why are they called The Hornets? Well, it’s one of those curious stories of football. After playing with gold shirts and black shorts kit for the 1959–60 season, the club adopted the nickname, The hornets. The color resemblance to the hornet had an impact to Watford, that so, that through a popular vote via the supporters club they officially began calling themselves The Hornets.
Watford has only used a hornet in its logo through the years 1968-1977. With their recent growth and good performance in the Premier League, they have decided to modernize their crest through a competition. The brief for this competition is looking for a design that reflects their nickname, The Hornets. With the competition coming to the end the past weeks, the club was happy to announce that around 4000 designs had been submitted. The steps to reveal the new logo would start by narrowing the designs to 50 and from there a panel of around 900 fans will select the top 20. The final step involves the Watford supporter that are registered on the club’s database to select the winning design.
I hope Watford gets lucky and gets the design they want. Especially for the fans, which I had the chance to interact with earlier this year, and let me tell you they are amazing. So far thanks to twitter, I found a few of the designs submitted. Some are terrible and some have potential; I’m not here to bash anybody’s design because at the end of the day if that’s what the fans want, let it be it. I would say that the outcome of hiring an agency is much better. A design agency has the resources to carry out extensive research of the team and create something that suits well the history and overall the fans. So far I found a few designs that look way too similar to other clubs such as NBA teams Charlotte Hornets and Milwaukee Bucks. Also most of the designs have a bee shape icon rather than a hornet. Let’s not forget that Manchester City also uses the bee along with Brentford FC. Watford, if you happen to not be happy with the designs submitted I would encourage you to contact us. Such strong brand deserves to be given the importance it deserves.
See below a few designs found for this competition: