New Louisville City Crest Unveiled
It’s been almost one year since Louisville City’s rebranding debacle. After a flurry of negative feedback from fans, the club rescinded its new crest (now dubbed the “vanishing crest”) and went back to the drawing board. After some secretive consultation meeting with select fans and others, take-two of the rebrand is here. Mitch Ried, vice president of sales and marketing, stated “The goal for us was to create something simple, bold and timeless that works in harmony with Racing Louisville FC.” This new version of Lou City’s crest was created by renowned designer, Matthew Wolff. Wolff was the brains behind the crests of Los Angeles FC, New York City FC, and Racing Louisville FC. “We love everything about the Lou City story going back to Day 1,” said club president Brad Estes. “This rebrand isn’t about changing our identity. It’s about the growth and evolution of our organization.”
Many fans, myself included, were apprehensive about the rebranding effort. Despite bringing in a design talent who has produced solid work in the past, I was having trouble letting go. It’s different getting your first and only crest (Racing Louisville) than it is parting ways with the one you already know and love. My initial reactions were mixed. I was happy that it was purple-dominate, kept a shield, and used the full “Louisville City” name rather than just “Lou City.” I was a bit underwhelmed with its simplicity and lack of accompanying accent colors beyond white. Despite my initial mixed reviews in my head, two factors also play into my overall judgment of this rebrand; the “why” behind it and the previous attempt.
The original crest was difficult for the club to use. The color scheme, particularly the gold, and the level of intricacy/detail were very challenging from a merchandising standpoint. It was not a professional job; it resulted from a fan contest but people fell in love with it, leaving the club with a branding barrier they may not have foreseen. With all that said, I can understand why the gold and the level of detail needed to go. Losing the gold was painful for me. That was one element I loved, but knowing the logic behind the reason makes it easier to accept (for me at least).
The issues with the previous rebranding attempt told us a lot about the club. They invested a lot of time and money into the effort that was ultimately frowned upon by fans. As a business, it would have been easy for them to just push forward and let the hate die down. The crest does not impact the on-field product that is the true driver of their ticket sales. Merchandise sales might not initially have been where they would have wanted them, but it’s not impossible to think that many would eventually come around and get their team’s latest gear. Who knows? They did not opt to go that route. Instead, they spent a considerable amount of additional time and resources (I’m sure Wolff was not cheap) to have another go at it. They listened. That choice is not something that many other businesses may have made. They swallowed their pride and losses and drove to do better. I truly appreciate that and it shows the quality of the front office we have. They are willing to admit mistakes and take action for the fans. As for the “vanishing crest” itself, I was very turned off by the usage of “Lou City.” It’s a great nickname for the club, but it does not belong on the official crest. The four-sided triangle, the cut-off star circle, and the grey also left much to be desired.
So, yes, my initial reaction was not an explosion of joy, but I do overall consider the rebrand a success. Previous issues were addressed (“Lou City”, four-sided triangle, etc.), elements of the old crest were kept (shield, fleur-de-lis, etc.), and the elements I liked on the old crest were only taken out for specific and understandable issues (which makes it more palatable). This new crest, unlike the “vanishing crest”, has a lot more potential to grow on me over time. Change is probably the hardest part of it. My reservations are mostly tied to losing the old rather than issues with the new. I appreciate the club listening to the fans. We all have fond memories of our now retired crest, but the negativity towards this process will eventually die down and most will likely look back at the rebrand as a success.
Those are my two-cents for what it’s worth. I’m more invested in seeing the team get back on the pitch than I am over branding disagreements.
While I have your attention, I want to call out that there are several charitable efforts happening right now with the Lou City and Racing Lou fanbases!