• Transform magazine
  • June 22, 2024

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Angus’ A-Z of logos: Juventus

Angus Monthly Article J (1)

Pentagram partner and creative director Angus Hyland explains his appreciation for Italian football club Juventus’ revised club logo in his latest monthly Transform column on the A-Z of logo design.

The rampant commercialisation of professional football – both on and off the pitch – in recent years means that the top football clubs effectively now operate as powerful global brands.

What started as a humble team badge (confined to the football shirt, stadium entrance and the match day programme) has now become a logo, acting as the signifier for the football club brand. As well as the traditional replica kits, the club logo is now emblazoned across everything from babygrows to fridge magnets, dog jumpers and cuddly toys. The clubs have enormous wage bills and merch is an effective way to help pay them – Barcelona was top of the merchandise league last season, earning a cool €179 million.

As a result, the club badge is now subject to the same commercial forces as a consumer brand. In the same way that logos often become less figurative and more graphic as the brands become increasingly global, so have the football club badges. This is often to the annoyance of the long suffering fans who are emotionally invested and get fed up with the heritage of their beloved club logo being messed around with.

One of the most high profile and controversial transformations of recent years is that of Italian club Juventus. Apart from a few incarnations in the 70s and 80s when things went a bit off-piste, the Juve logo has always featured a crest, a crown, black and white stripes and the club mascot, which seems to morph between a zebra and a bull (which also happens to be the club mascot of sister Turin team Torino FC). 

Fast forward to 2017, and the new Juve logo is unveiled. An elegant, modernist-inspired graphic double ‘J’, it’s striking and modern, perfectly suited to a global brand and has nothing to identify it as belonging to a sports club.

Simplification of football logos is not a new thing however – many of us will remember the classic 1970s Leeds United badge with its on-trend bubble writing. And despite a brief flirtation with heraldry in the 1950s, Nottingham Forest has had the same stylised tree since the 1970s Brian Clough era.

Although widely mocked by fans on social media (with some likening it to JD Sports), seven years later the Juve logo is still going strong. This may be down to the club’s continued success, or maybe it’s simply because everyone has just got used to it? 

Like the success of the clubs themselves, things go in cycles, with traditional motifs often making a comeback as the clubs try to regain their form and relive the glory days. One thing’s for sure though, we haven’t seen the last of the Juve zebra, whether it’s prancing around the pitch before kick-off, or making a comeback on a future iteration of the Juve logo.

Next time, a camera company that was an instant hit.

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Angus' favourite 'I' logo can be found here.