It’s time for A-League badges to join the 21st century

Evan Morgan Grahame Columnist

By , Evan Morgan Grahame is a Roar Expert

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    This week Sydney FC officially changed their team badge, releasing images of a spangly new crest, one chairman Scott Barlow felt better emphasised Sydney FC’s place as “an iconic club in an iconic city”.

    Central to the composition of the new badge is a minimalist two-toned rendering of the Sydney Opera House as well as a more unified, subtle colour scheme, disposing of the rather garish use of orange as well as the fairly redundant soccer ball icon.

    The new badge is certainly a welcome update, as Sydney’s old crest – along with most of the inaugural crests that linger on in the league – reeked of the mid-2000s as a sort of pictorial relic of clunky clip art, cringeworthy gradients and teal-and-orange colour schemes more often seen in one of Michael Bay’s cine-stinkers or indeed plaguing the entire first season of TV’s The Leftovers.

    The asymmetrical flanking, tapered strips of the old crest – placed, one assumes, to imply some sort of vital energy or hint at some graceful movement – look silly, as does the orange halo around the ball.

    They’ve teased the Opera House silhouette more prominently – it is a lovely building – the typeface of the club name has been smartened up, and the badge as a whole has been flattened.

    The revamp has gone along the same lines as the process the refurbishment of the A-League’s own logo undertook a few months ago. It is a simpler, cleaner and more confident image that has been fashioned.

    Sydney have joined Brisbane in updating the most crucial piece of branding they have as an organisation and are all the better off for it. These badges adorn almost every item of merchandise the clubs spend so much effort trying to hock, and sporting teams in all codes across all sports are all attempting to bridge the gap between fan-wear – clothes a person would feel they could only wear to relevant sporting events – and everyday fashion.

    The Chicago Bulls, now a decade and a half removed from the heights of the Michael Jordan era, are still trading with the currency of their iconic logo – a symbol Jordan’s greatness launched into the social stratosphere – with hats and T-shirts still proudly worn by trendy types who, despite their snapbacks and hoodies, wouldn’t be able to recognise Scotty Pippin, let alone Luc Longley.

    So what about the other clubs? Who among the rest of the league could do with a badge face-lift?

    Personally I quite like the Mariners’ crashing wave, and the Phoenix’s winged crest, while obviously meant to represent the bird reborn, also looks pleasingly like the arms of a trophy – not that the Nix have really ever been in a position to lift one.

    Adelaide’s needs work, as does Perth’s, but the club I’ve chosen to apply my own feeble graphic design skills to is the league’s biggest and one of their most successful: Melbourne Victory.

    Big, outlined bubble letters cannot be allowed to endure any further into the 2010s, and the little ‘F.C’ planted underneath is just awful. The big white V is so basic it may as well be a giant ‘meh’ and, again, like Sydney’s old crest, there is no need for tapered edges or the allusion to three-dimensional form.

    Things must change, and so, such as it is, my own humble mock-up can be seen below.

    The colour scheme needs no modifications, as dark blue, grey and white make for a sleek palette. The Victory have always been a little odd due to their name: Victory, a moniker begging for defeat in a way, just to prove itself ironic.

    As it happens, the club are league’s best run and, alongside Brisbane and Sydney, the most successful, so why not illustrate their name in a literal sense, with the Greek goddess Nike, the deity of speed, strength and of course victory itself? Most famously depicted in the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Nike is also seen here lunging forward with wings splayed behind her in pursuit of some grand athletic triumph.

    In Greek mythology Nike flew at great speed around the battlefield, rewarding the victors with fame and glory and laying exquisite laurel wreaths around their necks. A wreath is seen here on the new badge too – a fitting backdrop for a club with such consistently lofty ambitions.

    Naturally all of this makes proud reference to football’s Greek roots in the city. A sword is held aloft, drawing the eye up to the golden crown insignia adequately capping one of the A-League’s most regal institutions.

    Well, all right, that all might be a bit much; the fervour may have carried me away a little. But this was pieced together in an afternoon – imagine what a trained designer could come up with.

    Certainly the Victory aren’t the only ones in need of an updated crest, but as Sydney have moved on from pictorial relics of the early A-League, so should Melbourne’s biggest club.

    Evan Morgan Grahame
    Evan Morgan Grahame

    Evan Morgan Grahame is a Melbourne-based journalist. Gleaning what he could from his brief career as a painter, the canvas of the football pitch is now his subject of contemplation, with the beautiful game sketching new, intriguing compositions every week. He has been one of The Roar's Expert columnists since 2016. Follow him on Twitter @Evan_M_G.