The Fire are admitting they got their logo wrong. And now they’re trying again.
On Friday, the team announced it will unveil a new crest in time for the 2022 season, the Fire’s 25th in MLS. The current badge, loathed by fans and mocked by neutrals when it was released in November 2019 and still quite unpopular, will be on Fire jerseys during the 2021 season and then retired.
“Exactly one year ago today, I told our fans if the existing badge wasn’t working for them that we’d fix it — and that’s what we are going to do,” Fire owner Joe Mansueto said in a news release, referencing an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “Fans have made their voices heard over the past year and now we’ll undergo a fan-focused process to create an identity that will stand for all Chicago for decades to come.”
The new logo will be a collaboration between soccer designer Matthew Wolff, brand design and consulting firm Studio/lab and sports marketing agency rEvolution. Kyle Sheldon, the Fire’s senior vice president of marketing, will lead the project.
The Fire also said supporters will be heavily involved in the new look. Mansueto broke the news Friday morning in an open letter to season-ticket holders, and starting this month there will be roundtables, interviews and surveys with fans about the next badge. Supporters are also invited to submit ideas about the future logo and even concepts of their own.
“Together, we will create a great crest for a great club,” Mansueto said in the letter.
Some felt the Fire’s original logo, based on the Florian Cross symbolic of firefighters and worn from 1998-2019, was that great crest. In a Q&A, the Fire said there will not be a complete return to that mark.
“While we know there are many who love the club’s original Florian Cross badge, this project is about coming together to create a new identity for the future of this club — and the outcome will not be an outright return to the original identity,” the team said. “Everything from our club’s history is on the table as a point of inspiration.”
The 2019 rebrand represented a departure from the Fire’s history in numerous ways, not to mention changing the club’s official name to Chicago Fire Football Club. The oval-shaped badge incorporates yellow and the Fire Crown, and neither element caught on. The primary uniform had always been red and usually included a bold white stripe across the chest, but the 2020 team’s main kit was blue with diagonal red pinstripes.
The tweaked name will remain, but the rest is subject to change for 2022. The shirts could revert to red, and the team’s colors may undergo another adjustment.
The rollout of the current logo couldn’t have gone worse for the Fire. When it was released in 2019, the #cf97 Twitter hashtag was flooded with negative posts. The badge was also compared to the Latin Kings’ logo, and criticized widely.
Friday’s news will undoubtedly draw better reviews.