The sight of a team in blue playing against a team in red, set against a green field with white detailing is a visual statement that, sport and all other elements aside, naturally appeals to graphic designers. It’s a simple, colour-coded game of good versus bad.
Yet the modern disruption of that simplicity has been led by graphic intrusions. Arguments over the coarse modernisation of club emblems, nightmarish second strip colour combinations and over-styled event branding set the tone, while week to week the backlit advertising hoardings, brasher competition branding and slicker trophy celebrations add layer after layer of distracting complexity to the visual experience of match days.
Money has been the catalyst for the change, not all of which has been bad from a design point of view – details such as shirt number typography have never been so well investigated. But every graphic designer must regret the end of the cup final crowd split 50-50 into red and blue colours due to theinflux of the new football ‘family’ – the sponsors, marketeers and competition directors who grab the best seats.
However much the clubs try to influence (for which read ‘clean up’) chanting it remains the one thing on match day the fans have for themselves. Long may that last.
Glory Glory is an exhibition and book of large format typographic posters inspired by football chants, a selection of which is reproduced here. Each poster is available to purchase in aid of British Blind Sport. See gloryglory2013.co.uk