In the modern era clubs logos have grown in importance. Whilst club crests traditionally were just used to display a team's name, colors, and occasionally their motto, mascot and/or a local landmark, more recently, an effective logo can be crucial for brand recognition and growth. We see many clubs redesigning their logos in light of the global business that the Premier League has become.
Although a distinctive and effective logo can be important, it is a worry that some clubs are so willing to sacrifice history, heritage and tradition. After all, it is those things which make the Premier League and English football so great. Obviously, there is a great deal of subjectivity with regards to which club's have the best and worst logos, although some are rather more unanimous.
While several clubs in the Premier League have been around a long time, the league as we now know it has only been around for under 25 years. Some logos have more history than others, so the history behind them was taken into consideration. Some of the newer teams though have in fact produced some beauties.
Each logo is ranked largely upon its aesthetic merits, with aspects such as historical relevance also being accounted for. As well as ranking all 20 of the Premier League badges, there is also some information on each club's crest history, and how their current incarnation came into being. Here is the ranking of all 20 Premier League logos. Please share your thoughts on what you think the best logo is and maybe give it your own ranking if you're up for it.
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Premier League new-boys Watford will be hoping that their first season in the top flight for nine years will be a positive one, but they certainly finish last in the list of Premier League logos. Watford are a club with an intriguing history of identities, having changed colors, nicknames and logos more than most British clubs. They have played in blue, white, red, gold and today, yellow, their nicknames have ranged from the Brewers, the Hornets and the Yellow Army and their logo has been equally adaptable. The current incarnation is an unusual hart (a male red deer) - which is often confused for a moose or deer - on a black and yellow background.
Another promoted team, Bournemouth are genuine Premier League minnows. This season is Bournemouth's first ever campaign in the Premier League, having spent the vast majority of their existence in the third and fourth tier of the English football league. Much of Bournemouth's current identity began in 1972, when the club became AFC Bournemouth, changing their kit and logo.
Bournemouth changed their kit to red and black stripes, based on A.C. Milan, and those colors can be seen in the background of their logo, as well as a footballer, who is supposed to represent former player Dickie Dowsett, heading the ball. It's a quirky design but they haven't quite pulled it off.
18 Stoke City
Now Premier League stalwarts, during their time in the Premier League, Stoke have been criticized for their lack of invention and creativity at times, and that could certainly apply to the club's logo. The current logo which has been in use since 2001 is painfully unimaginative, with just three red stripes on a white background, with the clubs name 'Stoke City' at the top, and their nickname 'The Potters' at the bottom.
Perhaps with the arrival of Mark Hughes and a different style of play it is time for revolution off the pitch too, and a new logo, especially since Stoke had some far more interesting designs prior to their 2001 incarnation.
17 Newcastle United
There's a lot on the Newcastle United badge, so let's have a quick run through. Modeled on the city's coat of arms, the two sea-horses on either side representing Newcastle's strong connection with the sea, while the castle on the top is a throwback to Newcastle's Norman keep. In the center, the black and white stripes are in reference to the club's famous striped shirt of the same colors. While that may all make sense... a sea-horse, really? A lion, a tiger, a dragon, we all know why these make for good mascots, but a sea-horse? It is this irregularity which detracts from the overall design of the Newcastle crest.
16 Leicester City
Leicester City orchestrated a famous great escape at the end of last season, and have made a flying start to their second season back in the Premier League, but the Foxes form is certainly better than their logo. The center of the club's crest is a cinquefoil, which was the coat of arms for the Earl of Leicester, hence its link to the city. In the middle of that lies the face of a fox, which has been in the clubs crest since 1948. Surrounding that circle the words 'Leicester City Football Club'.
15 West Brom
Despite gaining a reputation as a so-called 'yo-yo' club in recent years, this is now West Brom's sixth consecutive season in the Premier League, after Tony Pulis steered them to safety last season. The Baggies badge can be dated back further than most, with the basic design dating back to the late 1880s, with the team's logo featuring a throstle ever since. The current incarnation is not their best attempt though, with a rather cartoonish looking throstle and hawthorn, with the club's name above it.
Much like their North East rivals Newcastle, there is a lot to look at it Sunderland's crest, and like their North East rivals, we're not huge fans. The Sunderland logo features a prominent central shield which is divided into four quarters. The bottom right quarter displays the Wearmouth Bridge which links the north and south of the city, while the top left quarter is intended to resemble the Penshaw Monument, a famous landmark. The other two quarters are made up of the club's red and white stripes, with lions standing tall at either side of the shield and the club's name and motto above and below.
13 Norwich City
Norwich City, like a number of other Premier League sides, have a bird as their mascot and as a prominent feature of their crest. In Norwich's case, it is a canary. The club have been known as the Canaries for over a century, owing to the city's long-standing connection with the bird, which began in the 15th century when Flemish weavers would import canaries via the Dutch colonies in the Caribbean.
Norwich's logo then is largely made up of a canary on a green background, a reflection of the club's colors, as well as featuring a lion and a castle in the top left corner, owing to Norwich's city coat of arms. Norwich are the only Premier League club with two animals in their logo.
12 Crystal Palace
Another crest of the bird variety, Crystal Palace are commonly referred to as the 'Eagles', so it won't surprise you to find out that it is an eagle which takes pride of place in Palace's badge. Inspired by Portuguese club Benfica, Palace first incorporated the eagle in the 1970s. Palace twinned their former badge displaying the famous Crystal Palace with the Eagle design in 1987, and whilst it has twice been redesigned, most recently in 2013. It remains largely the same, with an eagle resting on a football on top of the Crystal Palace, with the club's name below.
Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea have endured a miserable start to the 2015-16 Premier League season, which seemed unthinkable after they cruised to the title with ease last season. Chelsea have had four logos throughout their history, with all since 1953 featuring a lion, and their current design having been drawn up in 2005. Chelsea's crest feature a rampant blue lion, looking backwards and holding a staff on a white background, in a circular emblem with the clubs name surrounding it. This is very similar to the 1953 design which the club intended to return to for their 100 year anniversary in 2005.
One of seven top flight clubs in England to have never been relegated during the Premier League era, Everton have tended to be a fairly consistent outfit, certainly in their years under the stewardship of David Moyes. The main feature of Everton's crest is Prince Rupert's Tower, which is located in the heart of Everton, and has done since 1787, with two laurel wreaths to either side of it. Since the late 1930s it has been a major feature of the club's badge. Everton changed their badge in 2013, but the new design lasted only a single season after a 91% fan disapproval rating and 22,000 petitions against the re-design, they have since reverted to their more traditional design.
9 Manchester United
The most successful team in Premier League history and widely regarded as the biggest club in English football, Manchester United are looking to become of the world's great teams once more, after a number of difficult seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure. The Red Devils, as they are known, derived much of their logo from the city's coat of arms, although all that remains of it today is the ship. The Red Devil was introduced in 1970, after Sir Matt Busby popularized the nickname in the 1960s. Perhaps the most recognizable badge in world football, it is certainly a marketable logo but far from the most interesting of designs.
8 Swansea City
Another badge and another bird. Swansea City are one of the best run clubs in the Premier League and through smart appointments and smart signings they have quickly become a very respectable Premier League outfit. The Swans logo is simple, yet elegant and distinctive. The Swans also had a redesigned crest to celebrate their 100 year anniversary in 2012, which was an equally good design, lavished with gold.
7 Aston Villa
One could quite easily level the criticism that Aston Villa's badge is a little basic and rather lacking in features, yet where others have failed, Villa have succeeded in creating a distinctive and attractive logo despite the plainness. The Rampant Lion of Scotland which takes pride of place upon the Birmingham club's logo has stayed true but other features have changed over the years. Villa only recently switched from a striped claret and blue background to a plain blue one, and added a star which can be found to the left of the lion at the same time, signifying the club's 1982 European Cup win.
6 Tottenham Hotspur
The Tottenham badge may have been the butt of a few jokes over the years, but the truth is, it is actually a very aesthetically pleasing crest. It is certainly the pick of Tottenham's logos over the years. Spurs have featured a cockerel on their crest since the 1921 FA Cup final, and it has been the main feature of the crest, apart from the years 1956-1983, when the club had a much heavier badge featuring a number of landmarks. The current incarnation came into being in 2006.
5 Manchester City
The Manchester City badge has changed a great deal over the years, although like their cross-city rivals, it has always featured a ship, in homage to the Manchester Ship Canal. The current badge which was first introduced in 1997, has a golden eagle surrounding the shield, which was originally based on the arms of the city of Manchester. The three diagonal striped found below the ship are intended to represent the city's three rivers. The final feature of City's badge is three stars at the top. What could this symbolize you may wonder, league wins, cup wins, European successes? No to all, they are purely decorative.
Perhaps the most historic badge in all of the Premier League, Arsenal first featured a cannon on their logo since the team was known as Royal Arsenal, when their first ever crest in 1888 featured three cannons. This was changed to just one cannon in 1922, and while there have been many variations since then, the cannon remains. The current crest, introduced in 2001, was like a breath of fresh air after the Gunners finally stripped back what had become a rather untidy logo to create the wonderfully simplistic and recognizable design which we see today.
Through their exceptional academy, Southampton have gone from a third division side to a Premier League club fighting for European football in only a few years. You may not realize it at first, but there are a real myriad of design features that make up the Southampton logo. Firstly, we have the halo, located above a football, which is a reference to the club being known as the 'Saints'. The scarf shows the clubs colors of red and white, supposedly a reference to the team's support.
In the top half of the shield there is a tree, a symbol of the local New Forest, with the water below that a reference to the coastal city's connection to its rivers and the sea. Further down still, there is a white rose, which is taken from the city's coat of arms, and finally the club's name underneath it all. While the Saints badge may be laden with features, it manages to remain easy on the eye, without looking overly cluttered or hectic.
Despite still having never won a title during the Premier League era, Liverpool remain England's most successful club, although they have fallen behind Manchester United in terms of domestic titles. Liverpool's badge is undoubtedly one of the best in the league. A clever design with a number of powerful references, the eternal flames on either side are in memory of those who died in the Hillsborough disaster, while the head of the badge is in reference to the Shankly Gate.
Shankly himself had a profound effect upon the clubs kit and badge, which were both predominantly white when he arrived, but became largely red after he left in an attempt to make the club look more menacing. In the center of the crest, inside the shield, you will find a liver bird, synonymous with the city of Liverpool and the longest standing feature of the club's logo.
1 West Ham
It is a real shame that West Ham have already decided to change their logo for the 2016-17 season ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium. The new badge is a shadow of the current design, with the club adding the word 'London' in an attempt to capitalize on their stadium move. At the heart of the current design is Green Street House, also known as Boleyn Castle, which has featured in the club's badge for more than 100 years and will be removed for the first time next season.
It's a great looking monument for a crest, and twinned with the two hammers found on both the current and next badge, it makes for a fantastic logo. The hammers, which are also West Ham's nickname, come as a result of the local areas close ties with ironworks, with the club previously being known as Thames Ironworks FC, the hammers have also been a regular fixture on the clubs logo for the last century.
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