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The New Fire Logo Is Garbage [UPDATED]

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The club had to get this brand refresh 100% right. It’s not even close.

MLS: Chicago Fire Announcement-Soldier Field Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE 11:05 am: Right at press time, the club made the new branding official. Original post is below.

A report by Jeremy Mikula of the Chicago Tribune has confirmed the patent filing for their upcoming re-brand that was posted to Twitter by user Don Crafts Wednesday morning. And, folks? It’s not good.

A generous interpretation of the symbol could describe it as a fire and its reflection on a lake. The new logo is a series of triangles mirrored vertically, encircled by the new name of the club, Chicago Fire FC. A color version was released last week, with the fire being colored yellow, and the reflection in the lake being red, surrounded by navy blue.

It’s a design reminiscent of generic, procedurally-generated video game soccer crests for teams that the developers couldn’t afford to license. It’s an oval with some stuff in it. I don’t know what audience it’s trying to appeal to. Maybe they think they can pull some Bundesliga or Premier League fans with the European aesthetic. Or maybe they’re trying their hand at some abstract expressionism, with all the skill and deftness of a first year SAIC student. Regardless of their intent, the result fails to impress.

Some fans also pointed out that the new logo bears some resemblance to symbols used by the Latin Kings street gang.

Given how long this re-brand has been in the works, it seems unconscionable that something like this would not have come up in the design team’s research. For a club that’s making a concerted effort to reconnect to its urban fanbase and re-establish itself within Chicago city limits, this kind of ignorance is simply indefensible

We— Fire fans broadly and those of us at Hot Time— thought that with the takeover, Joe Mansueto would be better able to understand what connects our local sports teams to the life and culture of the city. But from my point of view, he’s almost as clueless.

The argument can be made that this whole thing is Nelson Rodriguez’s baby. It was, after all, him driving the thought that the club needed a re-brand and that the current brand, with all its history, wasn’t working anymore. However, the buck stops with Mansueto. At any point, he could have stepped in and said no— or at least, made sure that it looked good. But he didn’t. He let Nelson Rodriguez have his vision of what the the club is.

The new logo is a brand without an identity. It looks vaguely European in order to attempt to allure a soccer fan who has less than zero interest in MLS or American soccer beyond the men’s national team. It’s lifeless and unrepresentative of the former players and fans who love the club.

If the Fire brain trust had any sense, they would cancel whatever plans they had, stop the rollout, and take whatever punishment MLS and Adidas will dole out for not having a new kit design this year. Whatever that punishment is, it can’t be worse than this.