Image shows BVB Borussia Dortmund's branding on a wide outdoor display advertisement, which reads 'All attack no mercy' in yellow slanted lettering, the club's badge, and a blurred image of a player in the middle

Borussia Dortmund’s branding nods to its home city and stadium

When creating a new visual identity for the German football club, DesignStudio made use of an existing angle (literally)

For years, German football club Borussia Dortmund – or BVB to fans – has been guided by its motto, Echte Liebe, which translates to ‘Real Love’. “Fast forward over a century to a culture where football is international and not just about love, but also about commercial success,” says Sinead Kirby, senior strategist at DesignStudio. “BVB’s impressive performance means they’re certainly no longer the underdogs, but they are still challengers. Our task was to bring these two worlds together to revive the BVB passion and retell their story.”

This began with a new strategy line developed by the studio – ‘Together we go all in’ – that formed the basis for the new identity, which started rolling out over the summer in time for the new season. “BVB’s existing identity was limited to a logo that was designed to sit statically in a stadium,” says DesignStudio ECD Vinay Mistry, who explains that the club needed a “full system that could live across every touchpoint” and engage fans around the world.

The studio looked to the club’s home ground, Signal Iduna Park, for the solution. “Our visual system is based on one of BVB’s most iconic assets – Die Gelbe Wand, or ‘Yellow Wall’ – which perfectly symbolises the club’s collective power and community,” explains DesignStudio design director Lorenzo Di Cola. The nickname refers to the blanket of yellow created by fans in the south stand in the stadium – the largest standing area in a European football ground.

The club might not be saying goodbye to its distinctive black and yellow palette, but it is bringing a secondary scheme of neon and greys into the fold. The city of Dortmund partly inspired the palette (hopefully the neons, not the greys) and textural details, which are said to reference its “industrial landscape”.

The stadium also influenced the palette as well as other parts of the design system, from graphic patterns to the typography. The studio worked with Blaze Type on a custom headline typeface, including an alternative set of “intensity characters”. These feature cuts on parts of the letterforms, such as the crossbars (fitting), at a 34-degree angle – a nod to the stadium’s architecture.

The number system includes an abstract interpretation which doesn’t seem particularly legible, so it’s hard to see how it might be implemented, but the core version is already in full effect across its line-ups and score sheets on social media.

Image shows BVB Borussia Dortmund's yellow and grey branding and angular typeface
Image shows BVB Borussia Dortmund's branding on the players' shirts

The typeface also forms the foundations of the refreshed wordmark, and while the crest itself remains unchanged, the design team have introduced new textures and motion design to it. Fresh, hazy photographs and restrained player portraits lend a softer edge to the rigid lines and high contast palettes of the design system.

Mistry adds: “Our design sympathetically modernises BVB, capturing the challenger attitude that makes it so iconic and beloved, and boldly evolving it for the fans of today, and the future.”

Image shows BVB Borussia Dortmund's branding on a display outside the stadium, showing its new typeface in yellow uppercase letters
Image shows BVB Borussia Dortmund's grey and yellow angular branding on a line of digital displays