Logos We Love (Soccer Edition)

We simply couldn’t continue our “Logos We Love” series without dissecting some iconic branding from a shared Athletics passion: soccer.

Our curiously high number of soccer heads in the studio has lead to work with MLS, and Nashville SC, among other teams. Today, Athletics Associate Strategy Director Matt Colangelo and Senior Designer Ana Realmuto take on the difficult task of selecting their favorite team crests. Enjoy!

Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras

Matt Colangelo: “The chaotic magic that is the Palmeiras logo was decades in the making. The original green, white, and red interlocking P-I initials of Palestra Italia was nixed during WWII (because of anti-Axis/anti-Italian sentiment) and the club’s name changed to Palestra de Sao Paolo. The “new” logo of 1942 took on today’s depth-of-field—stars drifting away from the name with the P initial in a shield. Palestra soon became Palmeiras (Portuguese for palm tree), in reference to the club’s track record of winning.”

Borussia Dortmund

Ana Realmuto: “First of all, Bundesliga has the best crests. Second of all, I know Dortmund’s badge looks like a street sign and that’s why I love it. Although the crest has gone through some variations, they all are basically the same version of each other (minus the few years they went rogue with this lion). The simple yellow circle with staggered letters has been a mark of the team since the 40’s and I’m optimistic it won’t go anywhere anytime soon.”

Newcastle United F.C.

Matt: “Newcastle’s bubble-letter NUFC logo only lasted five years (1983-1988), but it has rightfully achieved cult status among supporters. It shouted, overwrought heritage and heraldry begone. This is the ‘80s. No more Castle Keep. No more River Tyne. No more mythical seahorses (half fish, half actual horse). This beauty focused on the club’s name and nickname (the Magpies), trading affected heraldic heritage for 80s attitude.”

S.S.C. Bari

Ana: “No one is beating this, this thing rules. The Italian club has gone through a few different versions of the beloved rooster but this is by far my favorite. This crest is reduced down to just the basics and doesn’t sacrifice an ounce of personality in the process.”

Celtic F.C.

Matt: “I grew up a lapsed Catholic boy in Massachusetts rooting for the Boston Celtics. So I’m probably biased in my love of Celtic kit. But this crest has always felt so timeless and uncompensating. Nothing says badass like eleven cleated goons (Roy Keane, Thomas Gravesen, and John Hartson all wore the hoops) running onto the pitch with a four-leaf clover over their hearts.”

Valencia C.F.

Ana: “Legend has it, a bat landed on top of some king’s flag bringing Valencia good luck and ultimately winning the land back from the Moors. Beyond the fact that a bat is their good luck charm, there’s literally nothing wrong with this crest. The stripes. The rudimentary ball. The black outline. No complaints. They pass with flying colors.”

Inter Milan

Matt: “I’m a lifelong (AC) Milan fan, so including Inter’s old logo in this list feels somewhat blasphemous. But it’s meant as a not-so-veiled insult to their current logo—a derivative, hyper-minimalized I-M number that replaced Inter’s iconic overlapping letters in 2021. Inter will always be a tangle of IMFC to me.”

A.S. Roma

Ana: “I’m sorry, but this badge incorporates a literal she-wolf feeding two godly babies. If that isn’t iconic, I don’t know what is. The imagery is a reference to the myth of Romulus and Remus and has led to a favorite nickname of mine, I Lupi, meaning The Wolves.”