With the upcoming World Cup due to be held in Qatar at the tail-end of 2022, Mexico have looked to revitalise their logo just as they’re hoping that a successful campaign would revitalise football in the nation, who’ve not escaped the Round of 16 since 1986.
When we think of Mexican culture, many aesthetic sensibilities come to mind. There’s the rich Catholic iconography, Mexican Muralism, vibrant displays from Día de los Muertos and, much further back, the enduring influence of Aztec and Mayan symbolism.
The El Tri crest is one of international football’s most recognisable. When many countries have opted for increasingly clean and simple designs through the years, theirs bucked the trend. Their iconic eagle, as taken from their flag, represented Mexico's ink to an Aztec past - the bird's mythology dictating to ancient gods where their future civilisation would be built as they saw one of the birds perched atop a prickly pear tree.
In-keeping with many of the world’s leading footballing nations, Mexico refused to remain the outlier and have opted to create a far more contemporary branding with their future in Qatar in mind, but, more prominently, the hosting of the United 2026 event by Mexico, the United States and Canada.
Their president Yon de Luisa told The Athletic, “It came time to recognize the best parts of our past but modernize ourselves as well. We couldn't allow ourselves to get to 2026 (when Mexico will be one of the World Cup hosts) with a mark that wasn't contemporary.”
Speaking about the creation of the logo itself, he added that, "It was an opportunity that we had to capitalize on. We were fortunate to have been advised by several design shops and in the end, we received massive support from our sponsor and commercial partner, Adidas.
"Their design expertise allowed us to create this new image. We tested it (via focus groups) throughout Mexico and the results were very positive."
Thinking of the logo and, perhaps, the future of logos and branding as a collaborative effort is an interesting concept for many within the creative fields. Often having multiple agencies working on the same brief can cause conflict, but Mexico’s crest has been fairly well-received, a rarity amongst football fans and design aficionados who tend to turn their nose up at contemporary reimaginings of a classic.
Launched at the national Aztec Stadium, with a mixture of choreography and light shows, the new crest operates under the Hecho de los Mexicanos or ‘Made of the Mexicans’ tagline. The updated crest emphasizes the same structure as the previous crest, but with a stripped down aesthetic, something recognisable and impactful. The Federación Mexicana de Fútbol had this to say about their ideas:
“The new emblem is the result of a strategic project that has been worked on in recent years in order to evolve, modernize and adapt the image to current requirements, also demonstrating deep appreciation for our history and for the emblematic elements that have been part of our identity and symbol of our essence and culture, such as the colors of the flag, the eagle, the Stone of the Sun and the ball.”
Feedback, as mentioned earlier, has been generally positive. Football fans are conservative by nature, rarely inclined to welcome change openly, so the reaction towards this logo is telling. This isn’t just about sports, but about the heritage of any institution and the lesson here is clear - by acknowledging the history and heritage, building on it, rather than rewriting it, brands, clubs, businesses can all continue to develop their identity in a positive, recognisable and relatable manner.
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