Robert Boyd and CustomFC: Professional, Meaningful, Progressive
So tell us about yourself, what's your background?
I'm born and raised in the South West of England with Scottish heritage. I grew up loving football and everything about it; the passion, the talent, the fans, the kits and of course the crests. I got a degree in Graphic Communication and as soon as I left university I knew I wanted to combine my two greatest loves in life. Football and Design.
What soccer clubs did you grow up following?
My team is Glasgow Rangers Football Club. The support of Rangers in my family goes way back and I'm lucky enough to be able to call them my team.
You are from England, but are focusing on American clubs, what's the deal?
It started out with one team, Gold Coast Inter AFC. I once did a concept design for Beckham's Miami team (before it was a real thing) as a portfolio piece, I posted the designs on a forum of soccer fans in Florida to get feedback. I ended up getting some no bs comments from one user calling out everything they weren't keen on in the designs, so I decided to message the same person on twitter asking if they would help with a redesign. That person was Christian Franek of GCIAFC. He helped me do the redesign for my portfolio and I then designed the crest for his own team idea GCIAFC. From this I got introduced to the world of lower league soccer in the states and knew there could be an opportunity here for me to help teams grow and improve their image through graphic design. From there I created CustomFC and it's gone from strength to strength. I am now working in markets in the UK as well as the US, but I won't forget where it all started.
How do you approach logo design? What's your philosophy?
My philosophy in design is to help clients look as big / professional as their biggest competitor. This is always my aim. If a client feels they have the look and feel of an entity that can grow, then they always will.
Which of your designs do you like the best and why?
That's like asking me to pick a favourite child. Once a team joins the Custom Football Club they're part of the family. Each design has its own merits and suitability in different environments, so I can't pick a favourite. They all mean a lot to me.
What's the process for a club working with you?
Right now all a club has to do is email email@example.com telling me who they are, who their team is and what they require of me. Then once we've worked out a price we'll get started designing the new look for the club. We always work with our teams throughout the process to ensure they're totally happy with the direction we're working in and then ultimately the final outcome.
Do you target clubs for logo rebrands?
It's not something I've done much of. There is enough interest from clubs through word of mouth and twitter talk that I haven't had to do that much.
Who else is doing what you do?
I’m not to sure if there are other companies that offer everything that we do. I’m sure there are others that offer logo designs. But maybe are not as soccer specific as ourselves and know the market like we do.
How does the American soccer market compare with Europe (or England if that's better)
It's very different. I love working with US based clients. I think in general they are more accepting of bigger ideas and bolder concepts, whereas in the UK there are teams that have had one crest for 50 plus years for example and they are very reluctant to change any if at all, which I can understand but for my profession it makes life more difficult.
What could English football learn from US soccer and vice versa?
I would like English football to have a more accepting attitude to safe standing. This is something a few MLS teams do. So if we’re talking about the top flights then I would say that. As well as that there seems to be a more accepting attitude to flares and designated areas for displays and so on which you don’t get to much of in English football now.
One thing US Soccer could learn from English? A full top to bottom football pyramid with promotion and relegation throughout. I know it’s called for massively by US fans and I have to agree, I think it would improve the game in the states if it was implemented.
What are your thoughts on the state of American soccer?
I think it's moving the right direction. I see a vast community of lower league soccer fans and clubs in the states growing constantly and it's becoming a very interesting situation. I see a lot of calling for a pro / rel system to be installed and I think as long as fans keep doing what they're doing and showing up in large numbers to watch soccer in these lower leagues then I think it will happen eventually.
Do you watch any American soccer or track any specific clubs?
I watch MLS when it's on British TV (and on at a reasonable hour) I try and catch as many highlights from all of the CustomFC teams and keep track of how they're all doing.
What are your plans for the future with CustomFC?
Over the next few weeks you'll notice a big step up in CustomFC activity. I'm hopeful of adding lots of new teams to our club throughout the year. I've just revamped the website and launched a Blog on the site called 'Crest in Show' in which we note and review everything that's new in the world of soccer crests. The plan is to get a weekly review out on this.
I can also announce that CustomFC is partnering up with Icarus FC to offer the 'Custom Icarus Package'. In this we offer teams the chance to have 10% off a CustomFC designed crest as well as 10% off kit creation with Icarus FC. All clubs have to do is contact CustomFC or Icarus FC and reference 'Custom Icarus Package' to start the process. We hope this will help clubs with the convenience of rebranding by offering a solution where the crest design and kit manufacturing is done with communication for all parties.