Launched in 2011 on the way upwards, the Richmond Tigers revitalised a logo that lasted (at least in modern terms) for a fairly long time – 16 years. The club was born in 1885 and entered the competition in 1908, originally making a reputation as a particularly gentlemanly and sportsmanlike club. The Tigers name was part and parcel of the Richmond Football Club virtually from day one, though they were also referred to as the Wasps. It was in these early days that the yellow sash had its beginning, and is the most important part of the Richmond Football Club’s branding ever since.
I’ve discussed earlier about how the most important branding touchpoints for football teams have nothing to do with the logo design, and with Richmond this is still the case. As with Collingwood who have kept using their slightly outdated logo for over 20 years, Richmond can allow themselves the luxury of history and tradition to let the logo be a secondary or tertiary branding issue. Where other clubs have rebranded more often in that time, the timelessness of the Richmond sash makes any new logo a bit redundant. For the purposes of the exercise however, I’ll still give it a review.
The previous logo for all intents and purposes was getting really outdated and old, and too many local Tiger-named clubs had pinched it for their own uses which diluted the Richmond brand. It looks amateur now, even though it hadn’t in 1995. Everything about it now feels old: the overly detailed tiger and the choice of font, but most of all for me the gap between the H and M in Richmond just looks way too big. Those are technical details, however I also feel that it missed the mark in a big-picture communication sort of way. It just looks like a logo from the 1990s and could have been for any tigers club called Richmond. It doesn’t sell the club’s history. It doesn’t sell the message.
This new logo does something that bucks a trend which others have explored. Rather than removing the location from the logo and keeping only the mascot name (or making the location very small), Richmond is now front and centre of the logo. The Tiger is in the shield, but the only text is Richmond – Est 1885. It’s a powerful statement for a club that enjoys one of Australia’s highest membership numbers while consistently performing poorly. By embracing their history and the history of their location, they’re giving supporters a real story to hold on to. While the Richmond of today is worlds apart from the Richmond of the late 1880s, their team song (written in the 1960s) still rings true: “Like the Tigers of old, we’re strong and we’re bold.” This is a logo which represents both parts of that sentence.
It’s great to see a team recognise it’s own personality and develop that into a logo, even if the main touchpoint is the sash. Richmond have recognised the power of consistency throughout their branding and it has led them to a great result with their latest logo. It’s not flashy and gimmicky and full of vague icons like the Melbourne shield, but it is strong, it is bold, and it honours the past, and you can’t get much better than that!