The launch of the new identity comes off the back of a reorganisation of English women’s football into three new tiers – the FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship and FA Women’s National League. These replace the old Super League, Super League 2 and Premier League structure. In addition there is now a League Cup sponsored by Continental tyres.
Nomad won the project after a pitch. Partner Terry Stephens says that key to this was the involvement of the studio’s Creative Director, Stuart Watson, in the Premier League rebrand when he was at Design Studio, as well as Nomad’s previous work for Sky Sports.
An extensive period of research saw the Nomad team talking to players and officials at all levels of the women’s game. Stephens says what came through from that was both the awareness that today’s players have a very different experience of the women’s game than that of their predecessors, who often had to struggle simply to play football. But also that at community level there was an appreciation of what football was offering to those taking part beyond what happens on the pitch – that many women are learning leadership and teaching skills from the game that they were able to put into practice elsewhere.
Stephens says that the FA have a phrase which they use internally to describe the positioning of women’s football – “Same Laws, different game”. “We felt that first-hand when we went to some of the games,” he says. “There’s a rawness to it all that hit home quite quickly – you can chat to the players, they’ll sign a programme or take a selfie with fans. There’s a proximity to the players that the men’s game is so far beyond. It’s a very family-friendly atmosphere with an honesty and realness that really hit us.”
A key consideration was trying not to emulate the men’s game but create a separate identity for a separate sport. “We did a lot of targeted focus group sessions with young women and girls and tested a lot of the development work with them,” Stephens says. “What really surprised us was that there wasn’t a massive jump between the seven-year-olds and the 15-year-olds in terms of aesthetics. Even the younger girls were actually quite mature in terms of their aesthetic taste – they wanted something exciting and modern that didn’t look like a sports brand. It didn’t need a picture of a woman kicking a ball. Naturally, many sports clubs felt it should have fallen into more of a stereotypical sports look but it was important to build something for those women and girls who are driving this thing forward.”
With the logos for each league, Stephens says they wanted to create a family where each league’s logo had its own shape but they all covered the same footprint. “The Super League is this pointed, pinnacle shape as it’s the forefront of the game. There’s also deliberately a bit of a superhero reference, again coming from the girls’ interests.”
The Championship logo is meant to recall a coiled spring as it is seen as the springboard to the Super League, while the National League’s interlocking forms reference what Stephens says is a spirit of great co-operation and camaraderie among its 72 member clubs.