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Orlando City SC: Purple, Lions and crest symbolism

Orlando City SC makes it’s first visit to CenturyLink Field today to meet the Seattle Sounders. They are expected to wear their distict purple kits, which is just one of the branding choices made by the club, which graduated this season from the USL to MLS.

Here is club founder and president Phil Rawlins on some of the background of some of the branding choices the club made along the way:

“One of the distinct choices that we made was to name the club Orlando City. And that speaks agin to the fact that we saw a need for identity within the city. So using the City name was at that time a pretty unique thing to do in the United States, but of course a traditional thing to do if you’re from Europe or wherever where it’s quite often the case where you incorporate the name "City" into the name of the team. It was a unique way of branding to combine both old and new at the same time.

“Then of course we really wanted to own the color purple: a very unique color, very distinct for us, it stands out, it’s our mark. So we wanted to keep that.

“We obviously needed – as all the teams that come into MLS have to – re-create our logo. When we did that – it’s actually quite interesting – our logo was created by a season-ticket holder. He happens to be an extremely talented graphics artist who works at Disney as well, but he’s also a season-ticket holder. He came up with the initial design, and out of the blue sent it to me. … We went out to four different design houses locally, we did included David in the competition, and quite frankly he won it hands down. We were delighted to be able to move forward with a new logo that was designed by a fan, in essence. The logo itself is pretty unique. We did pay homage and due deference to the history of the sport in the city. There was in the late ‘80s a semi-professional/professional team called the Orlando Lions, and that’s why the Lions is our nickname, to incorporate that history. The logo is obviously the lions head. All the people thing it’s surrounded by its mane – it’s not: It’s the sun of Florida because we’re the Sunshine State. It’s got 21 flares on the sun, and that’s to always recognize that we were the 21st franchise of Major League Soccer – because at the time that we came in Chivas was still a going concern in the league, so we were officlally the 21st franchise.

“And then if you look very closely at the top of the lion’s head, there’s actually a crown at the top of the lion’s head to signify the fact that we were kings of the minor leagues with two championships and three regular-season titles in four years.”

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