The PDL gets new Logo!

Saturday, December 19, 2015 - Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

(This article is reprinted from the PDL website for more information on the PDL initiatives visit www.ulspdl.com)

With the unveiling of the PDL’s logo at the 2015 Winter Summit in Clearwater Beach, Fla., the league illustrated a Path to Pro narrative that exemplifies the league and its role as North America’s top amateur league for player development. USL Chief Marketing Officer Tom Veit sat down with uslpdl.com to discuss the PDL rebranding, Winter Summit and the work that is being put in toward the league heading into 2016.PDL-Logo centred.png

Q: The PDL and USL Winter Summit took place earlier this month and you had the opportunity to be part of the PDL’s logo unveiling. What was your overall take from the PDL clubs from that portion of the event?
Tom Veit: “I thought it was very successful. I think that the PDL community appreciated the fact that we put a lot of time and effort in creating the brand. Brands are more than just a logo on the front of a page. It’s the things that go behind it that really develop your brand. When you’re developing your ‘logo’ – I call it a visual identity mark –what does it represent? We spent a lot of time developing what some of the core values of the PDL are. You take the values and build a mark around those. I was very pleased with the response. Logos are like art; you’re never going to get 100 percent buy-in. Quite frankly, if you get 50 percent of the people on the initial launch to like any logo, you’ve knocked it out of the park, and I think we far exceeded that.”

Q: Did you get the sense from the teams and ownership that the rebrand identified with their values and purpose?
TV: “I did. This is a unifier. Leagues are like neighborhoods, and then the teams are the homes within that neighborhood. The league has to supply the infrastructure. The teams are still the most important part to their individual supporters, and you’ve got to meld those two. I think giving a unifying mark that represents the core values of the league gives everybody a meeting place. This brand identity is a unifier because these are core things that all of our teams have in common. That’s what this represents.”

Q: Explain the process on how this logo was conceptualized to represent the Path to Pro model.
TV: “We worked with a great agency. The Silverman Group which is out of Connecticut, they are the creators of the Philadelphia Union logo, the South Florida logo, the agency for the Orange Bowl and they worked with the U.S. Open, the Tampa Bay Lightning – it goes on and on. They’re not a big mega agency. They’re very much a boutique group and they’re a branding group. They don’t churn out logos. Quite frankly, I’ve been through this process in my career a lot. The process starts with a blank sheet of paper and you start out with not a mark, not a logo, not a shape, but with what does your league stand for? What are the core elements? We sat down with PDL Director Todd Eason and with all the people from the PDL and talked to some of the owners. PDL has equity in its brand. There’s always this discussion, do you change the name? Do you do something new? Even from my history of MLS and the NCAA, the PDL has brand value. People know what the PDL is, so we weren’t starting from scratch.

“The PDL is all about the players. This is a place that gives players options. Players who want to get their college education and still want to become a pro one day, this league gives you the ability to do that, and there you have the star element of the logo. The fact that the league provides a Path to Pro was obviously the next thing we saw. The shield, some people look at it and say it looks like a sign post. It is. The PDL points to the future. If you look into the wordmark, there’s a horizon, and PDL sits over the horizon. The PDL is a future-looking league, develops talent and gives players opportunities. The colors – red and blue – are colors that work in the United States and Canada. We are a North American league. We probably had at 20-30 different looks at the start. It was a multi-stage project where we spent three months refining the logo.”

Q: The logo unveiling is the start of the PDL’s rebranding over the next year. Can you discuss some of the additional elements going into the rebranding down the road?
TV: “Correct, this is the front door to the brand. The logo is the visual identity of the brand. The brand’s a lot bigger. The brand is that the Premier Development League is the top amateur development league in North America, developing players and turning them into stars. It is a Path to Pro. It is a high standard of excellence, with great ownership. The team owners do this for the passion of the game and they do it for the passion of developing talent. They’re in it for the right reasons.

“Moving forward, we’re going to be launching a completely new interactive website. We’re going to be launching a new app. We’re revamping social media. We’re going to work with our teams in further development, including simple things such as photography. These are all elements of the rebrand. We’re really refreshing the brand externally in this process over the next season or so. The core elements of what the PDL is are already there. Now it’s polishing the apple.”

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