CHICAGO (Jan. 8, 2021) - Chicago Fire FC today announced the Club is set to develop an all-new visual identity, including a new primary crest. Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto first shared details of the Club’s plan in an open letter to Fire Season Ticket Holders and supporters earlier today. Fans will be involved throughout the project, with a series of roundtables, interviews and surveys planned for the coming months. The full identity project is expected to be completed by the end of the 2021 season with the new crest set to debut on Fire kits ahead of the 2022 season, the Club’s 25th in Major League Soccer.
“Exactly one year ago today, I told our fans if the existing badge wasn’t working for them that we’d fix it - and that’s what we are going to do,” said Mansueto. “Fans have made their voices heard over the past year and now we’ll undergo a fan-focused process to create an identity that will stand for all Chicago for decades to come.”
The Club has brought together a team of design and branding professionals to work on the project, including football crest specialist Matthew Wolff, brand design and consulting firm Studio/lab, and sports marketing agency rEvolution. Chicago Fire FC’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kyle Sheldon, will oversee the project for the Club.
“While we’ve assembled a talented group of brand and identity experts who love Chicago, it will be the fans’ voices that guide our work,” said Sheldon. “This project will be open and transparent and our sole focus is to create a crest for which all Chicago can be proud. We look forward to hearing from all who want to add their voice.”
A designer and art director, Matthew Wolff has developed visual identities for clubs at every level of the American soccer pyramid, including LAFC, NYCFC, Oakland Roots SC, Green Bay Voyageurs FC, Union Omaha, FC Tulsa, Charleston Battery, Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville FC. He designed the 2018 World Cup kits for Nigeria and France and has also done kit design for Paris Saint-Germain, among others.
Studio/lab’s Chicago office has worked on visual identity and brand projects for a host of Chicago institutions, including Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago History Museum, Chicago Loop Alliance, Arts Club of Chicago, Spertus Institute, University of Chicago and The Wrigley Building. The firm has also served as a design consultant for major consumer brands including Motorola, Grainger, Mattel, Target and Whirlpool.
With its global headquarters in Chicago’s West Loop, rEvolution will assist with creating fan engagement opportunities during the identity project and in bringing subsequent campaigns to life. The firm has a wide range of creative campaign experience in global football, including work with Concacaf, U.S. Soccer and Tottenham Hotspur, and major brands that have activated in MLS including Continental Tire and Chipotle. rEvolution has served as the Fire’s marketing and fan experience agency since 2019.
Fans can now visit chicagofirefc.com/crest to learn about the project in full, including information on a variety of opportunities to immediately lend their voices. All fans are invited to share, in their own words, what the city of Chicago and Chicago Fire FC mean to them, as well as what they want to see in the new crest. Every submission will be reviewed in full by a project team member in order to identify recurring ideas and themes. This month, the Club will kick off a series of roundtables, interviews and surveys that will also serve to inform the design work. Fire Season Ticket Holders and supporters will receive the first invitations to participate.
The Fire also announced today the creation of the Stand for Chicago Council, a group of individuals from both inside and outside the sport who will be charged with ensuring the project gives voice to the diverse people of Chicago. This advisory council will be chaired by author, poet and activist Kevin Coval who is the Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, and founder of Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival. He has authored more than a dozen books including “A People’s History of Chicago.”
In addition to Coval, the Club has named three members to the council: Former Chicago Fire FC Homegrown player Drew Conner of Cary, Ill., Chicago Red Stars and U.S. Women’s National Team defender Sarah Gorden of Elk Grove Village, Ill., and Chicago street artist Sentrock. The remaining members of the council will be announced in the coming weeks.
“I’m honored that Chicago Fire FC has asked me to play a role in leading this advisory council for such an important project,” said Coval. “I look forward to helping put together a team of people who love Chicago. I want the group to look like the city itself and will ensure there's a diversity of voices and experiences well represented at the table.”
The Club has also released a series of FAQs about the project which can be read in full at chicagofirefc.com/crest.