Design Patterns in Football Crests

Mario Mendez

Digital Media Designer

Football is, without a doubt, the world’s most popular sport. Spanning every populated continent on Earth, almost every country has a professional or, at least, a semi professional football league. That means, yes, people get paid just to play this sport in front of other people. The people that watch and pay to see the games are called fans. They usually get attached and support a specific team, wether it represents their school, their city or their country. Sometimes fans will even support a team that doesn’t even represent their hometown, just because they have a number of very good players, or because they have a cool uniform and crest.

Old British Football Crests Design

The  crest is a very important part of any professional sports team. People identify with it, defend its honour in pubs or on the street in hand to hand combat, and , most important of all, will usually pay very high sums of money to get any kind of merchandise with the crest on it. So team owners should pay a lot of attention to it.

In contrast to traditional brands, football crests usually follow some simple design patterns. Most of them have a symbol similar to a shield, a circle or a combination of these elements with some other ornamental patterns.
Even with the diverse backgrounds of countries football teams come from most of these symbols remain relatively the same.   Coming up next, we’ll see some of the coolest crest designs from all over the world.

Seattle Sounders- United States

Being just 20 years old, the American MLS league features some very modern crests on some of their teams. One of our favourites is the Seattle Sounders shield with the iconic Space Needle on its centre. The mix of green and blue and the slick font with the traditioanl shield shape  make this crest one of the best.

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Columbus Crew- United States

Featuring a photo realistic image, something very unusual on a crest, of what seems to be construction workers, this MLS crest keeps the traditional shield shape with a very interesting combination of colours. Crew players are seen as ‘tough’ just because of this design alone.

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Pumas UNAM – Mexico

We are pretty sure this is the only rounded triangle crest in the world. The “Puma” in the crest is actually made of the letters S, A, M, U, P (Pumas, spelled backwards) and it has been representing the University of Mexico professional football team for 50 years now. And if you are wondering, yes, Latin America is the only region of the world where public universities have professional football teams.

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Boca Juniors – Argentina

It is common practice for football teams to add stars to their crest after every championship they win, however, there comes a point where there is no more room to show more stars. This happened to Argentine club Boca Juniors, whose emblem shows the number of championship they won until 1970, when they ran out of space.  Although the emblem is powerful and very good looking, there seems to be a serious lack of planning when they decided to do this, like if they didn’t imagine they could win so many titles in a short period of time. It’s like if the United States kept adding more states but stopped adding stars representing them to the flag.

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Vasco da Gama- Brazil

Named after the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, this club started as a rowing team (hence the name of a sailor man), and later added more sports, like football. The red cross caravel placed inside the black and white shield makes this crest a powerful image hard to forget that sends a strong message. It’s like a conquistador’s pennant coming to invade your land.

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St. Patrick’s Athletic – Ireland

Instead of going for the typical green shamrock to represent St. Patrick, the Supersaints decided to add a fishing hook and some sea waves to the crest, adding another team that uses maritime references to their image. The club motto is “Ni neart go cur le chéile” (in Gaelic). It translates to “No strength without unity”.

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FC Barcelona – Spain

Probably the world’s most popular club, FC Barcelona is also one of the most politicized teams in history thanks to Catalonya’s struggle for independency from Spain. Its crest represent St. George’s Cross, the symbol of Barcelona City, then the Catalan Senyera (national flag), and at the bottom the traditional red and blue and a football ball from the 19th Century.

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Yokohama Marinos – Japan

Even a very isolated, culturally and aesthetically speaking, society like the Japanese follows very ‘Western’ patterns for their ‘J-League’ team’s crests. You wouldn’t know this crest is from a Japanese team if it were not for the ‘Yokohama’ name. Even their nickname is in Spanish (Marinos = Seamen). Another important characteric worth pointing out are the  Greek Laurel Leaves surrounding the shield, a very common element of crests worldwide.

There are more cool looking crests out there but it would be impossible to show all the good ones here. Is there one that comes to your mind that you would like to show us? Feel free to share it!