A chat with OCSC crest designer David Brotherton

You probably don’t know his name but you know his work. If you have loaded this website you have already seen it and if you drive for any length of time through Orlando you are likely to see it another 20 times on the cars in front of you. David Brotherton is the mastermind behind the Orlando City crest that adorns practically every other car in Central Florida. Recently he fielded 10 questions about his experience working on the logo with us. His answers were lengthier than expected and so we are breaking it into 2 parts.  Today is Part I. Check back tomorrow for Part 2.

First of all, did you have any idea how big of a deal this would become?
Yes, I absolutely did expect this to be as big as it is –and it’s only going to get bigger. As a self-appointed advocate of the sport and the team; I’d tell friends, co-workers and anyone who would listen just how big of a deal this could be. One of the things I said all along was how Orlando City would become a bigger deal than UCF or the Magic, given the global nature of the game (getting mostly skeptical reactions). That said, there’s quite a difference between believing in the grand potential of something, and actually watching that grand potential play out before you. It’s just a thrill to see where Adrian Heath and Paul McDonough are taking the team, and where Phil Rawlins and Flavio Augusto da Silva are taking this brand.

What prompted you to pursue this project?
This project was kind of the “ultimate” design project for me personally.  I’ve played competitive soccer (youth, club, college) my entire life. My career in the advertising & marketing industry spans 20+ years. I have called Orlando home since 1996. So, when you put all those personal realities together (soccer, design, home); there’s really no other opportunity that could ever embody them all, quite the way this one did. But at the same time, I’ve learned as a professional that you can’t go chasing projects just because you find them attractive. You want to know that it’s legitimate. As a season ticket holder, I’d experienced Orlando City’s game day and their product on the pitch. And having closely followed Phil’s and Flavio’s statements in the media, you could tell these guys were the real thing. I couldn’t be happier that I chose to go after it.

How surreal is it to see your design on every other car in Orlando and on jerseys and video games around the world?

When you do marketing, advertising, branding work for a living; you can get used to seeing your work in the marketplace. You can get jaded, to a certain degree (insert girlfriend’s loving slug in the shoulder here). But given the level of personal passion I put into this project, it is different. I think my thoughts went from “Did that just happen?” at the logo launch —to “Okay, it’s happening,” at the stadium renderings to “WOW, yeah …this REALLY is happening” at the jersey unveiling.

I do smile a little each time I see one of those magnets. But one of the best moments that hit me, was when 2 of my nephews, back in St. Louis, realized the team and badge would be in FIFA15. Now they’re arguing over who gets to be Orlando City. That’s awesome. That’s surreal.

You weren’t just doing a job here, you were designing for something you love, did this change your approach to the project and if so, in what way?
You always look to do your best, but I think there were 3 things that factored into my approach on this one.

1) My passion.
Sometimes your love for something can get in the way of the actual task at hand. “Love” can be the thing that initially launches you, but you have to translate your love into professional passion; which means lots of research, writing, endless revising, experimentation, gaining perspective, being critical, walking away from some ideas, etc. It’s not all design all the time. Like Malcolm Gladwell says, you have to put the hours in. And I was willing to put in whatever time this required to get it right.

2) Who I was up against.
If I could see the opportunity, I knew I couldn’t be the only one. The quality of professional creative talent in this town is second to none; I have nothing but respect for so many of my local colleagues. I had absolutely no doubt Orlando City’s front office would see some really, really strong work from the other agencies’ presentations. Whatever I presented to them needed to be the strongest work I was capable of, and needed to best represent the organizational ethos of what OC were building. Whichever presenter can best tap into that usually gets the prize.

3) The players, city and fans.
A project like this deserved to have the same level of thought, passion and love put into it, as it would be met with on the other side. You have guys whose only shot in life is making it in the sport, world class superstars, and little kids of every walk of life aspiring to don the kit with this badge over their heart. You have a city/region that the rest of the country largely ignores, dismisses, or underestimates, embracing this mark as a symbol of our attitude and a declaration to be respected. You have the legion of thousands of supporters singing, chanting, cheering on our boys with this emblem proudly waving over their heads, painted on their drums and inked into their flesh. It was the judgment of these recipients I knew the end result had to pass.

Come back tomorrow for Part II.