Wales are about to play in the quarter-finals of the European Championships. This is incredible. For Welsh football fans of a certain age (that is: any age below 70), the tournament has been the first time we’ve been able to support the team on the big stage.
Yes, it’s always good to cheer on your team. But labouring to a 0-0 draw against Armenia (no offense Armenia) in a two thirds empty Principality (née Millenium) stadium can test the mettle of any fan. Suffice it to say, we have been, despite having the odd bunch of good players, more or less rubbish for all of my life.
Not any more. Chris Coleman has got the players working their socks off for each other, and the likes of Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Ledley, Wayne Hennessey and Ashley Williams are top class players. And of course, in Gareth Bale, we have one of very best players in the world. Certainly the best player with a man-bob.
But that’s not the whole of the story. Extensive research by our team can reveal that use of design and branding techniques has made Wales a better team. Consider the evidence.
The Best Slogans
In 1951, to celebrate their 75th year, the Welsh Football Association added ‘Gorau Chwarae Cyd Chwarae’ (roughly: ‘Team Play is the Best Play’) to the emblem. This is inspirational stuff, but doesn’t necessarily work as a hashtag, which is why the FAW (and sports focussed agency, Designroom Sport) went back to the drawing board and created: ‘Together. Stronger.’ It inspires teamwork, works on Twitter and, crucially, is short enough for footballers to remember during interviews.
The Best Colour
Designers have long known the importance of colour in branding, but what not many of us knew was that if you wear red, you are more likely to perform better in sport. Not our words, but the words of two psychologists – Russell Hill and Robert Barton from the University of Durham, who thought that the way the colour is used by primates (to indicate dominance) might transfer to sports. And it does! The experts found that boxers wearing red were more likely to win a fight than boxers wearing blue.
(Obviously this only works in the home kit. And makes the last sixty years of results even more depressing).
The Best Mythological Creature
Scaly, fire breathing and terrifying: a dragon is basically the best animal (real or otherwise) that you could use in your branding. A straw poll in the office finds a dragon easily beating a lion – which bodes well for Friday when we face the Belgian Lion.
Beyond a collective hunch that a dragon could have a lion; Dr Evelien Bracke of Swansea University, says that dragons, in European and ancient Roman legend, do not necessarily refer to mythological creatures, but rather to human leaders – which suggests a strongly developed metaphor of fierce warriors (not unlike Williams, Ledley etc). Think of it as brand synergy between dragons and footballers. OK apart, but together, stronger and capable of truly awe inspiring deeds.
So, to conclude: however well Hazard and De Bruyne and the rest of those suddenly annoyingly in-form Belgian players perform – they’d do well to remember that design and branding (and all of Wales) is against them. Come on Wales! #togetherstronger