TEAM BRAND IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT
“ There was a hunger for soccer.”
That is what Peter Freund came to realize about Memphis, Tennessee, where he was the principal owner of the city’s Minor League Baseball team, the Memphis Redbirds. “There was a massive underground soccer community that was thriving from youth fields to local pubs,” Freund observed, but the city had been without professional soccer since their North American Soccer League team folded decades earlier, back in 1980.
That void was filled when the United Soccer League granted an expansion franchise to Freund’s ownership group, which immediately reached out to fans for input regarding what they wanted for the team. “The key was that it had to be organic, driven by our supporters, and it had to be a Memphis identity, not a brand,” said Freund. “We just listened.”
Studio Simon was then brought on to take these various thoughts, ideas and suggestions—pieces of a puzzle that included things like the city’s area code, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis royalty and traditional soccer crests—and get them to seamlessly fit together, as though they were intended to work in concert all along.
Another consideration was that the soccer club’s matches would be played at AutoZone Park, the same downtown stadium that is home to the baseball team. “So the identity would need to coexist with the Redbirds branding, yet still be distinct and able to stand on its own,” Freund explained.
As such, the Memphis 901 FC primary mark, like the one previously created by Studio Simon for the Redbirds, would be styled after the neon signs that light up nearby Beale Street, the world-famous epicenter of Memphis nightlife.
Unveiled at 9:01 AM on 901 Day—the city’s celebration, on September 1st (9/01), of all things Memphis—the logo revolves around the grooves of an LP record and is topped off by a crown that pays homage to music legends B.B. King and “The King,” Elvis Presley.
Studio Simon achieved and exceeded our goal of taking what we heard from our future supporters and translated it into an identity that is now celebrated by our ever-growing fan base.
– Peter Freund, Principal Owner, Memphis 901 FC