The History And Evolution Of The FCB Club Crest
The current FC Barcelona Logo or Club Crest dates from 2002 but actually includes symbols and references that are consistent throughout Barça’s long and illustrious history so let’s take a look at what it all means.
Top Left: The Saint George Cross or Creu de Sant Jordi in Catalan refers to the Patron Saint of Catalonia.
Top Right: Four red bars on a gold background are La Senyera, the Catalan National flag, which legend has it is the Quatre Dits de Sang (Four Fingers of Blood) made by 9th century King Wilfred the Hairy made on a shield before going into battle against the Moors.
Middle: FCB – Futbol Club Barcelona
Bottom: The red and claret blaugrana colours are those sported on the first team shirt and were introduced in 1900. There is some dispute as to whether they refer to founder Joan Gamper’s FC Zurich colours or the the Merchant Taylors School colours, which was attended by early stars Arthur and Ernest Witty.
However, the message the FC Barcelona Logo transmits is of a crest that honours the sporting dimension of the football club as well as its connection to its home city and native country.
The Early Years 1899-1939
As you can see from the illustration above, from 1899 to 1910 Barça’s original logo was quite different.
It includes the Cross of Sant Jordi and La Senyera but is surrounded by a laurel and palm branch and topped by a crown and a bat.
Presumably, the branches are sporting symbols of peace and friendship whilst the bat and crown are heraldic symbols of the Counts of Barcelona, who ruled an empire that covered much of the Mediterranean throughout the Middle Ages.
This logo lasted for over a decade until shortly after club founder Joan Gamper had saved the club from serious crisis in 1908 and a decision was taken to design a modern crest that would represent the club’s aspirations..
In 1910, the FC Barcelona board organised a competition for club members to propose a FCB logo and the winner was footballer Carles Comamala, who played for the club between 1903 and 1912, and at the time was also a medicine student as well as a fine amateur artist.
And so the FC Barcelona crest was created, although there have been a few variations, as I explain above its basic symbols remain relatively unchanged to this day.
FC Barcelona Under Franco 1939-1974
When Franco came to power in 1939, he outlawed the use of foreign words in football club names so Football Club Barcelona became Club de Fútbol Barcelona and the letters FCB were replaced by CFB.
As the Dictatorship also outlawed the Catalan language and symbols, the Catalan flag was replaced by the Spanish flag, which is also red and yellow but has fewer stripes.
By the late 1940s, the political repression was beginning to loosen so in 1949, to mark the occasion of the club’s 50th anniversary, the four bars were allowed to return.
The Club Crest After The Return Of Democracy 1974-present
As Franco lay dying, the club reintroduced the FCB onto the crest although the basic design remained the same after the dictator’s death in 1975.
The current FC Barcelona logo is based on an adaptation made by designer Claret Serrahima in 2002, in which the lines are a little more stylised, the dots between the letters have been taken away, the name has been made smaller, and there are fewer pointed edges.
The lines in this latest design are somewhat simpler in order to make it easier for the crest and the club’s corporate image to be reproduced in all the different formats.