The National Women’s Soccer League will welcome another powerhouse team into its ranks in their 2022 season, with mounting excitement that’s been years in the making. Los Angeles will serve as the home for Angel City FC, a club that promises to shake things up on and off the pitch. The franchise is fueled by a star-studded list of founders and investors, including Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Uzo Aduba, and US soccer legend Abby Wambach.
The roll-out of Angel City FC has been robust, and while the initial announcement of the team came over a year ago, it wasn’t until this past June that the club unveiled a crest worthy of the team’s promise. The design comes courtesy of LA-native designer and art director Amedea Tassinari, who was seemingly tailor-made to take on the task.
“I’ve always been a huge sports fan, and I’m born and raised in LA,” Amedea says. “So LA sports has always been a huge part of me as a person and me in my career.” Her sporty upbringing guided Amedea down the sports design path from the start of her career, as she first interned for the LA ad agency 72andSunny on the ESPN account and eventually worked on the bid team for LA28 to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to LA in 2028. This work embedded Amedea even deeper into the LA sports scene, specifically as a designer.
While sports design often gets a bad rap, Amedea has always seen the industry as one rife with possibility, offering a playful arena for imagination. “There are a lot of opportunities in sports to be creative and do something a little bit different,” she says. “Because really, what is sports? It’s athletes on a field, yes, but what we’re really selling is inspiration, and hard work, and teamwork and wins and losses, and how we react to that. So, when you get more conceptual like that, visually, there’s a lot of room to play.”
More than anything, Amedea considers herself a storyteller. “My work has always been about telling stories, and I think that definitely comes out in this crest,” she admits. When the ACFC team first reached out to Amedea to be one of the eight designers invited to submit a proposal for the crest design, she leaped at the offer precisely because of the storytelling opportunity it provided. “I was stoked because I was like, this is a story I would love to tell.”
Amedea came to soccer fandom in adulthood after being exposed to the US Women’s National Team (USWNT). Like so many fans, Amedea was captivated not only by the team’s dominance as athletes but by their vital work in the pursuit of social justice and equal pay. “I was a young female trying to start a business, and these women were using this game to run towards women’s equality,” she says. “They’re using their careers and this game as a vehicle for societal change. So then I was like, oh yeah, I’m definitely a soccer fan, but first and foremost, I am a women’s soccer fan.”
Designing the crest was far more than just a job for Amedea, however. She felt a responsibility to honor her city and women’s sports with what she designed, which ultimately fueled her fire. “At times, it felt like a lot of pressure. As a young female, you’ll always get imposter syndrome, and I definitely battled a lot of that,” she admits. “But a lot of it was me taking a step back and seeing I’m uniquely positioned to do this right, based on my life. My experience as a designer, my experience as a storyteller and a sports fan and an Angeleno.”
The ACFC team, led by Head of Content Jennifer Pransky and Founder and President Julie Uhrman, came to Amedea with a cluster of core themes they wanted the crest to encapsulate. Chief among these were timelessness, authenticity, movement, fierceness, and optimism. “There was a lot of room for me to then fill in the blanks,” Amedea says of the guidelines. “What does make something look like it belongs in LA? What does make something look optimistic? What does make something look strong and fierce and powerful?”
A critical piece of the design puzzle for Amedea was striking a balance between traditional crest design and breaking that mold. She asked herself, “How far can I go before it stops becoming recognizable?” While the design needed to be novel to ACFC, it still needed to be identifiable as a sports crest.
Amedea’s process to achieve this balance required creating two versions of the crest on opposite ends of the spectrum of traditional sports design and then finding the sweet spot between the two. That allowed her to hone in on the golden ratio of traditional versus unconventional for the crest.
The finished product features an angel in a pink-to-orange sunset-inspired gradient whose wings break through the boundary of the crest’s asphalt-colored shield. The texture of the angel’s wings at once alludes to LA palm tree leaves and the feathers of a redtail hawk—a bird of prey native to SoCal. The top of the shield is drawn at a distinct 22-degree angle, representing the team’s launch in the 2022 season and the 22 total players on a soccer field during a game. The crest evokes confidence and strength, with the angel’s chest protruding proudly to show upward movement and optimism.
“The advantage of having our crest shape be unique is in our design language in the future design system, this 22-degree angle is ours, and then just this specific shape is ours,” Amedea says. All of those design details established within the crest can now get used across the rest of ACFC’s evolving brand identity that Amedea and the team continue to build out leading up to 2022. “Now, these pieces are all telling a story. Whenever we put something in a design that has that 22-degree angle, it carries that story over with it.”
Amedea is now working with ACFC in a creative director role to continue breathing life into the team’s brand identity beyond the crest. She and the team are figuring out how to extend components from the designs into fan experience, merchandise, and so much more.
”There’s so muc
h more to the brand identity than the crest, and we’re taking the story we made here and just building it across all the different mediums,” she says. “There’s a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to as a fan, but also just for women’s soccer in general. It’s a perfect time to be a part of it all.”