A gold “A” on top of red and black stripes, with two gold circles on the borders are part of the new logo for Atlanta United FC. The logo was unveiled Tuesday to a raucous crowd eager for yet another piece in the identity for the expansion MLS club.
“It’s a strong logo,” owner Arthur Blank said. “It represents Atlanta, which is what we wanted to pitch. It’s very compatible with other logos you might see in soccer, nationally and internationally.”
The night was supposed to be the debut of both the team’s name and its logo. The name, Atlanta United FC, was reported two weeks ago, prematurely allowing the franchise to shed the MLS Atlanta identity it had used in emails and on Twitter (@ATLUTD is the new handle) since its introduction in April 2014.
So, Tuesday was being spun as a celebration of the team and soccer in Atlanta, complete with a viewing party for the U.S. game against Honduras in the opening night of the Gold Cup. More than 4,000 members of the almost 7,500 members of Founder’s Club, a group that has pledged to purchase more than 21,000 season tickets, and a few celebrities (Ludacris) were in attendance.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber was amazed when he heard the number of club members who attended the unveiling.
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“That’s a record,” he said.
They were there mostly to see the logo. It was designed by Adidas, took three months to complete and was finished recently. Blank and Atlanta United FC President Darren Eales said they reviewed thousands of designs, and the final product was a natural progression of taking some elements from some and others from others.
Blank knew what the colors would be because they are similar, but not exact, to what the Falcons use. Blank also owns the Falcons. While Blank and Eales knew what colors they wanted — those colors also were used when the franchise was awarded — they also knew what the didn’t want included: a mascot or symbol. They said they want the fans to take ownership of those aspects of the club.
The final logo features colors and a design unique compared with other teams in MLS.
Breaking down some of the pieces of the logo, with what they represent provided by the team:
The gold circle: Inspired by the city’s seal and its history of hosting the 1996 Summer Olympics. It is a symbol of unity and globalization. It represents the never-ending passion for this city and the club.
The golden A: The bold A puts the focus on the enduring strength of Atlanta. The A is anchored to the circle, symbolizing its connection to the community.
Stripes: The five stripes represent what the franchise considers the pillars of the city’s character: Unity, Determination, Community, Excellence and Innovation. The black stripes are a nod to the city’s history as a railroad town.
Black: A symbol of strength and power.
Red: “Victory red” represents pride and passion.
Gold: Symbolizes a commitment to excellence.
The logo will appear on the team’s jerseys, the design of which can’t be unveiled until next year, but will look similar to A.C. Milan’s. The logo also will appear on other merchandise which are now for sale on www.mlssoccer.com and on the team’s website, www.atlutd.com.
“It’s an outstanding addition and represents the stage of life that the league is in,” MLS Chief Marketing Officer Howard Handler said. “It reflects a confidence and a great initial connection with a fan base that’s excited to have a new club in town.”
Like the name, the logo drew mixed reactions Tuesday. One person on Twitter said it reminded him of a sewer plate. Another said it looked classy.
Blank said he wasn’t disappointed that some people didn’t like the name and said there will be some people who won’t like the logo.
Blank pointed to the research and surveys done as evidence that they tried to pick a name and logo that reflected what the supporters said they wanted, as well as the values he believes in and wants the franchise to embody. As Eales did when the name was reported, Blank said the team’s brand will be more than the name and the logo. It will be what the team’s supporters make it.
“Fans are going to represent this in their own way with nicknames and mascots,” Blank said. “Everything we do will reflect what the fans want.”
Garber used MLS history, littered with names that included the Wizards and Fusion, to both support those who don’t like the name, and Blank and the franchise.
“If Arthur had come into the league in 1996, we would have come up with one of the whimsical names that were part of the sports’ branding,” Garber said. “Sports has a come long way, soccer has come a long way in Atlanta. There are authentic soccer supporters that are connected to the sport. They want it to represent what the sport is about.
“That’s what new brand will do.”