With special thanks to Martyn Routledge, author of new book The Beautiful Badge, here’s the story of how one of the most instantly recognisable badges in English football came to be.
In 1973, Nottingham Forest held a competition to design a new badge after discovering that they could not copyright the town’s coat of arms.
Back in 1957, Forest’s then manager and vice-chairman had simply replaced the castle at the top of the town crest with the club’s initials.
The local evening paper hosted the competition, recruiting two lecturers in art and design as advisers.
The response was massive. There were 855 entries from as far away as Australia and Germany: one man submitted 27 designs.
One of the advisers, David Lewis, won the competition and a prize of £25.
Forest’s badge has remained unchanged ever since, save for small alterations and the addition of 2 stars to celebrate their back-to-back European Cup triumphs in 1979 and 1980.
Expressing his admiration for its design, one advertising executive wrote in Campaign in 2000;
‘Above all, it’s quick and easy to draw in the bogs at the away end of any ground you visit.’
Sartorial Soccer says:
“Club crests are hugely important to football fans.
To some of us they adorn our bodies in the form of tattoos and to many, many more of us, they are a permanent badge of honour stitched into our hearts.”
The Beautiful Badge by Martyn Routledge and Elspeth Wills is released today and is available in all good bookshops.