Branding the world's most loved football league
Premier League is the top professional league in England, Europe and arguably, the world. For almost 15 years, its title sponsor, Barclays, has dominated everything about the brand, from its name to the brand experience and, as such, has shaped the perception of the organisation.
Premier League needed to stand alone and create a brand reflective of its global profile and diverse audience of almost 5 billion people.
Fan frustration and negative media and public sentiment was reaching an all time high due to controversy around ticket prices, broadcast rights pay out, player wages and continued investment in international over national players. Premier League was fast moving out of reach for normal people and losing connection with what football symbolises in the UK.
It's not the amount of pitches built, it's the lives changed on them.
Managing Director, Premier League
Historically the Barclays Premier League was about what’s happening on the pitch – players and scores, victory and defeat. We flipped this point of view. It’s the people who make Premier League what it is. From the players and managers, pitch side stewards and hospitality staff and the legions of die-hard fans, without everyone around the pitch, there’s no one on the pitch.
Our creative proposition ‘We All Make It’ turns the camera from the pitch to those surrounding it, celebrating the rich tapestry of people who love football and dedicate their time to help change lives through Premier League’s various programmes.
Practically, the brand needed to be technically capable of performing in all contexts and scales, from pitch banners to a shirt sleeve. We created an identity fit for purpose in all channels, from broadcast and in-stadium graphics to corporate comms, international events, web and social content, broadcast and advertising.
We evolved the iconic lion motif into a modern, graphic and personality-filled mark that holds its own among its competitors, while the bespoke typeface and bright colour palette create a brand with real impact.
We also addressed very specific moments and places the brand needed to show up and the challenges each one presented. We crafted a new Premier League trophy and overcame the problem of counterfeit shirts by designing a new badge with a substrate pattern woven into it as a security protocol.
Art direction and photography was a vital component of telling the ‘We All Make It’ story and one we’re particularly proud of. We went to games at every ground in the league, capturing real moments, fans and communities and showing a genuine snapshot of the fabric of British football.
Working at speed, we had weekly studio check-ins with the client and partner agencies. When it came to the colossal roll out, our team moved into Premier League HQ, becoming part of their team and working alongside every department and presenting the brand to every member of the Premier League organisation.
With a fresh new take on the iconic lion, we've created an identity that's purpose-built for the demands of the modern world, while staying true to the Premier League's history and heritage.
CO-FOUNDER AT DESIGNSTUDIO
We are very pleased with the outcome: a visual identity which is relevant, modern and flexible that will help us celebrate everyone that makes the Premier League.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, PREMIER LEAGUE
To help key staff and partners to think broadly about all the ways in which the brand could be activated, we ran all-agency days with up to 70 people to share and learn from each workstream and ensure everyone was focused in the same direction. With our help, the role of brand was elevated from non-existent to being the first thing people thought about in decision making.
The early leak and official launch garnered national attention due to the scale of change we were able to deliver. This radical departure set a new benchmark for sports branding, carving a new path that many have since tried to emulate.
Time has shown the effectiveness that our brand positioning and creative solution has delivered for the Premier League. ‘We All Make It’ continues to guide everything the brand does – visually, experientially and socially at scale across the globe. The brand has gone from strength to strength through new community activities, brand extensions and activations and its ability to communicate meaningful stories to a global audience.