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Logo Review: Geelong Cats

June 23, 2013
Geelong Cats Football Club Players

The Geelong Cats are one of the greatest teams of the past decade. From 2007-2011 they won premierships in every consecutive odd year. In the modern football era where teams aim to win 1 or 2 premierships then rebuild for another go at it within 4 or 5 years, the sustained success of the club is remarkable. Even now in 2013 they’re still a major force in the competition.

Launched for the 2008 season after a 4 year rebranding process, the latest Geelong Cats logos are an interesting study into modern football club rebrands. In 2007 a new motto was decided upon. According to this Geelong Advertiser article the new motto was “Footy Full On”, and the Chief Executive explained it like this:

“Footy full-on means whatever we do is full-on. We might not win every game, but we’ll be full-on. We might not serve the best coffee every time, but we’ll be full-on.”

Brian Cook
Geelong Football Club CEO

Cook said the club had to develop a strong brand, irrespective of on-field success.

“It’s about getting bigger and better and more popular. We wanted to identify, from a behavioural point of view, a point of difference. The new brand reflects these values,” he said.

“Footy full-on means whatever we do is full-on. We might not win every game, but we’ll be full-on. We might not serve the best coffee every time, but we’ll be full-on.”

The rebranding of a club is a fantastic way to bring in a new or improved club vision. One of the things I love about the Advertiser article is the part about ‘…irrespective of on-field success’. The more I’ve learnt about great clubs in Australia, the U.S. and the U.K., I’ve found that the most successful clubs who have turned their clubs fortunes around are the ones that invest heavily into their off-field success, where managing a club isn’t just about player and staff management (or how many pokies venues you’ve got), but also about growing the membership and supporter base. Yes, winning a premiership is one of the greatest things a club can do to grow financially, however a more sustainable and longer lasting version of growth can be found with investing in increased fan and sponsor engagement.

Now to review the logo…

The latest logos definitely reflect the new brand values of the club, and for that they receive a big tick in my book. The front-on cat-in-the-shield is ‘full on’ and the type is all bold, which ties in nicely with the corporate vision of the club to become more adventurous. The secondary logo (far right above) which is used on the uniforms would keep the traditional punters happy, in the event that some saw the new primary mark as possibly being too Americanised or cartoony.

Geelong Cats Logo Evolution
Geelong Cats Logo Timeline, 1970 onwards.

My complaints about the new logo are only focused on the primary logo and are more technical in nature. As I said earlier, conceptually it works and it ties in with the rest of the brand, however the area at the top of the cat’s head with the ears doesn’t integrate nicely into the shield where there’s an overly large chunk of navy blue left between the cat and ‘Geelong’ text. The full logo also uses a lot of effects that cheapen the mark, like beveled text edges, dodgy shine effects and a pointless gradient. I wonder what other options of this logo looked like, to see if there could have been a better way to integrate the ‘Cats’ word in. Speaking of the ‘Cats’, the typeface choice looks a lot like a Windows system font, which in and of itself doesn’t really help to distinguish a point of difference for the club, but that is a fairly minor complaint.

In conclusion the new logos bring Geelong into the modern era visually, while behind the scenes they keep kicking goals which will only make the Geelong Cats a powerhouse club for years to come.