he Barcelona FC belongs to its associates. And it also belongs to the million fans of Catalonia and of all over the world that feel the club as part of their own joys and disappointments, of their enthusiasm and frustrations. From a small-scale perspective, it has been like this even before the badge that identifies the club had the famous shape of a pot and incorporated a symbolic design that goes beyond the identity limits of the city of Barcelona and integrated the Senyera [Catalan flag, four red stripes on a yellow background], and more specifically the Cross of Sant Jordi [Saint George], with the aim of bonding together all Catalans. The Barcelona FC has a large badge in many senses, for it holds between its blaugrana fringes and its four bars, all sorts of dreams, claims, values and traditions that have driven the club to call itself “more than a club”. And as the saying goes, “you got me, right?”.
Well, this 2018, the Board of Directors will propose to the Assembly of Delegates, next October 20th an “update” –as specified in the Board’s press release– of Barcelona FC’s badge. And, why not?
Since 1898, the Barça badge has experienced at least ten transformations, bigger or smaller, almost all looked for and someone imposed. Obviously, the most drastic one took place during the first decade of the 20th century, which gave birth to the current badge of Barça, this pot where a collective narrative boils that has essentially endured up until now, and we believe that no present or future Board will attend to spoil. What the current Board proposes is to “face the new digital and consumption content needs” and, in order to do it, the branding team suggests: “to eliminate the inner black outlines”; “to remove the acronym FCB”; “to grant more visibility to the different symbols that shape the badge and thus attain more harmony (Barcelona, Catalonia, the ball)”; “to reduce the number of blaugrana fringes from 7 to 5”, and in this way improve “the contrast and achieve, altogether, a more blaugrana perception”. Finally, the proposal aims to “enhance the role of the ball, which happens to occupy a more central position”. Well, these are the arguments for the update of the badge.
Barça’s badge, the one that belongs to associates and fans, embodies the flagship of this idea of being “more than a club”. And as an associate myself, the first I wonder is whether this update that the Borad proposes will undermine the emblem the badge conveys. The answer is: no. I was born with the 1975’s version, the one that reestablished the Senyera to its full extent and eliminated the white fringes with the acronym: we already know that many culers are afraid of white –in football terms- and more incorporated to the badge or to the official equipment (remember the shock on account of the white fringes in the sleeves in the years 92-93 with the change of official supplier of the official equipment?). After the 75 version came the one of 2002: and it was ok. And now we have a new proposal.
Will it feel strange not to see the acronym in the middle of the badge? Well, maybe yes. Will these and other elements that were modified infringe, even minimally and in an epidermal way, the values of Catalan identity, universality, social commitment and democracy that the club stands for? Well, not really. Does it push its membership base, true owner of the club (fortunately), away? No. Therefore, ¿will this a change better integrate the emblem of the club into new channels of diffusion? If so, then so be it.
It is true that in the last years we have seen some first class European clubs, with which Barça competes not only in sports, redefine their badges, some more delicately, others more unrefined… From Atlético de Madrid to Manchester City and, at the end of the road, Tori’s Juventus. Ah, Juventus’ case: a dramatic shift that I recognize I still don’t understand and that, truly, if it were a Juve fan would’ve dorve me crazy.