The Fire are optimistic their rebrand can represent a bright new era for the franchise. They are coming back to Soldier Field under owner Joe Mansueto, will find a new coach and already have reshaped much of their organization.
Unfortunately, the response to the new logo is reminiscent of an old issue:
They still can anger their fans.
After leaking on social media last week and then being all but confirmed when an application by Major League Soccer with the United States Patent and Trademark Office was spotted online Wednesday, the team’s new logo was released Thursday. Designed by New York-based Doubleday & Cartwright, the badge was created after the Fire (now technically called Chicago Fire Football Club) underwent a process of more than 18 months of consultation, focus groups and surveys.
The result is a blue-oval logo with CHICAGO on top and FIRE FC on the bottom written in gold. Inside the oval are six triangles that make up what the team is calling the Fire Crown. The bottom three triangles are red and represent the Great Chicago Fire, and the top three are gold and represent the modern-day city and its people.
The new logo was met with criticism, but despite the feedback, the Fire are sticking with the new look.
“The club always values fan feedback but we’re excited about our new badge and so we are not considering any changes at this time,” the Fire said in a statement Thursday night.
The original Fire logo, based on the Florian Cross, a symbol of firefighters, is out. That mark, unveiled on Oct. 8, 1997, had been the only badge in franchise history.
The response to the replacement was swift and decidedly negative.
The #cf97 Twitter hashtag, used by the team’s diehard fans, was filled with downbeat posts soon after the 11 a.m. reveal. Responses to the tweets sent by the team, which did not use the #cf97 hashtag, had the same vibe. The negativity was apparent on Facebook as well.
In Thursday’s statement, the Fire said“[new] brands take time and repetition to build meaning. They will be judged in years, not days.”
The Vancouver Whitecaps, who also have six triangles in their logo, mocked the Fire’s new mark. Other memes popped up. The logo also drew comparisons to the crown of the Latin Kings.
“As a part of the design process, we made the assessment that the Fire Crown, in its entirety, is distinguishable and unique,” the Fire said.
Doubleday & Cartwright did not return an email and a message seeking comment.
The negative and visceral response isn’t a surprise. When the logo leaked a week ago, it was met with similar derision. Fans have developed a bond with the old mark, one that was worn for six trophies, most notably the 1998 MLS Cup championship.
The Fire must hope the background story about the logo will resonate with fans and overtake the initial reaction. In a release sent with the logo, Mansueto said, “[As] a Chicagoan, it was important to me that our new brand identity reflect the power of our city’s origin.
“I’ve always loved the Chicago Fire name,” he said. “I think of the people who rolled up their sleeves and committed to rebuild what would become a world-class city, one that my family and I love so much. The new badge including the Fire Crown represents that spirit.”
On Thursday, the spirit was one of rejection.
NOTE: The Fire announced they have exercised the 2020 contract options on forward CJ Sapong and defender/midfielder Raheem Edwards. The Fire have declined contract options on nine players, including Nicolas Gaitan and Aleksandar Katai.