Euro 2016 brought many things that football fans will never forget; Wonderful late goals, the Icelandic 'thunder clap', Ronaldo leading his team to glory from the sideline. But for me, one thing in particular stood out more than anything else.
For the first time in history both the Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland football teams qualified for a major tournament together. In an extraordinary story they even went one further & qualified for the last 16, only to go down fighting heroically. As an island, Ireland is divided in two and as history has shown sometimes this divide has tragic consequences. But for one summer in France it seemed like none of that mattered. From start to finish the Irish fans from both teams where absolutely incredible joining together in the spirit of fun & unity that sometimes only football can bring. No fighting. Just fun & football.
This got me thinking: If the fans are stronger together, would the teams be stronger together? Would Michael McGovern have been able to keep the French at bay? Would Shane Long have been able to breach a resolute Welsh defence?
Together, could we have done the unthinkable and won it all?
Using rugby as an example, I decided to create a brand for an all Ireland football team. Something that would be inclusive for everyone and would unite all fans. Football can divide, but as shown in France it can also unite.
This design was created with people from every community in mind. Whether you identify as Irish, Northern Irish, British or anything else, I tried to create something that everyone can get behind. No politics, no sides, just some fun through design.
The Northern Ireland Football team are governed by the IFA (Irish football Association) whilst
the Republic of Ireland team are governed by the FAI (Football association of Ireland)
As the IFA is one of the oldest Football Associations in the world, and at one point actually represented a whole of Ireland team, it made perfect sense to use this as the main name for the crest but also to form the main shape. I also wanted to avoid using any shapes and symbols that might not resonate with everyone so I crafted a unique 'IFA' letter form for the centre of the crest.
The kits use a fusion of both shades of the crests green. This harmony of colour reinforces the joining and unity of all the supporters that the new identity aims to create. The central colour band is intended to run across the players heart