This paper explores football seating typography. It is the art of using coloured plastic seats in mass quantities and with different arrangements to create type and symbols. They come in many forms, geometric treatments, sans-serif, square, geometric, slab-serif, serif, and even inline. The uses also vary from team nicknames and stand names, to ground names and club names.
On paper the designs are simply a grid with the typography plotted and constructed of small blocks, but in reality, it is typography on a colossal scale. Both design and engineering come together to give meaning and visual identities to our football grounds. It takes careful thinking, planning, production and perfect alignment to create these graphics. They need to look great from the stands as fans enter the ground and from above they give graphic context and labelling to these huge landmarks.
Week in and week out, fans take their seats unawares to the typographic craft and construction that has gone on beneath them. West Brom’s lovely combination of script and inline typography and Preston’s exquisite and timeless portraits are just a few of the elegant and charming ways clubs use their stands to make art that give their stadiums unique identities and meaning.
FC Barcelona’s world famous motto ‘Més que un club’ (More than a club) is a great example of how clubs use powerful statements in their football grounds. This statement can apply to pretty much any club that exists. Fans follow their clubs with a passion and they often mean more to them than their jobs, careers, pets or even family. Clubs are more. They give people joy and purpose, a feeling of belonging to a wider family. They provide moments of collective joy and disappointment. The shared feelings that this gives is what makes people go back for more. Barça own this statement as it is permanently fixed within the seating of their wonderful arena, but the meaning resonates with fans worldwide.
Football ground seats provide clubs with the platform to use powerful messages, endear to the fans, create labelling systems, express their shirt branding and sponsorships, but the delight comes in creating strong and lasting identities that connect with their wider family, the fans. Sunderland’s witty ‘Ha’ Way The Lads’ feels like a warm welcome when entering the Stadium of Light. West Brom’s ‘Albion’ script type is a reminder to their fans and players of the history, heritage and identity of the club.
Dinkit Paper #01 is a 68 page book about football stadium identity, looking at how seat typography is used to bring life, identity and visual dynamism to football grounds. It is a visual treat and covers selected grounds in the UK, Europe and South America.
This is the first in a series of collectable publications about football visual culture to be published in 2020 and 2021.
You can buy a copy here.