Football stickers, pitch patterns and fan art: the defining designs of the Premier League


As the new ripen of the Premier League gets underway this weekend, we mark its 25th birthday by converse to their designers about their favourite pieces of design from its record.

Richard Scholey, creative director, The Chase

“For stand out graphics you call for look no further than the goalkeeping kits of the 1990s, which storm Grayson Perry’s outfits appear positively dowdy. Why anybody hand down think these look good is another question but I would contemplate taking a penalty against anyone wearing one would have concocted your eyes water; maybe that was the plan.

In terms of the sketch out I’ve enjoyed most, it would have to be the pitch patterns cut in to the grass, with the concentric circumnavigates emanating from the centre spot being my own personal favourite. In phrases of design criteria they were highly original –creating truly a stir when they first appeared –strikingly graphic, showed a clever use of materials, and were expertly executed. Not sure the linesman whim agree though.”

Leanne Kitchen, designer, Johnson Banks

“My selected piece of design from the past 25 years of Premier Join forces is in fact 504 separate collectable designs, each as nostalgic, yet borderline as the last. Merlin’s Premier League official football sticker aggregation from 1998 included poorly chosen, cut-out photography, with the waters drop shadows, accompanied by dodgy Nineties hairdos and thick moustaches. It’s the year that my severely team of Barnsley Football Club were promoted to the Premier Society, only to be relegated the following year. Surely the hearts of anyone luxuriating up in the 1990s still miss a beat when they see these be directs, because of the adrenalin fuelled memories of opening a pack and catching a rare glimpse of a ‘flashing’.”

Pali Palavathanan, co-founder & creative director, Templo

“The last 25 years of football has seen the split between clubs and their fan bases widen, leaving fans perception disconnected and overlooked. The Premier League is now a multi-billion pound industry. Football alliances are run as well-oiled businesses first and foremost, focused on profit, and with junkies being seen more and more as ‘consumers’ rather than backers.

Being a big Liverpool fan – a club soaked in history – I’ve always been mesmerised by the bannerets and mosaics created by the fans themselves. They are used to tell the dead letter of the club, pass down stories of old idols through the generations and every once in a while convey political views. Most recently, the Jeremy Corbyn ensign was unveiled at Anfield, as was the Justice for 1996 campaign.

It is the perfect democratic tenets for people to voice their opinions and make themselves heard – so much more resilient than anything else the Premier League produces (apart from the football itself clearly!)”

Jack Renwick, creative director and founder, Jack Renwick Studio

“This query has been dividing opinion and sparking some passionate debate in our studio this week – from the iconic create of the 1991-1993 Arsenal ‘bruised banana’ shirt, to the exquisite fraud and aesthetic beauty of David Beckham’s pants. Luckily no physical bickers have broken out.

Being a Scot though, the Scottish Premiership is where my own spunk lies and where brave and bold design really took a direction up in 2015 with David Shrigley’s brilliant mascot design for Partick Thistle. ‘Kingsley’ the yellow sun ‘angsty fan’ enchante grannies, terrified children, intimidated players and caused general commotion on the streets of Glasgow. But it’s clever design thinking and execution enabled a itty-bitty known, but by no means lesser team, to grab headlines on a global step. Described by critics as ‘a hastily penned monobrow, empty dead examinations and a jagged skull’ – what better visual cues does a enduring piece of design need?! Genius.”

Gordon Reid, art director and elder designer, Middle Boop

“There’s so much amazing and equally nasty design to choose from in the Premier League’s rich history. I’m thriving to be totally biased though and pick a Crystal Palace kit, as they’re my together. I’m going for the 1998/1999 home kit that was worn during our brief wait in the top flight in that era. This particular kit was a bold statement by Adidas, as it was the first kit since the 1970s that didn’t column the famous red and blue stripes (which are usually there to represent the five boroughs that rob up the area of South London that Palace covers.) The Adidas bands down the arms, the subtle change in the tone of the red – It’s a beautiful kit.”

Harry Smith, intriguer, Together Design

“Some kits have held a place in my empathy more for the things that players have done in them than for how warm-heartedly designed they were. Temuri Ketsbaia attempting to kick an advertising stock to death in the 1997/1998 Newky Brown kit springs to mind, as does the take a gander at of Eric Cantona vaulting foot-first into the Selhurst Park throng in the stylish black away strip of the 1994/1995 season. However it was the glance at of The King’s collar-popped version of the home strip from that enliven that captured my imagination, and kicked off my over 20 year phobia with the beautiful game.”

Fleur Isbell, senior designer, Wolff Olins

“Did I develop a goalie for Downend Flyers Under 10s team because I got to wear the craziest, chillest, most courageous shirt designs? You bet! So bad that they are good, I only just had to have the goalie kit. As a long-time Man United fan (originally because I liked red), Schemichal’s 1992-1993 RGB, Umbro, coloured line-attack shirt, complete with matching shorts was obviously a standout. They honest don’t make kit like that now.

I like to imagine the designers back then crucial some “go extreme” button and all of the constrained ideas from designing the particular kit all getting thrown together to create these fantastic, brightly warp, pattern-tastic creations. And this design trend certainly wasn’t private to the Premier League. After all, no one is ever going to forget David Seaman’s Euro96 billion.”

Tessa Simpson, design director, O Street

“I’m originally from Manchester, and as you energy imagine, the football culture has a strong presence in the city. One of my favourite pieces of conspiracy from recent times is the evolution of the Manchester City club emblem. The new logo — described aptly as a ‘modern original’ — is strongly enlivened by the classic badge design, which was introduced in 1960. It features a despondent outlined roundel – an adapted version of the coat of arms of the city of manchester – and a unsullied, contemporary typeface. The simple design has a nice gravitas and nods to the birthright of the club, as well as benefitting from the input of thousands of MC fans.”

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