Stuart Watson knows a thing or two about sporting rebrands for the 21st Century, although perhaps few have carried the weight of expectation as his most recent project.
Watson and his creative team at design agency Nomad are the people who brought the new Wigan Warriors badge, unveiled on Sunday evening, to life with the radical design a huge departure from the traditional crest.
Gone is the adapted version of the town coat of arms which has adorned Wigan’s cherry and white shirts in various guises down the years, and in has come a simplified circular design in the club’s two primary colours featuring a warrior for the first time.
Wigan look to future with new badge
The old crest, which Watson has a picture of hanging on his living room wall, will be repurposed for heritage ranges and the man behind the new logo is in no doubt the Warriors are leading the way with their bold new look for the digital age.
“I’ve been to games, I’ve seen guys who’ve got [the traditional badge] tattooed on them and I can only imagine what they’d do to me in a dark alley,” Watson told Sky Sports. “I’d say to them I understand, but we’re not killing the other thing.
“On the contrary, we’re making it more precious and what we’re trying to do is help you face change head on and take leads – and what a great way for your club to lead the entire league. I guarantee everyone will follow, so to be the leader of the pack is so much better than a follower.
“The reason for such radical change is we’re dealing with a different world. We’re dealing with digital, social media, broadcast, mobile phones and really small real estate having to cut through.
You’ve got to leave your ego at the door and it’s not about creating an awarding-winning piece of work or doing something wacky, you feel the pressure to get this right.
“We knew it had to be simple and had to work across those things. Everyone kind of brought into the idea the warrior is in our DNA, particularly the Brigante warriors, and then it was a journey of iteration and consultation to get to this.”
Watson has been involved with the recent rebrands of organisations such as the Premier League and Super League, although the difference this time around was that it was changing something which meant so much to supporters.
A panel of Wigan fans across a huge range of ages, including the club historian, were consulted during this process though, with all understanding the need for a badge which works well across different formats like social media, mobile phone screens and television broadcasts.
The inclusion of the iron age Brigante warrior with ‘WW’ initials in the beard, the club colours, the year of foundation and the ‘Ancient and Loyal’ motto has, Watson feels, given Wigan something which is much more their own as well and he was pleased the supporters could play a part.
“We feel the burden of responsibility on this and we simply wouldn’t do it if the club weren’t willing to do the right process,” Watson said.
“Fan engagement is everything and being given permission to do this by the fans, and by a really broad range of ages from 20 to 70 and everyone understanding the benefit of this.
“You’ve got to leave your ego at the door and it’s not about creating an awarding-winning piece of work or doing something wacky, you feel the pressure to get this right.
“How I’m convinced we got it right is, we went back to the name, we went back to Wigan, we found this warrior and we built him up, and he’s built full of authenticity. That’s not to say people aren’t going to hate it, but all of that is uncontrollable.”
This is a wonderful sport which is in a bubble and we need to burst that bubble to make this the super sport it can be – and this is part of that journey.
Having been responsible for Super League’s vibrant new look which came in ahead of the 2020 season and now helped Wigan with their badge redesign, Watson has ideas for the rest of the competition’s clubs.
As a rugby league fan who grew up in Bolton and studied at art college in Wigan, now living in London, Watson is keen to help the sport spread beyond its traditional heartlands and is in no doubt this is a small step towards doing that.
“This is a wonderful sport which is in a bubble and we need to burst that bubble to make this the super sport it can be – and this is part of that journey,” Watson said.
“It’s not the answer, it’s not the solution, but it’s part of the journey that everyone is committed to going on, fans included.
“Everyone has got their warrior, right? There is a dragon, there is a rhino, so we could really go to town on creating a bunch of fantastic club brands and really elevate the clubs to the next level.”
Source: Read Full Article