Chicago Fire Football Club officials announced the soccer team will introduce a new crest and "visual identity" for the 2022 season.
Chicago Fire Owner Joe Mansueto shared the plan in an open letter Friday, according to a release, telling fans they will be involved in the team's upcoming project.
“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,” said Mansueto. “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.”
Though the soccer team hired a variety of design and branding professionals, who have developed visuals for other teams both in the U.S. and worldwide. Designer Matthew Wolf has created branding for teams such as a the Green Bay Voyageurs Football Club, the Charleston Battery and Louisville City Football Club. He has also designed the 2018 World Cub kits for Nigeria and France.
Studio/labs consulting firm in Chicago, who is also assisting in the new designs, worked on projects for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago History Musum and the Chicago Loop Alliance, among others.
“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,” said Sheldon. “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.”
Fans of the Fire are invited to view the project and share their feedback by visiting www.chicagofirefc.com/crest.
Mansueto said in 2019 that he had three goals for the Fire, which joined MLS in 1998: Win championships, build a world-class organization and connect with the community.
At the same time, the Fire also rebranded the club — with new colors and a new logo. The team changed its name from “Chicago Fire Soccer Club” to "Chicago Fire Football Club." Gold was introduced, along with blue and red.
A new crest is meant to symbolize both a crown and Chicago rising from the ashes of the great fire. The intentions were good: Chicago's badge had sometimes confusing similarities to the one used by the Chicago Fire Department.
But the rebrand did not go over well. Critics jumped on the color scheme as being too close to Real Salt Lake's. There were also concerns that the yellow crown could be associated with the Latin Kings, a violent Chicago gang.
Mansueto acknowledged the rough launch but urged patience.