New MLS Logo, New Direction

Major League Soccer (MLS) is getting a makover, logo included, in advance of its upcoming 20th season.

Sports Illustrated is reporting that MLS is trying to capitalize on soccer’s increase in popularity, thanks in part to this year’s World Cup. Now, with MLS signing major start from here and abroad, as well as two new teams getting ready to play in New York City FC and Orlando City, the MLS believes it is ready for a period of “accelerated growth.”

Since the MLS is empowered with a new TV deal, as well as signing up and coming starts such as Clint Dempsey, David Villa, and Michael Beasley, now is the time for a new logo to rebrand a new era for the league. The inspiration came after a visit to Portland, Oregon, and a game with the Portland Timbers. MLS chief marketing officer Howard Handler and MLS senior director of brand and integrated marketing David Bruce were in attendance.

Before the U.S. and Belize opened the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Timbers Army and American Outlaws unveiled a massive series of banners that featured “Cascadia Sam” and the words “Community,” “Club,” and “Country.”

Handler told Sports Illustrated, “It hit us square between the eyes. This was the very best of what the league can deliver.”

Over the next year, Handler orchestrated an overhaul which is reportedly grounded in what they found in Portland. The result: MLS Next. According to MLS Soccer, the new logo and branding will help MLS not only become a competitive league, but one of the best leagues in the world. They hope is will become a destination that the world’s top players will want to be.

MLS-teams 2

It starts with the new logo, the MLS Crest. Gone is the heavy, black and white boot and ball; in its place is a minimalist, tighter design. Each part of the crest has a meaning. The shield itself represents the unity of the league, with the diagonal line representing the energy of the game. The diagonal line also splits the shield in two, to represent the two halves of each game. The line overextends the shield to give it more energy. The three stars in the shield represent the three ideals Handler and Bruce found in Portland: Community, Club, and Country.

The new crest also allows easy transitions for each team. The original crest carries the colors of both the United States and Canada, but can also carry the colors of each team in the league.

“We’re really trying to position this league now as being very different from anything else out there,” Bruce said. “What we will do with the new brand is build in meaning over time.”

[MLS logo image courtesy of MLS Soccer]

[MLS teams imaged courtesy of RSL Soapbox]

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