PDX Football Club: the brand identity challenge
PDX Football Club was launched in 2017 with enthusiastic, local, soccer-smart ownership.
Their first-generation branding was equally enthusiastic, but year two brought the need for a strong, clear identity update, and a story to draw Portland towards support of their new hyper-local soccer team.
They’re a 4th division NPSL club, created to showcase local talent for higher levels. Profits go back into the running of the team – a perfect fit for community-oriented, “Soccer City” Portland.
For me it’s an ideal pro bono project, and I couldn’t wait to give back to the sport and city I love.
Josh Duder (volunteer marketing coordinator and action-packed hypeman!) approached me with the outlines of an idea:
Update the badge to subtly integrate local icons, connecting the club to Oregon at a glance.
And that’s what we did.
Oregon’s state bird. The shield from Oregon’s Great Seal. The famous “PORTLAND” sign at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
These ingredients were carefully stirred together (with a cheeky “put a bird on it” reference), expanding the previous year’s color palette, and the soon-to-be-iconic PDX Football Club badge was born.
Soccer badges need to look “badgey”. Strong, compact, readable from distance, and – the tricky part – need to fit into a century of tradition. Soccer supporters are a very sensitive to what works within our sport, and what’s … jarringly wrong.
Spoiler alert: we nailed it.
The response has been almost universally positive, with scarves, stickers, patches, and jerseys flying off the shelves.
*in the soccer world, logos are called “badges”. It’s a thing.
We built a rich graphic vocabulary with the black/gold/gray color palette, the use of broad striping, staggered sun rays, rugged overlay texture, etc.
Combining these graphic pieces in different ways creates range in the brand, allowing us to make merchandise, uniforms, and social media fresh, while keeping all pieces “in the family”.
Brand identity guide
Sample pages from the basic brand identity guidelines package. Every branding client receives one of these, along with the complete set of digital graphics for all print and online scenarios.