Chicago Fire FC are seeking fan involvement to develop a new visual identity and primary crest, the club announced Friday. The project is expected to conclude by the end of 2021 season, positioning the new badge to debut on Fire kits ahead of the 2022 season, the club's 25th in MLS.
The development comes one year after Chicago launched their current brand identity and badge before the 2020 season. That coincided with owner and chairman Joe Mansueto coming into his role and an overall new direction as they returned to Soldier Field for home matches.
“Exactly one year ago today, I told our fans if the existing badge wasn’t working for them that we’d fix it – and that’s what we are going to do,” Mansueto said in a club release. “Fans have made their voices heard over the past year and now we’ll undergo a fan-focused process to create an identity that will stand for all Chicago for decades to come.”
Mansueto first shared the news with Fire season ticket holders, who will be involved throughout the project via roundtable, interviews and surveys. Any supporter looking to participate can visit chicagofirefc.com/crest to provide their input.
Chicago have assembled a collection of design and branding professionals for the project, including soccer crest specialist Matthew Wolff, brand design and consulting firm Studio/lab and sports marketing agency rEvolution. Kyle Sheldon, the club’s senior vice president of marketing, will oversee the entire project.
“While we’ve assembled a talented group of brand and identity experts who love Chicago, it will be the fans’ voices that guide our work,” Sheldon said in a club release. “This project will be open and transparent and our sole focus is to create a crest for which all Chicago can be proud. We look forward to hearing from all who want to add their voice.”
Fan submissions at chicagofirefc.com/crest will be reviewed to identify recurring ideas and themes. The Fire have also launched the Stand for Chicago Council, a group that’s meant to ensure the project gives voice to the diverse people of Chicago. The advisory council will be chaired by author, poet and activist Kevin Coval, who is the Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors.
“I look forward to helping put together a team of people who love Chicago,” Coval said in a release. “I want the group to look like the city itself and will ensure there's a diversity of voices and experiences well represented at the table.”
The Fire are entering their second season with head coach Raphael Wicky at the helm. They return most of their roster from 2020, though narrowly missed out on the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs as the 11th-placed team in the Eastern Conference.