When the brief came in to help redesign Norwich City F.C’s logo dropped in Tobias Hall’s inbox he admits he didn’t quite believe it; “I had to pinch myself.”
A lifelong football fan, Tobias describes the opportunity to work on an iconic emblem as a “dream job”. The ambition was to bring the much loved logo into the 21st century, but Tobias knew a lot of eyes were going to be on the final outcome. Talking to the Athletic after the successful launch, he cited the careful balance he had to maintain.
Fans are not interested in whether it’s a good piece of design. They are interested in what it means to them emotionally and the bond they have with it over countless years. The whole process is a balancing act between something that stays true to what the Norwich fans had come to love and also producing something to propel the club forward long-term, and all those practical considerations a modern-day club has to honour.
SomeOne, the agency handling the project, were careful in consulting fans across the club to make sure they understood exactly what made the crest so unique to Norwich. Creative Director Rich Rhodes said that the message was clear - “we just needed to take the best elements of what was already there and improve them.”
The crest could ultimately be broken down into 3 parts - the canary, the lion and the castle.
It was certainly memorable and easily recognised, but the heavy black outline and slightly poorly vectorised edges gave it an odd appearance on wide-screens and even caused issues with merchandise embroidery. While it was a fine fundamental design, the logo simply wasn’t fit for purpose.
Admittedly, the original lion will be missed by many, as its slightly unfit for purpose appearance had become a well loved oddity, however his elegant update undeniably adds a regal feel to the new design.
For a club oft called the ‘The Canaries’, it won’t surprise most people to know that there were quite a few versions created during the creative process.
“In some, the canary had flown off its ball, or was about to take off. It had spread its wings or was standing proud, chest out. There were highly detailed canaries, and others that were spotlighted from above, with dramatic shadowing below both bird and ball.”
To bring the final design of the new badge to the finish line, Robert Clarke was brought in to work on the finer details. Clarke is described as an iconic name and a craftsman with all manner of well-known credits to his name.
The new clean lines and smooth feel certainly blends well into the 21st century, and shows the club’s commitment to its long term future.
However both Tobias and Norwich remain firm in their decision to not release any of the drafts or unused versions, preferring instead to let all eyes remain on their final product.