On Tuesday, Orlando City SC unveiled their new, updated logo. The redesigned crest is one that the club will wear when they eventually begin play as Major League Soccer's 21st team. The badge is a clear evolution of the one that the club wore in USL Pro play over the last few years. While the look is undeniably clean, one has to wonder about the design and where it fits among the rest of the league's identities.
Major League Soccer is still a mixed bag in terms of club crests. There are exceptional pieces of badge design like the ones that Vancouver Whitecaps, Chicago Fire, Portland Timbers, and New York City FC (will) wear. Then, there are some middle-of-the-road looks like the efforts from Montreal Impact, San Jose Earthquakes, and Sporting Kansas City have on their shirts. Finally, there are the outdated crests that simply need a redesign like those used by the Columbus Crew and the New England Revolution.
Fans of the league will undoubtedly be happy to see that Orlando City have retained their purple and gold color scheme, a motif that is currently not represented by any of the current MLS clubs. The lion that first appeared on OCSC's USL Pro crest also returns but is now isolated inside a flat purple shield that bears a relatively thick white and purple stroke, ditching the lower division's Cerberus look.
The lion has been stylized with its mane flared out, as though it was in full sprint, to represent Florida's "Sunshine State" nickname. There are 21 sunbursts, symbolizing the fact that Orlando City will be the league's 21st team. The lion also wears a (very) subtle crown on its head as a nod to the club's 2013 USL Pro title. The crown, however, gets lost in the rest of the crest due to its close relationship to the other negative space that serves to add dimension found throughout the lion symbol.
The rest of the crest is devoid of detail thanks to its flat color and single, central detail. It is simple and gets its point across by showcasing the lion with its individual design cues and a sharp "Orlando City" label at the base, written in all caps and a sans-serif font with sharp points at many of the terminals. The new logo also ditches one of the central colors, a dark red, that served as a focal point of the club's badge and kits for the entirety of its USL Pro life.
While Orlando City's crest is clean and inoffensive, it does very little to excite. The lion emblem is very nice on its own but when combined with the traditional shield shape, flat color scheme, and simple type, it falls into that middle-of-the-pack group of Major League Soccer logos. Orlando City SC's updated identity doesn't call for an immediate redesign but it also fails to get the blood flowing. While it admittedly looks better in its embroidered form, it also kind of just exists.
With New York City FC having already unveiled a very nice (and well thought-out badge), the onus is now on Atlanta and Miami to show Orlando how it's done.