Football Type

Designer and Face37 founder Rick Banks has published a not-for-profit book about football and typography co-authored by writer Sheridan Bird.

Designer and Face37 founder Rick Banks has published a not-for-profit book about football and typography co-authored by writer Sheridan Bird.

Football Type traces the history and development of type in football, from the hand stitched numbers first used on kits in the 1930s to custom fonts created for major clubs and sports brands today.

Using archive imagery, vectors and graphics, Banks has compiled a fascinating look at beautiful and bizarre footballing type, from Paul Barnes’s designs for the England squad and Sporting ID’s work for Real Madrid to a stretched Wild West typeface used by Kazakh team FC Ordabassy.

The book also explores players’ allegiances to particular numbers and includes some interesting trivia, such as how a 1934 telegram inspired the design of Manchester City’s 2011 kit.

Banks has been working on the book for two years and was inspired by Bird’s article in the November 2006 issue of Creative Review, which looked at the introduction of numbers on jerseys and the inspiration behind Real Madrid’s 2005/6 typeface, an italicised derivation of Peignot.

“I stumbled across the article on the archives, and it got me thinking: so many people are passionate about football and design but I don’t think there’s ever been a book about football type. I contacted Bird, started collating official typefaces, and realised it was turning into quite a nice project. After that, I contacted everyone I could think of who was involved in designing football lettering,” he says.

Proceeds from the book will go to UK charity Football Foundation, which funds sports facilities and grassroots projects. Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, England, Liverpool, The FA, Adidas, PUMA, Umbro and Nike all contributed to the project, and the book was sponsored by Identity Print, Winter Company, Sporting ID and Tom Duncalf, who built the Football Type website.

The book is a limited edition of 1000. Each copy will be covered by hand using official Premier League lettering supplied by Sporting ID and customers can choose their number colour: gold costs £50, red £45, white £40, blue £35 and black £30.

You can read more about the project in the October issue of Creative Review, out this week. To buy a copy of the book visit

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