Love it or hate it, the Premier League is back – and there’s more in store than just new kits and hattricks. Senior creative Chris Hudson shares his hot take on the league’s latest brand overhaul.
Dramatic montages, flash boots and Gary Lineker on TV can only mean one thing: the Premiere League is back. Although, it doesn’t feel like it’s ever been away, does it?
With expanded competitions, winter World Cups and the explosion of the women's game, it feels like the last few years have been dominated by the beautiful game. But as a football fanatic, the return of the juggernaut that is the Premier League is a big deal.
I pour over fantasy football; I lap up all the transfer gossip and follow it all on social media. So when I discovered that the Premier League was rebranding, I was shocked. How could they improve on an already iconic brand?
Brand agency Nomad has spent 18 months beavering away to produce a bolder, brighter Premier League brand which looks to attract audiences from all backgrounds. In their words, it’s designed to be ‘ripped out of busy feeds and fan-filled bars across the globe to become an instant classic’.
So what does that mean? Well, you’ll need to pay close attention. The new look is simplified and stripped back but doesn’t lose what DesignStudio’s 2016 rebrand set out to achieve. The previous rebrand was so much more radical and noticeable, a real shift in the look and feel; it’s the brand we’re so familiar with today. So forgive me for not quite realising at first what Nomad have done.
Take a closer look and you can see how Nomad is aiming to make the brand really stand out among the noise of everyday life. And believe me, standing out against a backdrop of 24/7 football isn’t easy.
The refresh feels confident, with sexy colour gradients that pop and bold, heavy typefaces that lead communications. It’s understandable that the look focuses on how the brand is portrayed on screen (but good luck recreating those gradients in CMYK), with the Premier League motif getting an outlined treatment and a new font, chosen for its impeccable legibility at a range of sizes.
Whenever I pick up a new project, I question its accessibility: I’m hoping Nomad have done the same. I want to see a real consideration in this refresh, that the look has been simplified and amplified to help those who may have struggled before to consume the content that the league delivers across its channels.
Global broadcasts have scoreboards that fill nearly a third of the width of a television screen. The introduction of what seem to be gigantic numbers on the backs of players shirts must back this up too. As a glasses wearer on the wrong side of 40 myself, I’m looking forward to getting to a game this season and actually being able to see who’s played the killer pass in the build-up to our first goal.
So what does this all mean for us in the creative world? And how can the lessons Nomad is applying to the rebrand help you steer your comms?
1. Be bold, be brash. But be you: Football – much like IC teams – is ‘always on’. So to stand out, the Premier League must be brighter, bolder and louder than ever before to be heard over the noise – be it from social media pundits, or other busy comms channels. But you can’t afford to lose your identity – and that’s what Nomad have done. They’ve gone big and brash, without straying from that original concept they pursued seven years ago.
2. Make it simple and slick: Pay attention to the concerted effort to evolve the look and feel of the Premier League with deliverables and audiences in mind. We’re seeing a distinct shift towards simplified designs that put screen displays and audiences first – making content easy to see, consume and understand.
3. Evolution not revolution: Most importantly, Nomad has looked at finding different ways of getting the product into our eyeballs. This is where the rebrand has been a triumph. It’s nothing dramatic, so much so that I hadn’t even realised there had been a change. It’s a step forward – one that is just enough to make us realise we love the game just that little bit more than we did before.
Time to refresh your communications with a focus on accessibility? We can help. Send us an email to talk about how.