"Simple", "Bold" and "Brave" are some of the words that have been used to describe the new logo and identity of Juventus F.C by Interbrand Milan... "Disgusting", "ludicrous" and "incredibly shit" have been the reaction from angry football fans. So what is all the fuss about? Well see for yourself:
The positioning statement of "Black and white and more" is a sign of Juventus "fearlessly embracing its potential as an identity brand" according to Interbrand. The mark is the visual manifestation of a growth strategy that sees the club moving 'beyond football'. The aim is to become more of an entertainment or lifestyle brand, via partnerships with other leading Italian brands.
So why the uproar? Well lets get an insight into the evolution of the crest from its inception through to today:
Other than 1979 (which by the way is awesome) the badge has been symbolic for its black and white stripes, the bull (the symbol of the home city of Turin) and the oval shield.
As you can see, everything that was symbolic of 'The Old Lady' of Italian football has been abandoned. In it's place is a geometric, sharp-edged letter J forming the shape of a shield with a new condensed wordmark sitting above. This is one of the most modern, contemporary logos I've ever seen for a football club and while it looks great as a brand, I question the logic behind this.
Ok I get the fact it is trying to align itself as a 'more than football' lifestyle brand that corporate sponsors can get behind. But what about the 40,000 fans that attend the stadium in Turin every weekend, the 210,000 club members or the 24 million social media followers? Surely with a fan base this large who generate millions in revenue, wouldn't it have been a good idea to engage with them during the process?
It seems in an attempt to turn Juventus into a 'premium brand' what they have managed to do is alienate the very people who have been the lifeblood of the football club for over a century (and they're very pissed off about it).
To demonstrate the shift from fan focus to premium lifestyle brand, you need look no further than pomp and ceremony of the launch event:
Other than the fact the party was tailored to entertain celebrity superstars rather than the fans, to add insult to injury, the choice of venue for the launch... Milan! The home of two of Juve's biggest rivals! No wonder they're less than happy!
But lets put all matters of target audience aside for the moment. Lets assess the brand in terms of the design and execution:
They've certainly taken the "Black and white" and given it "more". The font is everything we come to expect from a custom sports brand typeface. The black and white photography works well with the grid system of the visual language and the logo used in isolation from the wordmark looks bold and striking. This is something you would expect from a Nike or an Adidas rather than a football club but in all honesty it works really well.
The merchandise rollout has its good points and bad points. The black and white works particularly well on the t-shirts and tote bags and the football with the brand paired with the Adidas brand demonstrates how this new brand can hold its own with other premium sports brands. Now the bad... that stretched typeface. It looks ok on the aforementioned tshirts and totes, but on the notebooks it demonstrates how it shouldn't be done. The word 'stories' and the '1897' look horrible! Go back and look at the 'stretched' version of the typeface. This looked fine and complimented the other weights of type. So why did they have to go 'so stretched' as to make words almost illegible?
Don't get me wrong, there's a side of me that likes the simplicity and boldness of this new logo. As an emblem it certainly stands out from the rest of the clubs in Serie A. But as a football fan, I can't help but question why they chose to abandon 100 years worth of heritage? Surely they must have realised what the fans reaction would be. Its not as though its not been tried, tested and failed before.
Remember Everton F.C's attempted rebrand from the 2013/14 season?
The fan backlash resulted in a complete U-turn and as a result, a redesigned crest that had major fan input adorned the kit a year later. Bear in mind, Everton's rebrand wasn't anywhere near as bold as what Juventus have done!
With the backlash already in full swing on social media will Juventus have the will to stick to their guns and see this through? Or will fan pressure lead to another spectacular U-turn?