three lions redesign brand style guide

England Football’s Three Lions Redesign Controversy Explained

Football’s Three Lions Redesign Controversy Explained

You may have seen in the news that the Football Association’s three lions redesign caused something of a stir amongst football fans recently. This new design became the subject of controversy as the three male lions of the original crest were replaced with a lion, lioness, and lion cub.

Some of the more vocal fans took to Twitter to express their anger at what they felt was a replacement for a key part of their national heritage while others aimed their frustration at what they felt was an effort to make the logo more “woke.”

But once the dust settled on the histrionics it became quickly apparent that all the fuss had been over a misunderstanding. The original three lions crest wasn’t going anywhere and the three lions redesign was part of a new platform launched by the Football Association called England Football and the new logo will appear alongside the original England badge.

england footballs three lions logo crest redesign
(image credit: England football / FA)

The new Grassroots brand

England Football is the consumer-facing brand of the Football Association and their aim is to represent and champion grassroots football as well as the fans and volunteers. The project, which has been 18 months in the works, aims to be a one-stop shop for all things football in the UK.

Community football initiatives like McDonald’s Superkicks, BT Playmaker and others will all be featured on the England Football site and the Find Football feature seeks to help in connecting people with football opportunities near them.

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(Image Credit: Evening Standard)

Tackling the diversity issue

The ugly face of racism is still an issue in world football, with a number of high profile cases making the news and the England team taking the knee in solidarity with all races and creeds involved in the game. England football authorities are keen to show a united front in the fight to eradicate it for good.

As the England logo suggests, diversity and inclusivity are key to their message and they aim to bring football to people from all demographics. Included on their site are ways to find disabled football programmes such as blind football and powerchair football.

The initiative also features the My England Football free-to-join rewards programme as a way to recognise their fans with “money-can’t-buy” benefits and exclusive offers like meeting footballers and the chance to play at Wembley Arena.

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England Football New Website Design (Image Credit: England Football)

Star-Studded All Inclusive Video

Along with their new website and England badge redesign, a promotional video made by COPA90 was also released. The video further emphasises the message of celebrating the diversity of football, with footage of players and fans from all colours, creeds and backgrounds being featured. Big names like Azeem Amir, Demi Stokes, Harry Kane, Lucy Bronze, and Marcus Rashford all feature in the video with the line “There’s no football without them all” being used.

Also shown on the video is football being played by children, people on crutches and in wheelchairs and fans and supporters are also acknowledged with shots of jubilant crowds and parents taking their children to football practice. In fact, even a gamer playing FIFA makes the cut with everyone included in the statement “We are a team of millions”.

A story told through symbols

The three lions redesign was made by creative agency MATTA to reflect the FA’s goal of uniting people through football with the male lion, lioness, and lion cub representing men’s, women’s, and children’s football clubs.

3 different england football badges
(Image Credit: Footyheadlines.com)

Examining The Three Lions Redesign

Other than the obvious changes to the lions, there are many more subtle design elements that speak to England Football’s message. For example, the England Football logo has had the shield outline removed. The edges of the shield are now formed by the lions themselves, symbolising their independence to form their own shield and rely on their own strength.

Louis Swann, Creative Director for MATTA says this was done as a “visual way to show that football can break boundaries.” Remaining consistent with the rest of the FA’s wider branding design, the new badge makes use of the same “striking red colour” and similar lettering.

As the design will be appearing alongside the original England badge, this makes sense aesthetically but also on a symbolic level, as this speaks to the cohesion between the elite and grassroots clubs.

three lions redesign brand style guide
(Image Credit: Matta)
england football new kits for three lions redesign
(Image Credit: Footyheadlines.com)

A bit of English History

The red colouring is also reminiscent of the original coat of arms that the FA crest is based on. The lion emblem dates back to the 12th century when it was carried into battle as a banner of arms. King Henry I was supposedly the first to have a lion on his coat of arms, with the second lion being added when he married Adeliza de Louvain, whose family crest also featured a lion.

Some years later, Henry II would add a third lion on his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine who also came from a family with a lion crest.

The England Football logo’s use of red is more consistent with the original red and gold emblem and, according to Swann, with the 45-degree angle of the lions’ heads representing the curvature of a shield. In this way, it not only pays homage to the three lions’ use in football but also as a national emblem, showing a respect for the history of the sport and the country while also acknowledging that the underrepresented have been a part of it all along.

Swann said that while they aimed to show a modernised rendition of the logo, they didn’t want to take it “too far.” He also acknowledged that it was a risky move to make changes to such a beloved and long-standing emblem, stating that when it came to “iconic” logos such as these “you touch them at your peril.”

Trouble in paradise

With the launch of England Football, the FA aims yet again to tackle the persistent inequality and prejudice in football. Reports have shown two-thirds of female footballers reporting discrimination and the issue of equal pay remains contentious. Black footballers continue to be subject to racist abuse and homophobia is still an issue in the sport, as openly gay professional footballers are few and far between.

england football new website anti discrimination
England Footballs New Website design (Image Credit: England Football)

So What Did They Achieve?

The outrage over the three lions redesign can be interpreted in a few different ways. Perhaps, in keeping with the theme of overturning long-standing prejudice, it’s appropriate that the move be met with controversy – even if it is misplaced. Some might say that to move the sport forward it is unavoidable and even necessary to ruffle the feathers of those that are holding it back.

Conversely, it could be argued that the outrage stems from the perception that the move is tokenistic. For many, corporate involvement in social issues all too often rings hollow and feels like a tepid effort to achieve the bare minimum. Think of the disastrous Pepsi advert with Kendall Jenner walking through a protest to hand a can of Pepsi to a police officer.

While opinions on the logo and initiative will vary from person to person, this remains a powerful example of the significance of branding, of how much can be said with a simple image, and how much fervent dedication can be inspired by an emblem over centuries.


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What is Logo Design and what makes a great one?

WHAT IS A LOGO DESIGN?

With the average person likely to be exposed to around 5,000 adverts a day, without knowing it, you’re probably more attuned to what a logo design is than you think. But, to put it simply, a logo represents a brand and can usually standalone without text….

Picture two golden-yellow arches forming a large M, a tick with a sharp upward facing end or a black apple shaped icon with a clean bite taken out of it. Did you think of the brands McDonalds, Nike and Apple? If you did, you’re right. If you didn’t, I’m surprised you managed to avoid making the connection.

The point is, a logo design can often be an abstract object, yet still signify a brand on its own, in any context.

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nike logo example what is logo design blog
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WHAT DOES A LOGO DO?

As highlighted in the examples above, a logo design makes your brand memorable, creates a good first impression and helps to differentiate you from your competitors. But not only that, a logo design can help your audience build trust in your brand – Resulting in increased brand loyalty, engagement and repeat custom.

Here’s another example, let’s say you wanted to buy a famous pair of Nike trainers, and you head down to your local shop. You see a pair that you like, but the famous tick is no where to be seen – not on the shoe, the shoebox or anywhere on the product. Would you buy them? The chances are low.

Logo have become so intrinsic to the products that without them, trust is broken. A memorable logo design is a sign of quality and it builds trust with your audience by associating your logo with the amazing products and services you provide. Looking at the ‘Apple’ logo design for example, you automatically associate the brand with being market leaders that craft beautiful, smartphones, tablets and computers of the highest quality.

Logo designs are also the foundations to expand your brand identity. Going back to the Nike example, there have been many occasions where the famous tick has been fashioned into different colours and used creatively in advertisements or on the products themselves – and that’s without even mentioning the ‘Just do it’ tagline.

"Logos are a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company."

- Saul Bas

So what makes a great logo Design?

Now you know what a logo is and it’s primary functions, let’s take a look at what makes a good one. Here are the main elements to concentrate on when designing a logo.

Typography

In essence, this is the font or typeface. Most brands opt for two fonts that compliment each other which also creates consistency across their marketing material and other collateral whether that be physical or digital.

Many big brands have custom made typefaces that make up their logo design, such as Netflix, Google and Uber. In this day and age, where user experience expectations are high, going to a website and seeing a page full of multiple fonts will only distract and disengage the reader.

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Imagery

An image can be as simple as the aforementioned Nike tick, or a it could be a more complex design. It could even be a monogram or a set of icons, such as the Louis Vuitton logo and the designs of their luxury couture.

Whilst you want to choose something unique, you don’t want your imagery to be difficult to decipher, as most companies will use their logo across multiple interfaces and platforms, often displayed at small sizes on digital devices.

Colour

Picking your colours for your logo design and brand identity is far more important than just making things look pretty. The colour you pick indicates your brand personality and values – are you innovative? Are you a business professional? Or are you fun and playful? – What do you want to communicate?

Most brands choose a complementary colour palette ranging from two to six colours, which can be used together across a variety of branding material. Many big brands even create their own custom trademarked colours, such as the iconic Coca Cola red, UPS brown and Starbucks green.

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TAGLINE

A tagline is optional, it’s typically a short phrase that captures what your company does or it’s values. Whilst most popular logo designs can stand on their own without a tagline, they can offer context and help to build brand recognition in their own right.

"Identities are the beginning of everything. They are how something is recognised and understood. What could be better than that?"

- Paula Scher

What makes a logo design stand out?

This is very dependent on the nature of your business, audience, the message and design – and varies across industries. That being said, there are three things you should think about before creating a logo design.

1. AUDIENCE APPROPRIATE

Your logo design doesn’t have to be bigger and brighter than the rest to stand out, but it needs to be well thought out to resonate with your audience. Sometimes, the simpler you are, the better, after all design is visual communication.

Just remember Nike’s tick, it’s simple, slick and communicates an air of productivity, movement and achievement. The name ‘Nike’ is derived from Greek mythology, ‘Nike’ is the goddess of victory.

To find something that works for you, think about the values you want to communicate. For example, if you’re a company selling sunny holiday packages to families with children, you might opt for a bold colourful logo design that can be understood and relatable to a wide age range. In contrast, something more discreet and refined would sit better with business travellers.

Just think about the difference between economy travel brands and high-end, looking at the airlines ‘Ryanair’ and ‘Emirates’ as examples. Ryanair’s logo design uses a simple, all capital wordmark and bold colours – a cobalt blue and bright yellow which extends into the interior of the aircraft most notably in the design of the seats.

In contrast, the Emirates colour palette is far more discreet and refined, subtly balancing the colours of the United Arab Emirates flag with a muted gold which further communicates luxury. The Emirates logo design itself is very sleek and elegant, the custom typeface perfectly compliments the Arabic calligraphy.

2. EASY TO READ AND REMEMBER

This is particularly true for wordmark logo designs (logos that consist of only text). Don’t pick a wacky font for the sake of being different. You want people to be able to read your logo and make the connection with your brand without having to work too hard.

Many big brands use their company name as their logo design, which often seems to be a single made-up word, making it enough to stand out and easy to remember.

3. SCALABILITY - LOGO DESIGNS NEED TO WORK AT SMALL SIZES

Think about where you want to put your logo. Whilst you might be dreaming big, seeing your business’ name in lights, sprawled on billboards across the country, the reality is, your logo design will most often appear digitally on small mobile devices.

You’ll want something you can use in your email footer, on social media or even turn into an app icon. You need to create something that’s scalable – meaning it looks great at whichever size is required, whether that be on a big billboard or all the way down to a little bottle cap – legibility is key.

"Design is the silent ambassador of your brand."

- Paul Rand

THE BRANDS YOU ALREADY KNOW

Earlier we discussed the recognisable traits of global brand McDonalds, Nike and Apple. Let’s look at some other brands. A recent survey by Easyfair on 1,500 Brits found Fairy, Heinz Ketchup and Amazon make it to the list of the top 10 most identifiable brands.

Fairy

Albeit quite a simple design, with the bold red typography against a white background framed by the iconic green which matches the product, Fairy has managed to become one of the UK’s most reputable household names.

Notice the cartoon baby – what does it signify? It signals that the product can clean items to a sterile standard required for babies, subtly reinforcing that the brand is family friendly. Furthermore, it could appeal to Mothers, often the primary caregivers and most likely to shop for the household.

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Heinz

With its iconic red bottle, Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a cupboard staple for many – but why? Does it really taste better, or is the brand’s heritage the reason it remains a firm favourite?

The bold black typography against the white immediately makes the brand stand out, and with the subtle marker to it’s heritage under the logo reinforcing its market differentiation. The tomato icon also suggests that the product uses natural, homegrown ingredients, again, separating it from competition.

The brand’s identity recently had a refresh, involving slight changes to the logo design, visual identity for marketing material and tone of voice, to align its array of products and reinforce its proud history and heritage.

AMAZON

The amazon logo design is simple, but effective. Did you ever notice that the arrow underneath the letters signals the journey from A to Z? This matches with Amazon’s delivery offering. You might also notice that the arrow is styled with an upward curve, suggesting a smile, making the brand appear friendly.

Also, the name of the brand is creative with its link to the Amazon forest, home to the world’s most diverse species. This subtly reinforces that the company is a huge powerhouse, home to thousands of unique products to suit everyone.

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Need a Logo Design?

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