The Cityfication of New York City FC has recently hit its peak. New manager Jason Kreis headed to Manchester to work alongside the parent club. Right now, he finds himself with the team in Barcelona. It’s similar at a personnel level. Claudio Reyna, ex-Red Bull and City player, is the new DFO for the 20th franchise. The latest transfer rumors suggests Gareth Barry could be the first Manchester City player to make the move to New York.
In the city of New York itself, the club is striding for a different identity, one that represents their city. The biggest move, media wise, was by asking their new fan base to contribute their logos for the team. It’s all part of a larger scheme in which the club takes its baby steps with their new fan base. It’s not stated as such, it’s more understated, but it is certainly a savvy move.
The scheme is none more apparent than on the NYCFC.com website, the official site. Options on the website allow fans to learn about MLS, the club, and crucially their parent club. Now, the culmination of this work is a choice of two badges. Both have their roots in the city, as does local designer Rafael Esquer.
As portrayed on NYCFC.com, “The two badges feature the typeface Gotham, a wholly American font inspired by the City’s signage. Born out of an in-depth study of building lettering in New York City, the monogram reflects the rich graphic language that is so much a signature of the five boroughs. The colors navy blue, white and orange are drawn from the New York City flag.”
The first badge, described as the shield, is the conclusion of extensive research into various football club badges. Ironically, they chose none of them, and decided that the answer lay in New York: “This design features the historic shield of the official seal of New York City – a mark that signifies the pioneering spirit of the early settlers, which in the modern era, has fueled America’s undoubted move onto the world soccer stage.”
The second of the badges is of a circular design. NYCFC explained that it “is inspired by the old New York City Subway Token, created by the Transit Authority in 1953 and used for 50 years as the standard fare for a ride. The last version of the token had a cut out pentagon in the center representing the five boroughs, similar to what appears on either side of the monogram, to reinforce the Club’s connection to the entire city. The circle is also a symbol of unity, wholeness and infinity, and is often associated with potential and the number one.”
Both designs are the culmination of extensive work, and both are images steeped in history. With the fans ability to pick a rare one, it allows the club to grow its roots in the community. However, the better of the two badges is probably the circular; it has a more professional look to it, and more of a New York feel. The idea of the subway token is a quirky, but clever symbol, one that most New Yorkers will have seen and can recognize. The idea of representing five boroughs also links to the idea of appealing to the city of New York, an idea that has not only irritated and stoked a rivalry with the Red Bulls, but piqued the interest of the footballing world.
There’s a famous saying: “What’s in a name?” For New York City FC, now the question is: What’s in a badge? This question is another landmark on the path to the construction of the latest MLS franchise, and the latest New York team.