FC Dallas are a club that champion their image and the creative work that goes into producing a strong brand on and off the pitch. We spoke to Creative Director Erik Davila to talk about what it takes to brand a football club in the MLS.

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As creative director for the club, could you explain your remit a little bit for us?

First, we have an amazingly talented creative team here at FC Dallas. Aaron Griffin, our multimedia manager, is responsible for the excellent video content that we produce. From filming to editing, he does it all. And our graphic designer, Olivia Brestal, has a brilliant creative mind and works on anything from designing scarves for our Scarf-Of-The-Month program to creating 3D match posters. They make up the creative engine here at FCD and continue to produce top-notch work.

My role is to ensure that we adhere to our current brand guidelines while pursuing new and creative ways to promote FC Dallas and the sport of soccer within those brand standards we’ve put in place.

Along with that, I’m also in the design trenches working on multiple projects daily. The designing never stops in our world. FC Dallas is located in a giant sports market so we work aggressively to expand our brand and our fan base. There are always a multitude of things that we on the creative side want to accomplish. That being said, it takes all of us working fervently to accomplish these goals and continue to push the creative limits.

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What does a normal day at FC Dallas usually involve? Is there such thing as a normal day?

Great question! Normal is a relative term when discussing a day in the sports design world. During a match week, things get busy as we are updating graphics from digital to video to print. Deadlines are crucial in these weeks. When the team travels, we find ourselves working even harder as we are continuing to create and complete projects as well as plan for what’s coming up next. Since we service all departments within FC Dallas (Sales, Marketing, Sponsorship's, FCD Youth, etc..) the work is constant. Having to think and create quickly is a must in our world.

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The MLS is certainly travelling around the globe, is that noticeable from an insiders perspective?

Absolutely. The global reach of FC Dallas continues to grow as we currently have ten different countries represented on our First Team. It’s amazing to think that we have supporters in all of these nations who we continually interact with through any and all outlets, mainly social media.

You don't have to search too far in the MLS to find strong creative work, how does it feel being part of that movement?

One of the best things about MLS is that it is a progressive league. From the way that the league itself promotes the game here in the U.S. and interacts with fans to the imagery and design concepts that we at the team level are able to produce. “The beautiful game” begs for unique and creative imagery and artistry to reflect it’s nature and help connect to the passionate fan bases that support it.

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FC Dallas really seem to value creativity, can you tell us about some of the projects you have found most rewarding?

One of the most satisfying feelings is seeing something you’ve created put into action - anything from stadium signage to a social media campaign - seeing the players and fans connect and respond to your work is an amazing reward.

We recently launched a commemorative Match Poster series. This is something Olivia and myself have been wanting to work on for a while so we just decided to go for it. The only rule I had for this was that these had to be intentionally off-brand of what our current FC Dallas look and feel is. I wanted this to be a great creative outlet for us and a fun way for the fans and supporters to connect with our team and grow that supporter culture. So far the response has been awesome and we’ve found that both the fans and players anticipate what’s coming out next!

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Also, something we have recently been really putting a great deal of hard work and research into is our photography. We basically shoot everything in-house, with the exception of a freelance photographer we use on match nights to help cover player images. During a match, we shoot anything from pre-match festivities to goal celebrations in the crowd to sponsor elements that need to be captured. Recently we launched a photo blog site called FCD Pitch side (www.fcdpitchside.com), where we pick certain elements that help make up FC Dallas and cover those in a photo-journalistic way. This ranges from supporters culture to following our team captain around for the week and up through the match.

We really want to pull the curtain back a bit and allow the fans and supporters better access to our team and showcase who we really are as FC Dallas. Helping to grow that love and connection to our team is something we’ve found we can accomplish through our photography in a simple and creative way.

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How does working on the creative side of football compare toother industries?

Honestly, I’ve only worked in sports so I don’t think I could speak to other industries. However, I follow artists and designers in other industries and continually find inspiration in their work. It’s crucial for us to step outside of the sports world at times in order to expand our creative thinking. The type of projects and collateral that sports in general calls for can become repetitive, so we place an emphasis on researching new ways to approach these creative needs.

Despite being quite early on in the season, are you already looking ahead to next year?

With such a short offseason in Major League Soccer, we are always looking ahead and planning for the next season. Right now, we are working to finalize the brand look and feel for 2016. It’s highly beneficial for us to have these elements in place and ready to launch well before the start of the next season.

Setting a high standard throughout all forms of communication, big thanks to Erik for taking the time to answer our questions.