Challenge

The Canadian Premier League (CPL) – a new, national soccer league comprising eight teams from across the country – had an ambitious goal of earning Canada a place in the 2026 World Cup. It planned to achieve that by giving more Canadian soccer players the chance to play at an elite level, in turn strengthening Canada’s competitiveness on the global stage.

A year ahead of the CPL’s April 2019 kick-off, we needed to begin to build a brand that could sit among the world’s most successful professional soccer leagues and spark Canadian soccer lovers’ interest in its mission to cultivate the national soccer program.

Inspiration

Discovery highlighted that fans, and their fierce, locally rooted loyalties, were every bit as integral to soccer as the players. We knew that Canada would only become a legitimate soccer nation by building the Canadian Premier League from its teams’ fans up.

We set out to build the league as a platform that could connect Canadian soccer fans with the game they loved, without getting in the way. So, as we determined the direction for the CPL brand, we were careful to include fan perspective in everything we did.

Idea

We approached the development of the CPL brand as if fueling a movement. Our rallying cry, “We are many, we are one,” encapsulated the spirit of the league and the relationship between local soccer passion and national soccer pride.

We painstakingly designed the CPL emblem to be the symbol of our movement, knowing it had the potential to be something fans would wear with pride to share their support of the Canadian soccer cause. Its motif – the Maple Leaf dissected by the North Star – represented our desire to position the CPL as the “North Star” for Canadian soccer. We made the letter “C” a central element, as it represented the league’s Club, Community and Canadian ties.

To announce the league, we created a manifesto film, which acted as a call to arms for Canadian soccer fans.

Growth

Within 48 hours of its announcement, and with next to no media dollars, we gained solid traction for the Canadian Premier League.

Metrics aside, the greatest measure of success was that fans began making the brand their own, adapting the CPL logo to reflect their local colours, and even turning it into a Drake-featuring meme.

All of this success led to the mandate to design the league trophy.

Black Screen with CPL Manifesto EN scrolled acorss
Image of soccer field, on a sunny day, with a soccer ball with the CPL logo, placed on a  CPC logo stand. Soccer stands with fans in the background
White background with a pencil drawing of the CPL logo. Descriptions on either side on both sides of the logo.
Blue and purple back drop with soccer fans in purple jerseys waving flags. We Are Many We Are One scrolled across the shot in white
Referee in blue shirt holding the soccer ball. Players behind him and a archway saying CPL

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