CHICAGO(June 18, 2021) - Chicago Fire FC today unveiled the Club’s new primary crest and visual identity following a months-long, fan-focused project that saw more than 20,000 Fire fans, supporters, and Chicagoans at large add their voice to the creation of the new identity. Crafted by soccer identity specialist Matthew Wolff, the new crest’s core elements were inspired by the collective voice of Fire fans through a series of roundtables, website submissions, surveys and social media responses. Wolff spent more than six months exclusively focused on the project working alongside the Club and its fans.
“As much as this project was about the creation of a new crest for the Chicago Fire, it was also about renewing a spirit of cooperation and collaboration with our fans,” said Fire Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto. “We made a commitment in January to welcome anyone who wanted to lend their voice to this project and the result is a crest that was fully and completely inspired by what we heard from our fans and supporters. We’re hopeful all will wear the new crest with pride and feel it represents not only this storied Club, but also the great city of Chicago.”
The new crest’s primary elements - a six-pointed star contained within the letter “C,” surrounded by a modernized Florian cross incorporating the Chicago city flag colors - were the most commonly requested items across all fan touchpoints. Over the course of the project - which kicked off January 8, 2021 - the Club heard from all 77 Chicago community areas, 152 cities across Illinois, 28 states, and 10 countries outside of the U.S.
Fan involvement was significant and saw:
- 225,000+ words written via website submission
- 500+ hours of dedicated time from fans via roundtables
- 10,000+ fan responses via social media
“This was the most unique branding project I’ve ever been a part of,” said Wolff. “Hearing from fans - both new and old - while I was designing was so inspiring. I hope we’ve created something that can represent this historic Club and city for generations to come.”
The new crest features a number of elements inspired by the history of both the city and Club:
- A pointed notch on the back of the “C” and the use of the Florian cross are both nods to similar features in the original Club badge
- Much like Chicago after the Great Fire, the “C” at the center of the new crest was built on a grid system and was constructed using 45-degree and 90-degree angles
- The use of color in the crest was directly inspired by the color structure of the Chicago city flag in which the colors red and flag blue are fully separated by white
In addition to the new primary crest, Wolff also designed a custom wordmark, and two secondary marks: a stylized municipal device surrounded by six star points - another nod to the original Fire badge - and a mark featuring the word “FIRE” separated by two flag blue bars. The latter was inspired by the tattoo of longtime Fire supporter Pattrick Stanton.
“I got my Fire tattoo back in 2009 after seeing the flags my fellow supporter Liam Murtaugh designed,” said Stanton. “That my tattoo has now inspired Matt Wolff’s design of a new mark in 2021 is a real honor. I can’t wait to see it in use at Soldier Field.”
The Club also today announced plans for a week-long celebration October 4-8, culminating with a Club event on Friday, Oct. 8 - the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire as well as the date of the Club’s founding in 1997 at Navy Pier. The festivities that week will include the reveal of all-new apparel, a series of giveaways, and other special activations and events to be announced at a later date.
The all-new apparel line will launch as part of the week’s festivities and will include new pieces from adidas, Fanatics, Mitchell & Ness and New Era, among others. Several items in the Mitchell & Ness and New Era collection were designed by Wolff and will be limited in quantity. Fans are encouraged to sign up for the Club’s new crest email list for updates on apparel offerings at ChicagoFireFC.com/email.
In the meantime, a limited number of items featuring the new crest will be available at upcoming Chicago Fire matchdays at Soldier Field. The first opportunity to secure an item featuring the new crest is on July 3 when the Fire take on Atlanta United FC at Soldier Field. 10,000 woven patches will be given away upon entry on a first-come, first-served basis. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. CT with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. CT. The Club recently announced that the match on July 3 will mark the debut of its full fan experience, including the lifting of capacity restrictions. Single-game tickets for July 3 and all remaining home matches in 2021 are on sale now via ChicagoFireFC.com and ticketmaster.com.
The current Fire Crown badge will remain in use across all areas of the Club – including on the team’s kits – until the end of the 2021 season. The new crest will be in full use at the start of the 2022 preseason as the club prepares for its 25th season in MLS.
This year’s secondary kit – the white Lakefront shirt – will carry over into 2022 and will feature the new crest. Next year, the Club will unveil a new navy blue primary kit that has been in production for more than a year and will be worn during the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Design for the next home kit will begin in the Spring of 2022 as the team prepares to formally return to red home kits for the 2024 season.
rEvolution, a Chicago-based sports marketing and media agency, assisted the Club in developing the fan engagement opportunities during the crest project and will continue to assist in upcoming campaigns. The firm has served as the Fire’s marketing and fan experience agency since 2019. The Club was also supported during the project by local design firm Studio/lab and the Stand for Chicago Council, whose members included Tracy Baim, Drew Conner, Liz Flores, Sarah Gorden, Sentrock and Dwight White.
The Fire travels to Columbus tomorrow for the final match at Historic Crew Stadium with kickoff slated for 6:30 p.m. CT on WGN-TV. The Fire then returns home for two matches at Soldier Field: Wednesday, June 23 versus FC Cincinnati and Saturday, June 26 against the Philadelphia Union.
ABOUT MATTHEW WOLFF [matthewwolff.com]
A designer and art director, Matthew Wolff has developed visual identities for clubs at every level of the American soccer pyramid, including Chicago Fire FC, LAFC, NYCFC, Oakland Roots SC, Green Bay Voyageurs FC, Union Omaha, FC Tulsa, Charleston Battery, Louisville City FC, Racing Louisville FC and NJ/NY Gotham FC. He designed the 2018 World Cup kits for Nigeria and France and has also done kit design for Paris Saint-Germain, among others.