GWS Giants reviewed for Brand New
Previously Team GWS, now the rather wordy Greater Western Sydney Giants (but thankfully shortened to GWS Giants), are the latest expansion team of the Australian Football League, or AFL. Team GWS was a placeholder name for the initial few years, and the name was chosen after a community competition, and Sydney branding firm Pincipals were tasked with turning the new name into a new brand.
If Australia is anything, it’s sports mad. America survives on simply one football code, the NFL, but here one simply isn’t enough, we have four separate codes: Rugby League, Rugby Union, AFL and Soccer. The GWS Giants are a blatant attempt by the AFL to muscle in on an area traditionally seen as Rugby Leagues’ heartland. As a startup in a rival codes territory, the GWS Giants are almost themselves more an advertisement for the AFL brand, than a unique club that has grown from a community.
The AFL has teams that are over 100 years old, and deep ties to the suburbs of Melbourne they originated from. The GWS Giants have none of that, and it seems to show in the visual identIty. It’s very well mannered and crisp, modern, corporate and many may find this a rather dull approach to a sport teams’ branding because of it.
I’m not one of those. Visually the team are a breath of fresh air and simplicity, strong, striking colors with restrained typography – on some executions a bit of Photoshop-ey, roughed up texture has been added to balance out the plainness, and it’s welcome, if a little horror-movie in its feel. The mark itself is a big capital G. Really, really big. One might even say it’s giant — get it?
Perhaps the slim counter won’t translate well on TV, perhaps it’s a little top heavy — but they’re only small quibbles. On the uniforms however, the G feels a little too far to the left — from what I’ve seen of the team on the field (getting slaughtered by my own beloved Essendon bombers), I found myself thinking the players guernsey had been twisted.
Faced with creating a visual device for a team called Giants would have thrown up a unique challenge. After all, a giant looks rather a lot like any other person, just, well, bigger. How do you capture that in a mark? Put a house next to them for scale? The solution is both clever, concise, memorable and striking. But ultimately their success won’t be decided by their graphics — it will be the footy-mad people of Western Sydney who decide — so, fellas, best of luck, here’s to a big future for the Giants.
Brand video from GWS website — what’s with all the arm crossing?