|The beloved, one-of-a-kind crest of the Columbus Crew. I'm wearing this one right now!|
Here we go.
Sometime in mid-September of last year I started thinking about doing a project that would be a little bit daunting, but a whole lot of fun: Massive City Football Fanatic Corps would try to produce a new, redesigned crest for the Columbus Crew every day for a month. The result would be thirty designs in thirty days.
I thought it sounded fun, but it also sounded like a whole lot of work. It's not easy to do something creative and productive every day for 30 straight days and have a finished work at the end of each one of those days to show to people. People make attempts like this all of the time and come up short because it's always tougher than it sounds, and often the results are . . . meh. It's especially not easy to do when so many people have so much passion and interest in the subject matter, as is definitely the case when it comes to soccer supporters and their team's crest, and the fans of the Columbus Crew are a breed apart in this regard.
For months I considered and then reconsidered the project. I told a few people in passing what I was thinking and every single one of them said something like "Yes, you must do this." So many other people have asked me in recent months if I had thought about coming up with one or two ideas for a redesigned crest. Usually, I'd hint at some idea I'd been kicking around, but never anything specific. All the while I've been taking notes and compiling ideas, doing sketches on scraps of paper and bookmarking websites, with this crazy, probably impossible project in mind.
Then, in early January, Justin McIntosh from the Columbus Alive sent me a message and said he had an idea and we should meet up. We did on a Monday night at Hendoc's in Old North, and while sitting at the bar he told me his idea for the paper. Basically, he asked would I be interested in doing a few designs for a potentially new Crew crest to help get a community-wide conversation started on the pages of the Alive as part of their preview of the new 2014 Crew season. I looked at him and said something like "Well, this is a cool coincidence…" and told him about my idea. We pretty much decided then and there that this was going to happen.
We'd do it in February since the new Crew season starts in March. Instead of 30 designs in 30 days, I'd cut myself a break and do 28 in 28—phew!—one a day, every day for the month. Every day I'd post a new design on this here little blog, and then every week the Alive would compile them and post them on their website. We'd use these designs as a conversation starter—a way for Columbus to get involved in the topic of the potential modest rebranding that is rumored for 2015, and to get excited for the new 2014 season that's coming up so fast. We'd ask for the vast numbers of creative people in and around Columbus to submit their own designs should they be interested, and we'd compile those designs and post them, too.
And, an important part of this was recruiting those creative people who submit their ideas (and anyone else who is interested, too) to join us in our #TIFOSWEAT group that's taking what we accomplished in 2013 for the United States vs. Mexico match and making it a lasting, sustainable effort to produce more and better tifo and art for Columbus soccer.
One thing you may be asking, if you're unfamiliar, is why is this a thing in the first place? Well, almost from the first moment that Anthony Precourt and PSV took control of the Columbus Crew, the expectation has been that the familiar crest of the team was on its way out. Some welcome the promise of change, some dread it. Some, like me, while we love the only crest that our local team has ever had, have thought for a while that things could be better. And now is a great time.
Maybe that idea that "now" is indeed a great time is what this project is all about. There's value in paying homage to tradition and praising the people who worked and enjoyed a standard and a style that built the city, culture, and club that we enjoy. There's value in honoring those who produced the institutions and icons that are steady and familiar; but, at some point, those institutions need modernization. Sometimes, familiarity becomes stultifying, and, in order to live authentic lives of our own we have to be new and be creative. Reinvention isn't disrespectful to the old ways so long as you've learned from them. Refining isn't rejection of the past. It's not killing the visions and dreams of our pioneers. On the contrary, it's living the life they hoped we would have the vision, character, and capacity to define for ourselves. It's taking the baton from them and carrying it distances they knew only we could carry it to. Life contains history lessons, but life mustn't be just history. If we're constantly confining ourselves to familiar designs and standards, we forego the possibility of our own vision for the visions of those who came before us. Now is a great time, and we're the only people who can do great things during it. It's the Spirit of '96 in 2014.
Now that all of that high-minded viva la revolucion pep-talk stuff is out of the way, let's acknowledge that being new for the sake of being new isn't always the best way to approach something like this. Thoughtfulness is the best way to approach something like this. So, if you're interested in submitting your ideas and hard work, that's all that I ask: be thoughtful. Think about it. What interests you about the Columbus Crew? What do you want to say about it? How do you think the Columbus Crew represents our city? Or do you think that it should? The form of the crests we design can, literally, be anything, and exploring those innumerable possibilities will make this fun for all of us.
After you've thought about it, done the hard work, and are ready to share it with the rest of us, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know if you're okay with your work being published and if we can use your name.
And that's it. Here we go!