The damned United logo: Leeds scolded by fans for crowdsourced crest redesign


By John McCarthy | Media editor

January 24, 2018 | 7 min read

Championship football club Leeds has unveiled a minimalist, crowdsourced crest that has caused a furore on Twitter, any marketing manager's nightmare.

Leeds Badges

The new Leeds United badge and petition

The club claims that that more than six months of research went into its new logo, including consultations with 10,000 supporters. It described the finished work as "celebrating fans at the heart of our identity". Many fans did not entirely agree with this declaration.

Leeds United celebrates its centenary in 2019 and set out to create a brand that can see it through the next hundred, although its badge has evolved numerous times over the last century.

The history of Leeds badges

Leeds United said it came to this design "through digital surveys, one-on-one and group interviews and meetings with legends, current players, club staff, the owner, partners and representatives from the Leeds and Yorkshire communities".

The social media community, however, has been less than welcoming of the new identity.

There is now also a petition to veto the logo which has quickly accumulated 24,000 signatories. To contextualise the sheer volume of votes, Leeds' Elland Road stadium has a 37,890 capacity.

Some fans got behind the club's intent if not its execution. Particularly the involvement of the fans in this announcement video.

It is only a minor exaggeration to say that most sporting logo designs get a baptism of fire on social media, the most recent examples including a new Juventus logo and a not entirely dissimilar effort from Formula One.

Rival club Aston Villa made reference to the mockery. If you scroll up, you may see a passing reference to the Pro Evolution Soccer series. The game rarely had licensed clubs and players, each club had an identifiable nom de plume. Villa has announced a clash with Leeds using these names.

Russian club Zenit St Petersburg also got involved in the ridicule.

The Drum has reached out to the club to learn more about the redesign.

UPDATE: Leeds has rolled back the new logo. Angus Kinnear, club managing director told BBC Radio Leeds: "We need to reopen the consultation process... because the direction is so distinctive and breaks with a lot of conventions, that consultation process hasn't gone deep enough."


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