Visualizing an Identity: the Story behind Football Tribe's Name, Logo, Colour and Slogan.
by Cesare Polenghi, CEO of Football Tribe
When I was younger, so much younger than today, I played in several rock groups. One of the most exhilarating moments in forming a new band was deciding on the name.
I imagine that process too has become way more complicated now, as it involves Google searches and finding an available URL.
Back in the day, such brainstorming sessions used took place at a pub and involved several litres of alcohol. A lot of idiotic names were thrown around and discarded in a matter of seconds, there was the occasional brawl, and finally a clear and distinct feeling of panic upon realizing that the first gig was less than a week away, there were posters to prepare, and the band had no name as of yet.
Such memories surfaced in January of 2017, when I found myself with only a few days to pick a name, logo, font and slogan for my new project, the one that has become Football Tribe.
With limited time available, after reading what I could on names and branding, I had two basic ideas: the first was to go with a very simple four or five-letter name, something simple, cute and a bit mysterious, and of course inspired by football.
After much consideration I emphatically came up with the perfect name: “Pito”. It sounded great! And it had four letters which could easily be combined into a logo. I also thought it had a nice meaning, “whistle,” in Spanish.
Alas, when I ran it through a native Spanish speaker friend, she cracked up laughing before telling me that in Spanish, “Pito” is also a slang word used for “penis.” Incredulous, I went straight for a Google search, and… well, that was another bad mistake.
My second category of possible names were “classics.” I wanted to come up with something that would not only put users at ease, but also, by choosing the words wisely, embody the vision I had of a grassroots site made by fans and for fans.
I settled on the idea of using two words: the first was to be either soccer or football. In the end I went for the latter, despite its use for other sports in the US and Australia.
The first brilliant combo I came up first with was Football Nation. “Nation” here was not meant to represent a state or a country, but instead a conglomerate of people who share customs and traditions. In all honesty, I believed there could not be a better name, but… As it turned out somebody had thought of it before — doh.
Enlightenment finally came to me on a grey winter morning, fuelled by many coffees, while watching a documentary from the “Human Planet” series. The word I was looking for was “Tribe.” The same concept of a nation, but smaller, wilder, and of course also a tribute to one of the greatest football books ever written: Desmond Morris’ “Soccer Tribe”.
And so Football Tribe, which was miraculously not already in use and had a URL available, came into existence.
The creation of our typeface and logo took less time, as the vision I had for the style of our brand was quite clear in my mind. The major source of inspiration were the immortal design elements of Mexico ’70, which I re-packaged with the help of a Japanese graphic designer.
Then it was time to choose the colours. While green not my favourite colour as I never seem to wear it well, it was seemingly meant to be. It became our ‘first color’ to represent the surface of the grass pitch upon which the beautiful game is played. Brown and grey became our second and third colours; they are the colours of dirt and concrete, the two surfaces I and many others grew up playing football on.
Last but not least was our slogan. “Feel the Passion” is a concept any football fan is more than familiar with, and I realized that if this project were to be a success, we would need millions across Asia to “Join the Tribe.”
Unlike the names I picked for my bands (“Shalala" and “Whizzy Wig” the worst ones I can remember, but there were more), Football Tribe has so far survived the test of time, and I still do think it is a very good name. Our visual branding is simple and neat, and I don’t foresee any changes to the design soon. That said I might consider a different shade of green!
In our quest to bring genuine football coverage to Asia, made by and for Asian football fans, I won't rest on laurels. While I am not a professional designer or marketing manager, I will do my best to keep my creativity sharp, and always consider how our Tribe are represented in the world.
Feel the Passion