Following widespread outcry over the introduction of its current club crest in May, Everton has unveiled a new badge, chosen via an online poll of supporters, which will be adopted for the 2014/15 season
In May this year, Everton announced a redesign of its club crest, to be introduced at the beginning of the current season. As we reported at the time, the club went to some lengths to explain the thinking of the in-house team which designed the new look but many fans were deeply unhappy with the new design.
The Everton crest introduced at the start of the 2013/14 season
The crest used from 2000 to 2013
Evolution of the Everton crest
In response to sustained criticism from fans, the club conducted a consultation process as a first step to finding an acceptable replacement for the new badge. As reported on the club’s website, what fans most objected to about the new design was the fact that it the club motto Nil Satis Nisi Optimum had been dropped and the distinctive Prince Rupert’s tower redrawn.
According to the club, fans felt that “The Tower should reflect the heritage and design from previous Crests – especially the 1991 (60% preferred) and 1938 (24%) versions, reflecting not a photographic representation of the real Tower, but the heritage of previous Club Crests and the dreams and aspirations of supporters. As one person put it: “The Tower has been idolised forever, why change that now?” As another put it, “The Tower is Everton’s equivalent of Arsenal’s canon”.”
Fans also made it clear that “Nil Satis Nisi Optimum is a non-negotiable inclusion for the future Club Crest. Whilst the majority are ambivalent about it appearing in a scroll as in previous crests, it must be written in full and in Latin, and not be dumbed-down and weakened through abbreviation.”
Other elements deemed important were the club name, laurel wreaths, and founding date. “Whilst many supporters feel passionate about the inclusion of 1878 and the Laurel Wreaths, these two elements were ranked lowest overall in the survey and so have become regarded as secondary elements, with less support from participants in the consultation,” the club reported.
The next stage was to work with design consultancy Kenyon Fraser to present fans with three options to choose from.
Option A (shown here as applied to a club shirt) was close to the 1991-2000 version, featured all the elements deemed important by fans and dropped the amber accent colour used previously.
Option B retained more of the feel of the current crest, and the amber accent, but with the addition of the motto
Option C introduced a redrawn shield
Option A (shown below as it will appear at the ground) was the clear winner with 78% of the votes of the 20,000 fans who took part in the exercise.
The new badge in reverse
So what are the lessons here for designers? If you are going to consult, make sure you ask the right people the right questions and you ask enough of them to give you a credible result would be one obvious conclusion.
In our original post on this story, we praised the fact that the club had attempted to consult with fans and had been open about the process. However, it is clear that that process was flawed as it failed to identify key elements in the previous design which fans felt a particular attachment to – the motto and the way in which the tower was rendered. Although the new version of the tower was more accurate, the club’s more extensive survey following the outcry revealed that fans felt that “The Tower should reflect the heritage and design from previous Crests – especially the 1991 (60% preferred) and 1938 (24%) versions, reflecting not a photographic representation of the real Tower, but the heritage of previous Club Crests and the dreams and aspirations of supporters.” Emotional attachment was far more important than accuracy. The old drawing of the tower may bear little resemblance to how it actually looks but that wasn’t the point – it was the image which people felt an attachment to not the building itself. Likewise, the club had failed to realise the importance to fans of the club’s Latin motto.
So have Everton ended up with a better club crest as a result of all this? The trite answer is, well if that’s what the fans want, then yes. Personally I think it has more authority than the current badge and it expresses the heritage and values of the club better. The shield is a better shape, dropping the amber makes it feel more classy but the type on the motto is awful.
Whatever your feelings on the new design v the old, this whole episode provides a fascinating case study on the power of logos, the difficulties of making change, how (or how not) to consult with fans (or consumers), the way in which we imbue graphic symbols with deep meaning, the role of social media in the relationship between an organisation and those it serves (or its customers) and the role of the designer.