The Football Crest Index

The Football Crest Index

by James Kirkup

Fellow FFF contributor James Kirkup set up the Football Crest Index at the beginning of 2017 to document and preserve the rich history behind the crests of football clubs from around the world.

This first edition, successfully funded through Kickstarter, delves into the rich crest history of the 48 club to have graced the Premier League since it’s inception in 1992.

Each club is represented by one of 48 designers which produced original & exclusive artwork to sit alongside their club history, giving each spread a unique execution.

Now that the book is already landing in the hands of backers and contributors I thought it would be a good time to ask James more about starting a project like this and using Kickstarter to do so.

Hi James, let’s kick things off with a little bit about the project for those who haven’t heard about the book.

So… The Football Crest Index is an independent project that sets out to preserve the rich history behind the crests of football clubs from around the world. That’s now the official one liner. Our first Volume focusses on the 49 clubs to have featured in The Premier League and is about to go on general sale after successfully being funded through Kickstarter back in March.

What made you start this project?

You know what, after designing predominantly for screens for the past ten years I decided I needed to make some sort of big bad ass book before I turned 30.

That was the back bone of why it’s presented in this format but the reason behind the subject of crests came from a visit to the Camp Nou in Barcelona. Around the outside of their stadium are all these variations of the Barcelona club crest, dedicated to supporters clubs across the country. The thought that these aren’t in some kind of publication where they’re celebrated as well as documented seemed mad. That thinking, alongside the pre-30-bad-ass-book-life-tick was the basis for how I got here.

The Football Crest Index – Delivery No.1

What was it like working with so many contributors?

Honestly, this was the easiest bit.

Initially there was no plan to introduce contributors but after the idea came in, one tweet and 48 hours later I had 47 (I found 2 more later down the line) designers to get involved. I sent out this really simple, possibly quite shit brief along the lines of… “Hey, please make a poster. Thanks. Bye.” Each and everyone of our Volume 1 designers has been fantastic to work with though and I’m so chuffed to have each and everyone of there work in the book. It’s a total smash that we’re all super proud of producing.

Was this your first Kickstarter project? Have you got any tips for anyone thinking about crowdfunding their next side-project?

To be honest, this is my first successful side-project, let alone first Kickstarter.

I think to have the balls to ask people you don’t know for their hard earned cash for a thing they have no proof you can execute bar trust comes with some pretty essential rules to follow.

No.1 – Believe in your own project.

Before even considering using a crowd funding platform, ask yourself, do you genuinely believe in what you’re thinking about. Would you buy it? Do you need it? Who else wants it? Ask people. Tell people. Ask questions. Before I’d even mentioned the concept I’d thrown out tweets asking how much designers pay for books. I’d researched what was already out there, or luckily in my case, what wasn’t. All this lead to me feeling I could do it which in turn, helped me produce a successful campaign.

No.2 – Use Kickstarter.

This sounds dumb. But back things on Kickstarter. Watch how it works. Watch how it doesn’t work. Look at how others are using their backing goals in different ways, almost tactically to reach their overall goal. I threw a few curveballs whilst our campaign was running, like adding more copies to our backing goals once they’d all ‘sold out’. Research successful, and unsuccessful campaigns – there’s lessons to be learnt everywhere.

No.3 – Keep it authentic.

Through doing No.1 and No.2 I ended up being able to be super honest. Although it might look like I knew what I was doing, I was 110% making it up as I went along. I think people were into that. Kickstarter is great for that “Yeah, I’ll help them out” moment but I think as soon as it becomes too polished and perfect it’s a bit… “nah you’ll be ok mate”. That balance is difficult to achieve by trying to achieve it but if you believe in your concept, and have a good understanding of how it all works, you’ll kill it.

If you had to do it all again what would you change/improve?

Overall, and without wanting to sound like a dick, there’s genuinely not many things I would change. I think, like any project they’ll always be bits of the design detail I’ll look back on and want to do differently but on a whole I’m genuinely shocked things have run so smoothly.

Now Volume 1 is actually in people’s hands I have a much stronger understanding of the complete process that will hopefully make a stronger 2nd Volume.

What’s next?

So, this is where things get pretty hectic.

In a great way, by asking me this question it might actually help me formulate how they hell I approach the next few months.

  1. Now that Volume 1 is in our original backers hands we’re releasing issues on general sale in weekly batches on our lovely new website we just launched. These will sell out as we only have 100 copies left from our first print. There is a thought to do a second print but that’s on hold for the meantime.
  2. I’m pretty excited to ‘officially’ announce that we’re taking the project out of London for our own show at Design Manchester’s DM17 festival. This will be a proper celebration, not just of Volume 1 but the artwork and all the crests themselves. To top it off the show is going to be taking place at The National Football Museum.
  3. We’ve begun work on a World Cup Volume. This release will include the 32 national teams present at the next World Cup in 2018 alongside artwork from design studios from each country rather than individual designers. If you’re a studio and want to participate you can enter here.
  4. Going back to league football we’re also about to begin work on Volume 2: La Liga. This will follow the format of Volume 1 by including the 62 clubs to have played in the Spannish League, represented by established and equally unestablished designers and artists. You can submit your interest in representing a La Liga club here.
  5. There’s a lot of interest in us collating other League’s before we make future volumes. Now we have our fancy pants website we can totally do this, we just need the work force. Working out how we go about doing this is also totally being discussed, mainly down the pub.

Thanks for taking the time James!

For more information on the project and a full index of crests from the clubs featured in Volume 1 are now available to discover at:

Announcements on future releases and information on how to get involved is always over on our social accounts @TheFCIndex on Twitter and Instagram – or you can contact James directly at @james_kirkup.

Glenn Garriock

Liked this? Try these…