This is the start of a new and hopefully big project which plans to cover the NRL in a far more detailed aspect than I’ve done previously. Here, I’m covering the basics of the NRL branding that will relate to the work I do further down the track.
A few guidelines that I’ve set myself are below:
- Keep the current 16 teams where they are – I’ll be distancing myself from the arguments of which Sydney team relocates where and focusing on their current identity instead.
- Rationalise team names, namely their locations (along the lines of the recent Bulldogs rebranding).
- Introducing a number of theoretical expansion teams, including some defunct clubs, in rational places (so no Gold Coast Chargers). Not all of these teams would make the final cut obviously.
- Give each team a unique identity, while recognising their histories. Avoid having teams look too similar.
- Update team logos where necessary.
- Represent both sides of joint venture clubs in design.
- Reduce clutter – Tasteful designs with simple elements – the NRL has some of the worst sports uniforms anywhere in the world, sad considering how good footy jumpers looked 20 years ago.
- A primary, secondary (contrasting with the primary) and one throwback jersey per year. Uniforms to be kept for a minimum of two years, although longer is encouraged.
- Throwbacks can only be worn a maximum of twice per year. NO MADE UP RETRO JERSEYS, old logos used where possible.
- Maximum of one primary alt and one secondary alt uniform by having alternate shorts and/or socks.
- No “gimmick” jerseys, including Indigenous round, Women in League round or for any other commercial/chartity/awareness reason.
- A single apparel manufacturer (my fictional one) with a moderate range of cuts and collars for the sake of simplicity (not realistic).
- Player name on back of jersey, a money spinner for merchandising which would work well with fans. A leaguewide number and letter font for the back of jerseys.
- The NRL logo to appear on the right chest, the primary team logo on the left chest, an optional secondary logo below the collar on the back of the jersey. The NRL logo to appear on the left leg and the primary (or secondary in the case of representative teams) team logo on the right leg
- ONE sponsor per team, I don’t see how plastering logos all over a jersey gives brand recognition.
- One sponsor on the front of the jersey and one on the back, manufacturers logos bottom right hand side of the jersey (fitting around the design), on the back of the shorts and on the back of the socks.
- NO sponsors on representative uniforms
- One naming rights sponsor to appear on the playing field but not the uniforms. I.e. no “Telstra Premiership” bastardised NRL logo.
- A special NRL logo to be used for the following dedicated rounds/series
- 1 heritage round per season
- 1 charity round per season (charity is league-wide and changes on a yearly basis)
- Every NRL finals series match
Some of these ideas might seem harsh, like no indigenous or women in league round, but the idea is to strengthen the brand of the game and not to dilute it. A lot of these ideas come from the NFL, European soccer and even the AFL, all of which have a stronger and more unified identity than rugby league. I’ll add more to this list as I think of more stuff.