Forest City FC | Case Study

Grow The Forest City — The design and proposal for a CPL expansion team in London, Ontario.

Owen Morley
Mar 2 · 8 min read

Project Type: Academic, Passion Project
Category: Branding
Tools: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
Industry: Sports

An Introduction

History

In 2017, the Canadian Soccer Association sanctioned the Canadian Premier League (CPL). A Tier 1 soccer league that will begin in the spring of 2019. For their inaugural season, seven teams will face off across Canada. Some of these teams include; York, Hamilton, Winnipeg, and more. There are also talks of expanding the league to even more teams. Cities such as Moncton, Regina, and Quebec City have all shown interest. It’s important to note that one city should not be ruled out. A city which has deep roots to soccer through the Croatian Club, German Club, Marconi Club, League1 Ontario, and city leagues. London, Ontario is a suitable host for an expansion team.

Demographic

Age
Young Children to Seniors

Culture
Soccer and local London sports fans, looking to cheer for the next professional team.

Income
Fans who want to spend quality time at a game or rock merchandise and jerseys should have a bit of disposable income to support their new favourite team as ticket prices could vary on price ($25–$200) and quality fan jerseys could ride up to $80.

Brief

The branding of a soccer team itself should include several elements such as logo, jerseys, merchandise, tickets, and more. The brand should ring true and represent the city it is based in, in this case, London, Ontario. All products should look appealing to fans, players, and owners. It’s important to mockup all executables with high quality to stand out over the rest of the competitors.

Research

First, I had to compile information about London, Ontario. This could be information about London’s involvement with professional soccer in the past or just historical information about the city.

The information I compiled showcased current high-level amateur teams, monuments of that represent London in which would also be pegged to potential team colours and the official motto of the city. Through more research, I found that the nickname of London is The Forest City. This is because London used to be known for its deep green forests that surrounded the neighbouring areas. Because there was already a team using the London name (FC London) I decided that it would be best to name the team after the nickname, creating Forest City FC.

Logo Comparison Chart

I also needed to pair the existing team brands together to see what kind of trends exist within the league. To do so, I took the seven current teams logos/crests and plotted them together on two spectrums. One that scaled static to abstract logo, and another that scaled modern to traditional logos. My findings showed that team crests followed a linear pattern from Modern and abstract to Static and Traditional. To break this boundary I decided that it was necessary that the logo of Forest City should have a logo that remained static and modern. I chose this over abstract and traditional because together it would create a crest that wouldn’t resemble soccer or sports that well.

Design Strategy

Back in my research, I had three departments that could help represent the city of London. The Thames River, a river that flows across the city of London in its entirety. This would take form as a darker blue if it were to be applied. London has a deep brewing history through the Labatt company. This would take the colour of Gold to represent the beer. The forestry is the final department. Due to its name, Forest City, It would be the one to have the most presence in the brand. This would be represented by a forest green.

With forest green selected as the primary colour. A secondary or accent colour would have to be chosen. Going back to the darker blue from the Thames, it wouldn’t be the best option because forest green and a darker blue would clash against each other and it would make it difficult to make out the different colours when shrunken down. This leaves the brewery and their gold. Gold leaves to be the best option as naturally, forest green works well with bright and shining colours as it creates a strong contrast.

Imagery

Imagery is important in sports because it helps create an identity and a mascot for a team. With Forest City, I found three iconic statutes that would bolster the representation of the city. The Blackfriars Bridge, The Covent Garden Market, and the Forests.

Blackfriars Bridge, Covent Garden Market, and Sifton Bog

The Logo

With the initial roughs of the logo, I wanted to try out a variety of different crest shapes. playing around with them so I could have multiple different implications of imagery within. For a one, I took the top of the crest and designed it with the intent of looking like the structure of the Covent Garden Market. Another design took an arched top to fit in a replica of the Blackfriars Bridge. In the middle of all the logos included a tree. Which is the official symbol of London. However, I wanted to change the design of the tree to help better represent the city.

The biggest and most important change towards the tree was the number of leaves that were on the tree. In the case of the Forest City, 46 leaves are part of the tree. This is to represent the 46 neighbourhoods within the city.

When it came to the design of the crest I originally went in three directions. Each one becoming more minimalistic. All three crests would have the tree in the same placement and the city motto of LABORE ET PERSEVERANTIA (Labour and Perseverance). The idea of having the Covent Garden Market was taken out due to the complications of the design and having a busy logo. The first Crest had pinstripes like a soccer pitch along its background with a minimal design Blackfriars Bridge. The second had the removal of said pinstripes. The third had the removal of the bridge and a replacement of the words FOREST CITY.

I found that to match a modern and static logo it would be best to have a conservative amount of detail and imagery. For that reason, I developed the third further. I found that there was too much white space within the crest. I redesigned the crest to look more like a kite-shield while keeping the curved sides. I also moved the FOREST CITY text back to the bottom of the logo to stack with the city motto. These changes made up for the final design.

The Final Logo/Crest for Forest City FC

The Typography

Lato Bold was the font of choice for the brand due to its mixture of rounded and sharp corners. It is also a font that doesn’t lose its structure when arced. As a sans serif it also aids in modern design rather than the traditional.

The Executables

Many different executables went into compiling this brand. A few include jerseys, tickets, and flags.

The Kits

An important part of all sports. It’s good to look great while playing. Forest City’s kits would have to reflect the crest, the team, and the city’s values. This way it is most appealing to the players and the fans.

Home, Away, and Goal Keeper kits *Note sponsors are for decoration purposes only*

For the home kit, a classic pinstripe top was used. The colours in said pinstripe were done green on green to get a contrasting element that resembles a field. The trim for the shorts and jersey are done in the gold accent colour to create a nice contrast. For the away kit we take a different approach. It is quite common to have a different contrasting kit as an away kit in this era of soccer. To do this, the kit has a green to white gradient from the shorts up. This is also applied to the socks. The shorts trim is white while the jersey trim is forest green. For the goalkeeper kit, it is required by rules to have a bright jersey of a different colour to differentiate from the other players. In this case, we have a light blue kit with gold trim.

The Flags

Flags are an important part of soccer because it is an easy way to support your team. The main flag features the Forest City tree in the middle of a forest green background. Subsidiary flags include ones that are checkered and crossed with green on green colouring.

The Ticket

You cant enter a game without a ticket! Each ticket takes a North American sporting approach, a verticle ticket which usually includes an action shot of a featured player. This is done to make the ticket look more as a souvenir and takeaway instead of just an RSVP. The date, time, and opposing team are all included as well as seating placement.

Sponsors used in this image are purely for decoration.

Conclusion

This brand is meant to represent London and its sporting community. As well it is also supposed to inspire young athletes who now have the potential to enter a domestic tier 1 league which can lead to greater international opportunity. When assigned a passion project, I knew this was something I always wanted to do and I’m glad how it turned out. Who knows? Forest City might even become a reality in the next few years!

Owen Morley

Written by

UI and Graphic Designer based in Toronto.

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