Teaming up with Brane, a London based creative agency, we get under the hood of Gareth Bale's recently launched logo with the guys that brought it together, Yatin Patel and Mike Kramer.

The key to collaboration often comes in the curation. Gareth Bale looks like a good curator in that respect. Under the spotlight and forever on a quest to stand proudly as a pacemaker above the rest, he looks set to enter the world away from the pitch in a sharp and sophisticated fashion with a fresh brand of his own unveiled.

Working with a player of such quality playing for a jewel in football's crown, can you tell us how the opportunity to work with Gareth Bale came to fruition?

YP: Mike and I were in the early days of Brane. Both of us had experience across professional sport and branding and we were approached by Anchorfan who were working closely with Gareth and Stellar Management to give a view on how Gareth’s own brand might be built. We got more and more engaged with the project as the conversation progressed and we got to know Gareth personally. This all kicked off when he was still at Tottenham and we’ve been working with him and his team ever since.

Can you tell us a little bit of Background to Brane? What other sport related projects have you been involved in?

MK: I have a background primarily built around luxury and automotive design and branding and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing brands, such as Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and McLaren. My previous sports marketing experience was in F1, with Honda F1 and Red Bull Racing, who I worked with during their back to back championship wins.

YP: I’ve been lucky in the breadth of experience I gained across professional sport in my twenties – working across talent management, communications, event management and of course brand strategy. Today we’re working with a number of clients in sport from a strategic and creative perspective, including Microsoft and Samsung. We also work with a number of representation agencies, rights holders and private equity businesses.

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What characteristics made Brane an attractive proposition to work with for brand Gareth Bale?

YP: I think there were two reasons; we were a relatively young agency at the time, and we were prepared to invest hours in the project. And through several case studies of other work, we were able to illustrate how we could deliver a premium and highly personalised solution that would be tailored for Gareth rather than something based on a generic brand model.

Beyond that, I think we are able to quickly demonstrate we understand how to build brands in the sports space. We have insights and data on fans and our team spends a lot of time ensuring they know what is going on across the sports landscape.

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What about the brand itself, can you dissect that for us?

YP: We were looking for a hook – one which allowed us to create a visual brand framework which was inextricably linked to Gareth and would resonate with his fans. At Spurs, he was scoring lots of goals and he had become famous for his eleven of hearts celebration. It was everywhere, on TV and in playgrounds up and down the country and it had really captured the fans imagination.

Gareth lives, breathes and sleeps football – and those goals represent a moment in time when he is closest to the fans - and that’s what makes football what it is. The brand mark feels authentic to Gareth.

MK: It has received some criticism because people think it’s marketing speak and a weakrationale, but it’s the truth. The biggest challenge was trying to creating a strong masculine marque which incorporated a heart shape. However, we created a more sinister shape, look and feel as we wanted to reflect his on pitch persona rather than his off-pitch persona. The moment before a free kick was used as inspiration.

I think the absence of a word marque highlights our ambition to keep the focus on his connection with fans and what he is going to be remembered for. It would have been easy to create a monogram with an inward-looking framework but this would have been wrong. It doesn’t tie into Gareth's real story.

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Football is a game washed with opinion, how much do you let that come into your line of site when creating a brand like this?

YP: I think athletes are fairly resilient… Gareth’s had more than his fair share of criticism in the last 12 months. But once upon a time Beckham was the most hated man in England. Look at how things change. In sport, things happen in an instant - it takes less than 10 seconds to score a goal or win the Olympic 100 meters final and in those moments, legends are made. 

In terms of the athlete brand element – I think it’s the nature of the beast to be honest.

We’re talking about household names – people that are talked about over a drink at the pub day in day out. They probably get more air time than your family members; there are millions of people who wear shirts carrying their name and then when one of them create a logo there is a need to call them self indulgent, ego centric etc.

The fact is Football is a global sport and a huge business. These guys make the hairs on the back of our necks stand up. They are already brands. All we have done is created an authentic and distinctive framework for Gareth’s story to live within football fans. However, it is important to understand that this is about far more than a logo. 

MK: There was always going to be criticism and opinions. That’s the great thing about creativity, its subjective. If we had devised a monogram – or something very obvious, both Gareth and our team would be criticised from another perspective. I would rather look at it from a design perspective. Is it a bad design? Is it something which hasn’t been thought about and carefully crafted? Or is it something which over time Gareth’s fans will embrace? What you are seeing today is just the first part of a bridge between a world class athlete and his fans.

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What about the future? What's the next challenge for the good guys at Brane?

YP: Brane has developed an amazing client roster over the past couple of years, because we have built trust in the fact that we deliver world class solutions every time that we go to the table. We care about what we do and apply the same rigour to everybody that we work with.

Football is a focus area for us. We have several clients in the space and are looking to build ideas with the major brands that invest into the sport.

MK: There are a number of opportunities for us in the USA too and we are keen to develop the conversations that are beginning to happen with brands and individuals in what is probably the worlds biggest sports market. 

YP: If we can keep working with the people that are drawing all the criticism then I think we are doing a good job…

Thanks to both Yatin and Mike for taking the time to let us understand that little bit more about this project. You can see more about Brane, here.