D8 Football Rebrand

A Jaggy Rebrand: Partick Thistle

By The Drum | Administrator

May 22, 2008 | 6 min read

Football these days isn’t just about million-pound salaries, fast cars and even faster women – although you might be fooled otherwise. Partick Thistle went back to the roots of ‘real football’ when it launched a its new look at the end of the seas

The agency was approached initially because of its track record of high profile branding exercises (including ScottishPower and Six Cities) and its often alternative viewpoint, which PTFC felt could be a good match for the club.

The main problem that faced the agency was that there was little or no cohesion to anything produced and the main identity itself was badly dated: It didn’t speak to anyone. The fans couldn’t identify with it and it didn’t represent a club steeped in triumph and despair in equal measures.

Before the team embarked on creating a new badge it came up with a concept to underlie the whole process.

After much research and discussion D8 came up with ‘Real Scottish Football’ as a proposition to underpin everything. Working with the copywriter Simon Platt, the following definition was produced:

“Real Scottish Football is giving 110 percent – and then 10 percent more. Real Scottish Football is real players. Names you recognise. People you know. Real Scottish Football is raw young laddies and journeymen pros. Flashy keepers and nae nonsense centre halves. It’s pie and bovril and scarves and tammies. Real Scottish Football is no the same as it was my day – and yer talking nonsense man. It’s has-beens and might’vebeens and neverwasses. It’s PENALTY! and OFFSIDE REF!

“Real Scottish Football is 1921 and 1971 and, who knows, 2009. Because Real Scottish Football is eternal optimism too. Real Scottish Football is Campbell, Crichton, Bulloch, Harris, Wilson, Borthwick, Blair, Kinloch, Johnstone, McMenemy and Salisbury. It’s Rough, Hansen, Forsyth, Glavin, Campbell, Strachan, McQuade, Coulston, Bone, Rae and Lawrie. It’s Jimmy Aitken and John Lambie. It’s winning back to back promotions - and sliding back down again in only one season more.

“It’s Honved and Metz and turning the Stade Municipal Saint-Symphorien red and yellow. It’s Save the Jags. Reclaimed crests and Under 16s go free. Real Scottish Football is Partick Thistle FC. The Jags, the Harry Wrags and 100 years at Firhill. Real Scottish Football is back – and there’s lots more to come. On the pitch and off it, 2008/09 is the year of Real Scottish Football.”

D8 felt that this mission statement went some way to addressing the problems facing football as a sport.

The game has become associated with huge transfer fees and shadowy agents, many fans feel the game is becoming detached from the original supporter. PTFC was brave enough to stand up and take the challenge on.

The badge, strip, identity and literature are a modern rethink of Thistle from the 60’s and 70’s, the Halcyon days of Scottish Football.

The hand drawn thistle, drawn by D8’s artist in residence Heather Docherty, was specifically meant to be aggressive and to look like you could cut your finger on it.

The agency wasn’t after a sanitised soft focus world, it wanted to embrace reality, harsh and painful though it may be sometimes.

Working in conjunction with Greaves Sports, PTFC’s retail partner, and Puma, D8 created the new strips and training kit. The home strip is based on traditional home designs but has all the advantages of a modern Puma top.

The new away top, still to be launched, is said to be a first for Scottish, indeed British football, and it is hoped that it will become a fashion icon. Unfortunately The Drum can’t reveal it today as it’s still under wraps.

The Real Scottish Football campaign was launched with teaser emails to get the fans talking. The fan sites were wild with speculation, not helped when the agency released a fake badge through an ‘insider’ at D8.

By the time of the official launch there were thousands of fans signed up, desperate to find out the truth. The overwhelming approval of supporters showed that they really got it and approved of the new look and tone.

The only voices of discontent have come from a few supporters who had the previous badge tattooed around various parts of their bodies. Thoughtlessly, D8 hadn’t considered that when designing the new badge.

“The PTFC board were very supportive and deserve to be applauded for their vision and, not to put to fine a point on it, having balls,” said D8 director, James Young. “Great things will be happening at Firhill next season, including under 16’s getting in free all year, so we look forward to working on further projects with the club. Who knows, a few years from now it might be a special commemorative top to celebrate winning the champions league.”

Allan Cowan, chairman, Partick Thistle Football Club added: “We had not worked with design consultants before, having gone along with the old fashioned view that all football fans want is 90 minutes of action and none of that fancy dan stuff about image. How wrong we were!

“Our supporters loved the concept of Real Scottish Football and the ‘new’ look which came with it. It was the source of great debate and excitement until the concept was unveiled at the last game of the season with only a few tasters to whet the appetite beforehand.

“People loved the fact that a football club was trying to jazz up the image beyond the annual re-launch of strips or a new club tie. Even better, the concept is a developing one allowing us to continue for the future.

“Those of us who have been around Partick Thistle for a long time tend to cling on to old concepts – we have always done it this way, type of thing.

“Despite initial reluctance, due to our Conservatism, we were won over by bold ideas and constant enthusiasm.”

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