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Seattle Sounders FC announce plan to "explore the club's identity"


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At an event formally unveiling plans for a new state-of-the-art headquarters for the team, Seattle Sounders FC brass also announced that they're planning to "explore the club's identity" as part of an anniversary celebration dubbed "March to the 50th".  

Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Taylor Graham will head up the process which will incorporate talent from Seattle-based creative agency DNA, Seattle-based design studio Column, and New York-based creative studio Athletics. Graham reportedly said that the initiative could result in anything from a complete retooling of the Sounders' visual identity to a logo package that is barely changed.

Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer noted that the current Sounders brand is effectively disconnected from the historic brand and that the club's hope is to integrate the two during this process. He apparently stated, "This will ultimately be our fans deciding the look and feel of our marks going forward."  

https://www.sounderatheart.com/2022/2/16/22936838/seattle-sounders-new-training-facility-explore-new-brand-identity

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I’m sure a good deal of Sounders fans would bash this opinion (especially coming from a Timbers fan), but the rave green has got to go. It looked bad when they debuted in MLS, and still looks bad to this day. Not a coincidence that all of their best kits have been secondaries or thirds, because the rave green is a really tough color to get to look even remotely pleasing. Do I realistically think they’ll get rid of it? No. Should they? 1000% yes. 
 

The badge needs a significant overhaul, too.

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Funny, but I wrote this yesterday in the MLS Kits topic:

 

On 2/15/2022 at 2:20 PM, GFB said:

9. Seattle Sounders - Green (Look, the Sounders have no business being this low with their brand and color scheme, but it feels like they are running out of ideas at this point and they haven't had a good home kit since 2016. Too much blue on the front of the kit here and the identity doesn't have the same energy it did in the early 2010s with the XBOX sponsor and the "futuristic" Adidas templates)

 

I think a refocusing of their brand would help, but I don't think looking backwards is the right direction for the Sounders. I'd much prefer them to pull a Juventus and go with something more modern than try to do something historic, but that's just me.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, upperV03 said:

I’m sure a good deal of Sounders fans would bash this opinion (especially coming from a Timbers fan), but the rave green has got to go. It looked bad when they debuted in MLS, and still looks bad to this day. Not a coincidence that all of their best kits have been secondaries or thirds, because the rave green is a really tough color to get to look even remotely pleasing. Do I realistically think they’ll get rid of it? No. Should they? 1000% yes. 
 

The badge needs a significant overhaul, too.

 

Rave Green is a hard color to work with - it's too dark for a lot of dark/light pairings, but it's too yellow-y to look good as its own green color.

 

658d1b_solid_color_background_icolorpalette.png

 

Because I've been a part of the Bionicle fandom for some time now, Lego oddly enough has better colors to pair with a slate blue or a royal blue.

 

Lego Green - 2258 C, Lime - 2290 C, and Bright Green - 7738 C

 

008522_solid_color_background_icolorpalette.pngaadb1e_solid_color_background_icolorpalette.png48a23f_solid_color_background_icolorpalette.png

 

Of course, turquoise/teal is always an option as a secondary or primary color. 

 

Lego Dark Turquoise - 320 C

 

009ca6_solid_color_background_icolorpalette.png

 

Lime and Teal could be nice, as Lego demonstrated back in the day.

 

657edb5b7aa1e5e3f025ee941ae09d2b47d39db6.JPGa7f7ed94ba3033ac2814916ed930ac164884d6c1.JPG

Edited by SFGiants58
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Just now, GFB said:

Funny, but I wrote this yesterday in the MLS Kits topic:

 

 

Agreed that this is the last time they looked good:

9739224-mls-mls-cup.jpg

 

 

I don't have a problem with the rave green and it's unique to the sport that I'd prefer it stay than not. They should also introduce a proper clash kit because the two dark kit setup doesn't work.

 

Developing a new brand is so great though. Theirs is every bit as bad as people thought the old Revolution logo was. Seriously, on their own merits, which of these is the biggest offender? At least NE had an identity. The Sounders is two badges and a space needle. It sucks.

OIP.jyvRmKcS8H5XM-aCp28WIwHaHa?pid=ImgDe

 

2xkgg8fsj5zgywdhx5in779ed.gif

 

 

 

 

 

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I guess I posted this in the wrong topic sooooo:

 

As a longtime hater of the Sounders brand, that's great news. Please refresh the color scheme and logo to something that doesn't belong in the mid-aughts thread. That "historic brand" comment confuses me a bit though; the Sounders weren't really ever rigid in that beyond having a wordmark with a wave through it in lieu of a proper crest. For most of their original NASL run they were in green and blue but the shades weren't really consistent, so by that standard the MLS era doesn't feel too much different. And then they had eras of going black/white and all-blue too in the A-League times. I'm not really sure what there is to go to, unless they go overtly retro/fauxback the way the other two Cascadia teams generally have. 

 

2 minutes ago, SFGiants58 said:

Rave Green is a hard color to work with - it's too dark for a lot of dark/light pairings, but it's too yellow-y to look good as its own green color.

 

 

I've always thought of it as the brightest olive green, or the muddiest lime green. Neither of which is a compliment. Sometimes a brighter, more lime or more kelly shade slips through in some of their other media and it instantly looks better. Also, I realize navy is used a lot in MLS, but that would be a much nicer second color to go with a bright green.

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50 minutes ago, Digby said:

I guess I posted this in the wrong topic sooooo:

 

As a longtime hater of the Sounders brand, that's great news. Please refresh the color scheme and logo to something that doesn't belong in the mid-aughts thread. That "historic brand" comment confuses me a bit though; the Sounders weren't really ever rigid in that beyond having a wordmark with a wave through it in lieu of a proper crest. For most of their original NASL run they were in green and blue but the shades weren't really consistent, so by that standard the MLS era doesn't feel too much different. And then they had eras of going black/white and all-blue too in the A-League times. I'm not really sure what there is to go to, unless they go overtly retro/fauxback the way the other two Cascadia teams generally have. 

 

 

I've always thought of it as the brightest olive green, or the muddiest lime green. Neither of which is a compliment. Sometimes a brighter, more lime or more kelly shade slips through in some of their other media and it instantly looks better. Also, I realize navy is used a lot in MLS, but that would be a much nicer second color to go with a bright green.

At times I want to say they and Portland shared the same color schemes at times during life in the A League. Maybe fully adopting the Seahawks palette would be a good place to go that gives more options for secondary kits. I also wonder if teams will want to start chasing a new kit maker in 2026 when the Adidas deal is currently scheduled to end. 

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What if......and I'm just spit-ballin' here.......they go for a premise where the space needle is like a giant "radio" tower emitting sound waves.  The bottom supports could rest on soccer balls, with a killer whale jumping out of the bottom "negative" space.  Coming out the whale blowhole is a spray, with a soccer ball resting on it.  The center stanchion for the space needle/tower is navy blue, and decorated on it could be letters for the team's name: S-E-A-T-T-L-E S-O-U-N-D-E-R-S FC.  Focus is on the colors black, white, and navy blue, trimmed in the action green.  IN the background of the logo is a single shield in the "loose" shape of the NFL (or MLS) logo in black and white.

 

Or...go with a medieval-style coat-of-arms logo shield, bisected diagonally.  The top right in navy blue background shows a killer whale leaping over a soccer ball.  The bottom left in action green background, shows a silhouette of the space needle in white, trimmed in black.  The diagonal stripe can be in either white with black separation or black with white separation.  Over the shield, spaced to fit corner to corner: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC.

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I think the crest needs an update. I like the shape of it, actually, but it’s too generic: DID YOU KNOW SEATTLE HAS THE SPACE NEEDLE?? The crest also translates pretty poorly to hats, clothing, etc. The team desperately needs a good secondary or an element like Liverpool’s liver bird that can used as easily as a brand mark separate from the full crest.

 

I agree with rave green. Don’t kill it, just tweak it. Rave Green 2.0.  I was pissed when Austin got a cooler shade of green. Someone on here (sorry I can’t remember who) pointed out that rave green was a “corrupted color” which is to say it’s not a green-enough green. They have to make sure it’s not too bright or too dark (Timber warning) which is a tough task but can be done. And what sucks about Austin is they now have to stay away from bright verde too. That “lime” in the above post is the best compromise I’ve seen.
 

Another hot take: cut the FC. Who cares, it’s played out at this point. Everyone in MLS does it. 


My hope is that the Kraken absolutely crushing their branding (and selling truckloads of merch) leads to a branding war in Seattle. In the best case, the Seahawks and M’s get better unis (logos are fine) and the Sonics come back with a vengeance.

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14 hours ago, Brian in Boston said:

Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer noted that the current Sounders brand is effectively disconnected from the historic brand and that the club's hope is to integrate the two during this process. He apparently stated, "This will ultimately be our fans deciding the look and feel of our marks going forward."  

As a Sounders fan, I think this should absolutely be the goal! I'm a young fan that wasn't into it yet at the time of the transition, so I can only speak retroactively, but to ditch all historic elements/colors (and nearly ignore them until the '17 fauxback) was really a mistake, and I'm glad to hear the Front Office acknowledging that.

 

Ditching the "FC," as appears to be the popular sentiment on Sounders Twitter/Reddit, would help.

I think the main unifying element, as @Digby mentions, is the sinusoidal wave, which I think they should make very prominent. Returning to the classic '74-'82 NASL/'03-'08 logo would be fine, but it could also be used as a wordmark to accompany a related logo that incorporates the wave as well.

 

I think it seems to be a minority opinion, but I'm in favor of keeping the Space Needle in a different rendering. It was around in the '82 logo, and it would provide a reasonable element of connection to the present.

If @raysox's reasonable point about licensing does in fact become an issue, I'd go orca sans soccer ball, or maybe a ferry? I've kinda liked anchor-themed concepts but I think the Kraken have now claimed the best composition for that. The popular suggestion of using Tahoma is good, but it needs to pair with an additional element.

 

As for colors, you could make any of the above happen still in Rave Green, but I agree with @upperV03 & @SFGiants58, it's ugly and hard to work with. Sounders Twitter/Reddit seem pretty split on this. I'd also ditch the unnecessary gray "Cascade Shale," though I think it'd be an unpopular move.

To avoid Timbers (and now Austin) similarities, as well as the "disconnect"/grossness of lime, I vote for emerald/kelly green. That could pair with NASL-era light blue or be codominant with royal blue like the USL era and modern era.

 

As for uniforms, I waffle between blue or green dominant... I guess my current favored solution is still green/blue/green uniforms, which at least have history with the '70s and the MLS era, with the '81 light blue as the permanent color for either an away or third (ideally, used for *almost all* games against Portland and a fair amount against Vancouver, both home and away!)

 

Anyways, besides my own concept or returning to the NASL-era logo, I've liked these concepts, but they're in the wrong colors and the first two would be improved by waves and have kinda been lessened following the release of the Kraken anchor logo.

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3 hours ago, raysox said:

I've heard from a source a long time ago saying that they have to license the Space Needle every time they use it and wanted to move away from it

That makes sense. I know in Australia, the Sydney Swans dropped the operahouse and the Sydney Kings are expected to drop the operahouse due to licensing

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I don't think the fans have a reason to be anxious regarding the Sounders name.

I think the club ownership got and won't forget the memo with the write in campaign during their MLS ramp up.

 

I always disliked their current MLS crest because of the multiple shapes (the green part, the blue part, the name banner) being squashed into one big thing.

Thus I'm looking forward to what I think will be a brand refresh (new logo(s) + color tweaks)

 

Very interesting regarding the space needle license-thing.

If that's not an feasible option going forward here's some ideas regarding iconography, colors and such:

 

ocean/water (blues)

forests/nature (greens)

snow cowered Vulcan/mountains (white)

 

a secondary S-logo (for Seattle and Sounders, though not SS because of bad historic links of said abbreviation)

 

I like these concepts from post above

 

maxresdefault.jpg

Less is more, simplified colors and shapes.

 

9fnpeu2aij241.png?width=1951&format=png&auto=webp&s=0ec97b074e52753f59a26c8435c3db6ce1324e8b

I think it's a bit busy with the water wave-lines, FC + year in between swell the lines besides Seattle, but a excellent starting point IMO.

 

 

 

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The shape of the current Sounders crest doesn't really bother me. The spiky blue under-shield is weird, but overall any crest shape that's unusual and modern is welcome in MLS. Especially after the deluge of roundels. But there's room there to evolve and be a little different without ruining that spirit, if they're careful about it.

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13 hours ago, raysox said:

I've heard from a source a long time ago saying that they have to license the Space Needle every time they use it and wanted to move away from it

 

This is really interesting, and would make a lot of sense.

 

I find it kinda fascinating to see brands like this, which debuted in what I'd consider a modern era of sports branding, starting to go down this path of starting over. I can understand it with clubs that seem to be treading water and in need of new energy (San Jose, Montreal, Houston, Chicago's original logo), but that it's happening to a wildly popular and successful club like Seattle makes me realize just how difficult it is to create a sports brand that passes the test time. It makes me appreciate the Timbers even more. 

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29 minutes ago, gosioux76 said:

 

This is really interesting, and would make a lot of sense.

 

I find it kinda fascinating to see brands like this, which debuted in what I'd consider a modern era of sports branding, starting to go down this path of starting over. I can understand it with clubs that seem to be treading water and in need of new energy (San Jose, Montreal, Houston, Chicago's original logo), but that it's happening to a wildly popular and successful club like Seattle makes me realize just how difficult it is to create a sports brand that passes the test time. It makes me appreciate the Timbers even more. 

 

My 2 thoughts on that are:

 

1. The Sounders' brand in particular was maybe the most contemporary, design-wise, of its era... the sort of design that will inevitably go out of fashion eventually, worse for them with the bad luck of coming at the tail end of that post-Y2K flashy design era just before the 2010s minimalist modern aesthetic (which might be more time-proof) really set in.

 

2. They've probably lost a ton of Seattle-sports-merch market share to the Kraken the past couple years.

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