Kissing the badge: Club crests or corporate logos?

Football is big business. Yet for most top clubs in Europe and particularly those in the English Premier League, match day income is not the core part of their business. To improve their earning power, clubs increasingly operate as brands.

With much of the brand experience delivered in digital form, many clubs are updating traditional crests or rebranding entirely for this platform. Focusing on the redesign and use of club crests; the role of graphic heritage in the design of these; and the different approaches to rebranding in football, this article asks whether a brand and its associated visual identity are designed or utilized differently in football and, that if football clubs are positioned as a brand, could the club crest ever be considered a logo?

Read about the research here


Sticker featuring the ‘modern’ redesigned Juventus crest, featuring the famous black and white stripes from their previous crest and emulating their shirt design. Source: Alison Barnes


The hallowed entrance to Arsenal’s former Highbury East stand. The fascia is now Grade II listed. The accompanying iconography is now used on ‘heritage replica shirts’ sold in the club shop at its new Emirates stadium. See below. Photograph: ©2021 Robert Harland.


Architectural detail on Highbury’s East stand building facade. Photograph: ©2021 Robert Harland.


Arsenal’s ‘heritage range’ of replica shirts featuring an earlier club crest, on sale at the club shop. Photograph: ©2021 Robert Harland.


Detailed floor inlay of a former club crest at the time of building the Highbury East stand marble entrance hall. Photograph: ©2021 Robert Harland.


Detail of one of the club’s former crests on its ‘heritage range’ of replica shirts  Photograph: ©2021 Robert Harland.


The current arsenal club crest, displaying a canon that reflects their origins in Woolwich Arsenal Armament factory. Photograph: ©2021 Robert Harland.



Alison Barnes (2022) Kissing the badge: Club crests or corporate logos?, Soccer & Society, DOI: 10.1080/14660970.2022.2072833