With their 50th anniversary right around the corner, Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC have unveiled a new visual identity system with tweaked colors and a simplified crest as its centerpiece.
About 19 months after club officials first announced they would “explore” the club’s identity, the Sounders unveiled the suite of new logos on social media on Tuesday, September 26.
At the heart of the “brand evolution” is the new, simplified primary crest. It features a Pacific Blue silhouette of Seattle’s Space Needle inside a Rave Green shield with a blue border. The year of the club’s founding (1974) flanks the Space Needle; no other text appears on the crest. The shield has an outline in Heritage Aqua, which is new to the color palette and “directly inspired by the color palette in the original North American Soccer League Sounders badge.” The shades of Pacific Blue and Rave Green have altered slightly “to be more wearable.”
“Today marks the culmination of much careful, contemplative and thorough work, and it is incredibly rewarding to now introduce Sounders FC’s brand evolution,” Sounders FC majority owner Adrian Hanauer said in a press release. “It was a dream achieved to bring the Sounders to Major League Soccer in 2009, but, like many of our fans, my love for the club started long before its MLS era. As Sounders, our past runs deep and proud, and that’s why we’re especially pleased to introduce this new visual identity, which isn’t so much a change as it is an evolution that more faithfully encompasses the entirety of the club. Every element in the brand now connects directly to our history. We are thrilled to continue building the Sounders legacy under our new crest as we celebrate our 50th anniversary and look ahead to the next 50 and beyond.”
The Sounders’ new visual identity system also includes new wordmarks that incorporate a brand new font created for the club. The font “is inspired by the original use of Futura Extra Bold in the original NASL logo and takes additional cues from the 1962 World’s Fair and maritime signage at the water’s edge of the Puget Sound.” The waves through each wordmark harken back to the Sounders’ original logo when they joined the NASL in 1974.
Tertiary marks include a cartoon orca, a carnation, a “74” logo and an “SFC” monogram.
The carnation stems from a club tradition that started in 1974 with players handing out flowers to fans as a token of appreciation for their support. The tradition continues today when players hand out carnations to fans after the final regular season home match each year.
The orca mark is inspired by the Sounders’ logo during their time in the American Professional Soccer League and the A-League, and “embodies Seattle’s connection to the water and the Puget Sound, while also leaning into the quirky, unconventional spirit of Seattle. Importantly, the Orca mark also serves as a reminder of the club’s commitment to sustainability, conservation and the environment.”
“I believe the work we’ve unveiled today is good, but, more importantly, it’s rooted in good work,” said Sounders FC chief revenue and marketing officer Taylor Graham. “Since Day One, the March to the 50th project has been driven by our community. The insights, strategy and design were all influenced by our fans, the Seattle community, our current and former players and more. Like many fans, my path to the Sounders started prior to 2009. As we approach our 50th anniversary, it’s fitting that our visual identity evolves to become as rich and expansive as our history and representative of all eras of the club – not just MLS. Today we take a critical step forward in defining the next 50 years of Sounders FC.”
Throughout the development of the new brand, the Sounders engaged fans through public surveys, one-on-one conversations, digital focus groups and in-person roundtables.
The Sounders will finish out the 2023 season, including the postseason, with their current crest and colors; the full transition to the identity unveiled Tuesday won’t happen until the 2024 season. But the new crest will start showing up around Seattle in the coming days, and limited quantities of merchandise with the new logos will be available at the team shop at Lumen Field.