The original intent of my thesis was to create a professional-level team identity that a community can embrace and emotionally bond with by utilizing contemporary design trends. As I researched the visual aspects of the brand strategy, it became apparent that current trends toward multiplicity of uniform designs could become a threat to an organization’s brand equity.
A corporate identity is the strategically engineered “personality” of an organization created to facilitate business objectives. How that identity is perceived and accepted supports relationship building between an organization and its audience or customers. Brand equity is developed through ease of recognition and repeatedly consistent visual presentation.
Sports branding is unique because it connects with its fanbase (customers) on a deeply emotional level by representing a community and its values, using its design as the primary vehicle to embody and communicate specific traits.
To its fans, a team identity is an emotional and personal representation of themselves, and van Schaik argues games are shared community experiences. Given that, tradition is vitally important to a team’s longtime fans. Among hard-core devotees, there is a tendency to dislike logo and uniform changes, far preferring history and folklore over transformation and upheaval.
However, over the last decade or so, sports organizations have turned to wearing a large variety of uniform designs as one aspect of strategic marketing and a means to create excitement, garner attention, and separate themselves from others in the crowded sports entertainment arena.
But with these innovative approaches to branding, identity brand equity may erode for organizations who employ this tactic. That current trend towards multiplicity may become a threat to a team’s brand equity by becoming more focused on variety and fashion, instead of consistent brand presentation and recognition. Constantly changing the “packaging” of a team identity in the form of on-field uniforms can potentially result in brand dilution, weakening of its brand though overuse, ultimately resulting in the brand losing its prestige and credibility.
As a result, the goal of my thesis has shifted to developing a professional football team identity by embracing innovative, contemporary design trends, but in a way that creates or respects a team’s (or league’s) existing traditions and folklore.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Football teams--United States--Marketing; Branding (Marketing)
Visual Communication Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Ragone, John J. Jr., "Branding a Professional American Football Franchise" (2015). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus