New Norwich City badge - why all the fuss?
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY
It was a nice touch of coincidence that allowed Norwich City to unveil their new badge on the 120th anniversary of the club’s formation.
It’s unlikely Robert Webster and Joseph Cowper-Nutchey would have had the badge down on their agenda for their historic call to arms at the Criterion Café on June 17, 1902.
And when the first badge and kit came along it wouldn’t have crossed their minds that there was money to be made in how the players dressed for games.
The ‘old badge’ was designed by a supporter, Andrew Anderson, who won £10 for his efforts after entering a competition run by the Eastern Evening News.
It first saw the light of day in 1972 – and until yesterday, had been seen most days by most Norwich City fans.
With the help of a design agency it has been tweaked – modernised if you like. Thanks heavens they stuck very close to the original design or we could have had a revolution on our hands.
Club badges are sacrosanct. Change them at your peril. And if you do take the risk then be prepared for a backlash. What City have done is to tinker a little, but nowhere near enough for anyone to have any genuine complaints over the new look.
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History shows that a complete overhaul can be disastrous.
In January 2018 Leeds dropped the badge that had the club initials and replaced it with the name spelled out and a male torso with its fist across its heart – the Leeds Salute.
It took six months to design, thousands of people were consulted. In a day, 50,000 people had signed a petition urging the design to be dropped.
A month later the club backed down.
Cardiff had similar problems a dozen years ago when relatively new owner Vincent Tan swapped the traditional blue shirt for a red one, dropped the bluebird badge and popped a dragon image on there. As you do. Three years later, blue shirts were back and a small red dragon was slotted in to keep Mr Tan quiet.
Those two are extreme examples: most clubs are content to do what City have done, which is to keep the design and just modernise it. Whilst Mr Anderson’s design was a deserved competition winner, it was probably due a tidy-up.
But why is something like a badge so important? Footballers grab it and kiss it as if it is their very soul, but are happy enough to leave it behind and swap for another one as they chase the footballing dollar. And it’s doubtful they check their new club's badge for its kissability.
We just have an absolute obsession with logos, it grips us every day and in every walk of life, from T-shirts to handbags, to anything that is wrapped and has a pretty picture on it. If the crocodile motif on your shirt is facing the wrong way, you’ll be laughed at.
Badges, crests, whatever you want to call them, are clearly closer to the heart, in more than just a physical sense.
Norwich City say the new badge “pays homage to Norwich’s industrial past, when during the 16th century the textile and weaving industry in the town boomed following an influx of refugees from the Spanish Netherlands, known as The Strangers”.
The typeface is Norwich Weave, “which also takes inspiration from weaving practices. There are multiple variations of this font created for different occasions - from maximum impact to smaller sophisticated executions”.
This is no ‘£10 to the best design’ stuff, this is big, big business.
Heaven knows what the reaction would have been had the redesign been more drastic. What if City had done a Bolton, and had the initials NCFC stretched out from top to bottom?
Or if they’d dropped bits, like West Ham dropped their castle.
And there is something good about being a bit different: yellow kit, a bit of an unusual nickname, the oldest football song in the world, and a badge that says Norwich.
City could have got this terribly wrong; instead, they opted for minimal change. And upset hardly anyone.
Imagine if they’d paid respect to the farming community of Norfolk and put a tractor on it..,