Seattle Sounders FC today unveiled its official brand evolution, revealing a striking new crest and associated marks alongside a refreshed color palette ahead of the club’s 50th anniversary in 2024. The new visual identity comes following dedicated development and comprehensive engagement with fans, supporters, community members and other club stakeholders and is designed to truly embrace the rich history and heritage of the Sounders name, more fully encompassing and celebrating every era of the club while positioning it to move boldly into the future.
“Today marks the culmination of much careful, contemplative and thorough work, and it is incredibly rewarding to now introduce Sounders FC’s brand evolution,” said Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer. “It was a dream achieved to bring the Sounders to Major League Soccer in 2009, but, like many of our fans, my love for the club started long before its MLS era. As Sounders, our past runs deep and proud, and that’s why we’re especially pleased to introduce this new visual identity, which isn’t so much a change as it is an evolution that more faithfully encompasses the entirety of the club. Every element in the brand now connects directly to our history. We are thrilled to continue building the Sounders legacy under our new crest as we celebrate our 50th anniversary and look ahead to the next 50 and beyond.”
The new crest takes an elegant but classic approach, embracing a more robust – but still one-of-a-kind – badge shape and modernized Space Needle image, while adding “1974” as an explicit call to the Sounders’ founding year. Along with the crest come new wordmarks and secondary marks, incorporating an entirely unique font custom-built for Sounders FC. New tertiary marks include a playful, resilient orca, a carnation rooted in history, bold 74, along with an abbreviated SFC monogram. Each tertiary mark has significance to the club’s past, with the ability to be utilized in a wide variety of applications, from club moments and campaigns to apparel and special designs. Sounders FC’s color scheme remains “Eternal Blue, Forever Green,” while slightly adapting the tones of Rave Green and Pacific Blue to be more wearable and adding a new shade of blue called Heritage Aqua, which outlines the crest and hearkens to the original Seattle Sounders color palette.
“I believe the work we’ve unveiled today is good, but, more importantly, it’s rooted in good work,” said Sounders FC Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer Taylor Graham. “Since Day One, the March to the 50th project has been driven by our community. The insights, strategy and design were all influenced by our fans, the Seattle community, our current and former players and more. Like many fans, my path to the Sounders started prior to 2009. As we approach our 50th anniversary, it’s fitting that our visual identity evolves to become as rich and expansive as our history and representative of all eras of the club – not just MLS. Today we take a critical step forward in defining the next 50 years of Sounders FC.”
In developing the evolved identity, Sounders FC plugged into the club’s “Democracy in Sports” ethos. Championed by Drew Carey as a condition to joining the newly minted Sounders FC ownership group in 2008, Democracy in Sports is a pillar of the franchise and ensures that fans of the team are empowered to have a real, tangible say in the organization with the right to determine the overall course of the club. This meaningful piece of Sounders FC’s culture is showcased in a variety of ways, and played a critical role in the club’s March to the 50th project, which engaged fans to explore the club’s brand identity ahead of the organization’s 50th anniversary in 2024.
Throughout these comprehensive discussions about the future of Sounders FC, the club engaged via public surveys, one-on-one conversations, digital focus groups and in-person roundtables, working with intention to provide opportunity for members of the Sounders community to add their voices to the project. Groups that took part include but are not limited to Season Ticket Members; Alliance Council members; supporters; Sounders FC fans and general Seattle sports fans; team members, including coaches, players and alumni; current and former club staff; community stakeholders; and Seattle tastemakers, including members of the creative, fashion and music scenes in the Emerald City.
“From the beginning, the club has been open and honest,” said Alliance Council President Cameron Collins. “Alliance Council, which represents all Sounders Season Ticket Members, has participated in this project every step of the way, including seeing designs and providing feedback – most notably as part of a full experiential workshop prior to the team’s Concacaf Champions League victory in May 2022. This is a brand evolution, not a revolution; we’re not a club that needs reinvention. While it is a change, this new system is familiar and rooted in our history. We are proud to have our fingerprints on this final product.”
With more than 10,000 surveys completed and hundreds of hours of conversations conducted, Sounders FC worked with brand and creative studios Athletics, Column, DNA and Name & Number to review and develop a more explicit understanding of brand identity, including how the club is viewed by its fans and the community at large and what makes a Sounder. With club values and certain imperatives in mind, the visual elements revealed today were developed.
Further information detailing the design process and elements comprising Sounders FC’s new visual identity can be found below.
Sounders FC’s evolved primary crest retains the core elements from its MLS-era mark, but it also answers the call from the club’s fans and supporters to embrace the entire history of the club. The crest’s shape remains unique across MLS, adopting a more robust form while maintaining a style inspired by the MLS-era badge’s distinctive outline. At the heart of the crest sits a modernized Space Needle design – consistently identified in Sounders FC’s fan engagement process as the singular icon that should be incorporated into the club’s visual identity as best representing Seattle both within the region and to the world.
1974 flanks the Space Needle within the new crest, an unceasing reminder of the club’s birth and place in America’s soccer history. Beyond simply denoting the beginning of the franchise, 1974 has a deep connection with the fan base – referenced in supporter songs and chants – and symbolizes the rich history that set the foundation for all future success and growth of the club.
In freshly adjusted shades of Rave Green and Pacific Blue, the crest also incorporates Heritage Aqua, a new team color directly inspired by the color palette in the original North American Soccer League Sounders badge. This aqua shade outlines the new crest, representing the constant presence of the team’s history.
WORDMARK & SECONDARY MARKS
Across all fan inputs, fans were nearly unanimous in the belief that water, waves and orca whales are strong representations of the club’s visual brand; in fact, all prior Sounders marks – in NASL, USL, APSL, and A-League play – all incorporated a wave element. Sounders FC’s new wordmark reintroduces a wave element as a key component of the new identity.
Inspired by the inaugural NASL logo from 1974, a modernized Seattle Sounders wordmark takes its place in the system as a direct connection to the club’s home at water’s edge, representing the Puget Sound and its people.
The wordmark introduces the club’s new, custom-built typeface, SOUND, which is inspired by the original use of Futura Extra Bold in the original NASL logo and takes additional cues from the 1962 World’s Fair and maritime signage at the water’s edge of the Puget Sound. The expanded identity system also embraces various iterations of the club’s name, including custom marks for “Seattle Sounders FC,” “Seattle Sounders,” “Sounders” and “SFC.”
Four tertiary marks have been developed as part of the new visual identity, each aimed at providing Sounders fans and supporters a variety of ways to showcase their support. These marks include:
SFC Monogram – This mark provides an abbreviated naming option that incorporates the same wave motif found in the full wordmark.
Orca – Inspired by the club’s APSL and A-League-era logos, the orca makes a triumphant return as a new tertiary mark. This mark embodies Seattle’s connection to the water and the Puget Sound, while also leaning into the quirky, unconventional spirit of Seattle. Importantly, the Orca mark also serves as a reminder of the club’s commitment to sustainability, conservation and the environment.
Carnation – Symbolizing the relationship between players and fans, the addition of the Carnation into the club’s identity system embraces and formalizes a Sounders tradition dating back to 1974 when players first handed out flowers to fans as a recognition for the fans’ support. That ceremony continues to today as players distribute carnations to fans after the final regular-season home match of every campaign.
74 – 1974 is the club’s birth year, and the Emerald City’s decades-long history of supporting the Sounders is embodied in this simple, bold mark, which serves as a constant reminder of Seattle’s place in American soccer history.
Throughout the extensive research gathering process, fans made it clear that the club’s core colors were an element not up for debate. The theme of “Eternal Blue, Forever Green” is intimately tied to Sounders FC, from the songs of the club’s supporters to the team’s Rave Green moniker.
However, recurring sentiment from fans centered around the official pantone of these colors, with many noting its lack of accessibility and wearability on a day-to-day basis outside of matchday at the stadium. With this in mind, the energy of the club’s official colors remain Rave Green and Pacific Blue, though the final tones have evolved – still uniquely Sounders, but with shades more adapted for all fans to wear proudly.
In addition to evolving Rave Green and Pacific Blue, Sounders FC has also introduced Heritage Aqua as a new official team color. Paying homage to the original color palette of the club in 1974, Heritage Aqua outlines the new crest and can also be found in tertiary marks.
Fans in Seattle will notice Sounders FC’s new crest and marks showing up throughout the city in a wide variety of ways this week, as the club celebrates its ambitious future. While the club is excited to introduce its new visual identity to the public today, it is important to note that Sounders FC is finishing its 2023 season – including any postseason play – under its current crest and colors, with 2024 marking the full official transition to the evolved identity unveiled today.
A celebratory collection of limited quantity retail items featuring the new crest and associated marks is currently available at The Pro Shop at Lumen Field. The collection includes tees, sweatshirts, headwear, scarves and more, inclusive of men’s, women’s, unisex and youth.
Excitement for Sounders FC’s 50th anniversary season has brought more season ticket deposits than ever before in club history. For those interested in joining the club, please visit SoundersFC.com/Tickets/Membership.