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Giving Our Home State's Soccer Team a New Identity

March 5th, 2013
By: Becky Lang

 Giving Our Home State's Soccer Team a New Identity

At Zeus, we are major soccer fans. During the World Cup, a lot of us had the game going constantly on second monitors or TVs while we worked. That’s why we were thrilled that the local soccer team, then called The Minnesota Stars, came to us to work on their branding. They had just switched from being owned by the North American Soccer League to private ownership, and they saw this as a chance to make their identity mean more to Minnesota.

Picking a New Name
The team wanted to change their name to something that all Minnesotans could rally behind, something that would bring diverse groups together to celebrate a home team. That’s why they changed it to Minnesota United, an inclusive name that celebrates our state.

fc2 Giving Our Home State's Soccer Team a New Identity

Creating a New Look
We also redesigned all of their uniforms, from what they wear on the field to their warm-ups. Rather than just putting one designer to work, we wrangled all the designers in the agency to imagine what the team’s new identity could look like. We started by examining sports design amongst U.S. teams, and saw a lack of differentiation. Looking at European uniforms, we saw more effort to make the design represent the community that a team belongs to.

We decided to do the same, and whittled our many design ideas down into one that centered on Minnesota’s iconic loon, which has an active, aggressive nature that we thought was inspirational for a soccer team. The design also incorporates a star to tie to their past, as well as a blue stripe to represent the Mississippi river.

The primary typeface was based on a typeface by Eric Olson at Process Type Foundry, whose creations we’ve admired for years.

We hope that the newly branded Minnesota United goes on to do great things.

fc Giving Our Home State's Soccer Team a New Identity

See what people on Twitter are saying:








  • http://www.facebook.com/dawn.s.crowe Dawn Surcey Crowe

    Love this!  Who ya gotta know to get one of these shirts?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dawn.s.crowe Dawn Surcey Crowe

    Love this!  Who ya gotta know to get one of these shirts?

  • http://twitter.com/AaronPenn1 Aaron Penn

    I can be picky, but I LOVE the new logo, the use of the loon, everything. It is a very classy look. Well done! Time to buy a shirt!

  • http://twitter.com/AaronPenn1 Aaron Penn

    I’m picky, but I love the new logo, the loon, everything. This is a very classy emblem. Well done! Time to buy a new jersey…

  • http://twitter.com/AaronPenn1 Aaron Penn

    I’m picky, but I love the new logo, the loon, everything. This is a very classy emblem. Well done! Time to buy a new jersey…

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.legas Steve Legas

    Looks Very similar to D C united logo. Just add a wing on the other side
    and its very close.Both birds even have a red eye.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.legas Steve Legas

    Looks Very similar to D C united logo. Just add a wing on the other side
    and its very close.Both birds even have a red eye.

  • http://www.rickliebling.com Rick Liebling

    Just curious, was this team, at some point in its history, created from the merger of two or more other, local, teams? If not, I’m not sure why it would be called “United.” I see the reason stated in the piece, but to me it feels more like a lazy way to give the team some “authentic-ness” by leveraging a traditional football/soccer naming convention.

    Football/soccer in this country is forging its own, unique identity – see the cultures of the Timbers and Sounders of the MLS for proof. The sooner we stop leaning on cliches derived from the rest of the footballing world, the better.

  • http://www.rickliebling.com Rick Liebling

    Just curious, was this team, at some point in its history, created from the merger of two or more other, local, teams? If not, I’m not sure why it would be called “United.” I see the reason stated in the piece, but to me it feels more like a lazy way to give the team some “authentic-ness” by leveraging a traditional football/soccer naming convention.
    Football/soccer in this country is forging its own, unique identity – see the cultures of the Timbers and Sounders of the MLS for proof. The sooner we stop leaning on cliches derived from the rest of the footballing world, the better.

  • http://www.rickliebling.com Rick Liebling

    Just curious, was this team, at some point in its history, created from the merger of two or more other, local, teams? If not, I’m not sure why it would be called “United.” I see the reason stated in the piece, but to me it feels more like a lazy way to give the team some “authentic-ness” by leveraging a traditional football/soccer naming convention.

    Football/soccer in this country is forging its own, unique identity – see the cultures of the Timbers and Sounders of the MLS for proof. The sooner we stop leaning on cliches derived from the rest of the footballing world, the better.

    • Gerson22

      No, it was not created from the merger of two or more teams. Nor was DC United. While that is the traditional etymology of the football name “United,” it is not one that Americans have felt necessary as the only reason to call a team “United.” 

      • http://www.rickliebling.com Rick Liebling

        Using DC United as a defense doesn’t make it right, just derivative. A perhaps more exotic, yet still traditional football moniker could have incorporated “dynamo.” Or, better yet, why not the oft-used Scandinavian FK instead of FC, a nice tip of the cap to the heritage of many native Minnesotans? Using United FC just strikes me as an easy and safe choice. 

        • Rory Gates

          There is no oft-used FK in Scandinavia.  Just Norway.  In Sweden it is IF, idrottsförbund, or FF, fotboll förbund, even SK for sportsklubb.  IF in Denmark.

          • http://www.rickliebling.com Rick Liebling

            Rory, you are correct for the most part. A couple of Swedish teams do have a FK or SK, and on 2nd look I didn’t see any “K”s in Denmark. I’d still argue that if ZJ wanted to borrow terminology from European football, an FK or SK would have been more interesting/unique than FC.

            Separately, I’d also take (very minor) issue with the explanation of the use of the star on the crest. Yes, it’s a nod to the former team name, but a star on your crest has a specific meaning in football. It denotes that the team has earned a trophy (or trophies – see Juventus, AC Milan). When you win the league or a cup, you mark it with a star. Now, the Minnesota franchise did in fact win the league a year or two back, so it is justified. But that was never mentioned in the article.

          • apurm

            Technically, isn’t this team created from three teams? It used to be The Thunder, then NSC Minnesota (unoficially The Stars), then Minnesota  Stars FC before being purchased and rebranded, as we see here. Several of the same players were on all teams.

            I had read in other places the star in the crest is meant to represent their league win a few years back, but that wasn’t the reason given here. I believe it was an interview with the new owner.

        • Gerson22

          I can’t disagree with you there. United is only slightly less lame than the generic “FC” so many are in love with. Putting them together is lame squared. I’m just saying, the original reason for calling a club “United” no longer applies. 

  • http://www.rickliebling.com Rick Liebling

    Just curious, was this team, at some point in its history, created from the merger of two or more other, local, teams? If not, I’m not sure why it would be called “United.” I see the reason stated in the piece, but to me it feels more like a lazy way to give the team some “authentic-ness” by leveraging a traditional football/soccer naming convention.
    Football/soccer in this country is forging its own, unique identity – see the cultures of the Timbers and Sounders of the MLS for proof. The sooner we stop leaning on cliches derived from the rest of the footballing world, the better.

  • Matthew Grant

    Pure class

  • Matthew Grant

    Pure class

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.kozar.9 Paul Kozar

    It should be SC, not FC.  We’re not in bloody England doncha know.

  • Paul Kozar

    It should be SC, not FC.  We’re not in bloody England doncha know.

    • http://twitter.com/guy_tgardner Guy T. Gardner

      FC is preferable, because world wide, SC usually stands for sporting club, or a sports organization which has teams in more than one sport.

  • Anonymous

    No, it was not created from the merger of two or more teams. Nor was DC United. While that is the traditional etymology of the football name “United,” it is not one that Americans have felt necessary as the only reason to call a team “United.” 

  • http://www.rickliebling.com Rick Liebling

    Using DC United as a defense doesn’t make it right, just derivative. A perhaps more exotic, yet still traditional football moniker could have incorporated “dynamo.” Or, better yet, why not the oft-used Scandinavian FK instead of FC, a nice tip of the cap to the heritage of many native Minnesotans? Using United FC just strikes me as an easy and safe choice. 

  • Rory Gates

    There is no oft-used FK in Scandinavia.  Just Norway.  In Sweden it is IF, idrottsförbund, or FF, fotboll förbund, even SK for sportsklubb.  IF in Denmark.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t disagree with you there. United is only slightly less lame than the generic “FC” so many are in love with. Putting them together is lame squared. I’m just saying, the original reason for calling a club “United” no longer applies. 

  • http://www.rickliebling.com Rick Liebling

    Rory, you are correct for the most part. A couple of Swedish teams do have a FK or SK, and on 2nd look I didn’t see any “K”s in Denmark. I’d still argue that if ZJ wanted to borrow terminology from European football, an FK or SK would have been more interesting/unique than FC.

    Separately, I’d also take (very minor) issue with the explanation of the use of the star on the crest. Yes, it’s a nod to the former team name, but a star on your crest has a specific meaning in football. It denotes that the team has earned a trophy (or trophies – see Juventus, AC Milan). When you win the league or a cup, you mark it with a star. Now, the Minnesota franchise did in fact win the league a year or two back, so it is justified. But that was never mentioned in the article.

  • http://twitter.com/guy_tgardner Guy T. Gardner

    FC is preferable, because world wide, SC usually stands for sporting club, or a sports organization which has teams in more than one sport.

  • http://twitter.com/guy_tgardner Guy T. Gardner

    Seriously. Ill have the black with the Loon wings.

    http://youtu.be/JQCP85FngzE

  • Anonymous

    Technically, isn’t this team created from three teams? It used to be The Thunder, then NSC Minnesota (unoficially The Stars), then Minnesota  Stars FC before being purchased and rebranded, as we see here. Several of the same players were on all teams.

    I had read in other places the star in the crest is meant to represent their league win a few years back, but that wasn’t the reason given here. I believe it was an interview with the new owner.