The story of the Norwich City Football Club badge is simply told. The original one was the arms of the City, a silver castle and a gold lion on a red background. But the club was known as the Canaries and where, the fans asked, was the bird? The players wore a canary on a twig on their shirts, they reasoned, so why couldn’t the club’s official badge be the same? The grumblings grew to the point that the Eastern Evening News decided to sponsor a competition for a new design that would put an end to the criticism. I won, helped (it was whispered by some) by the fact that one of the judges was the paper’s art critic, Hamilton Wood, who had been my art master at school.
As a prize I was given ten pounds and two directors’ box tickets for a game played in the rain that City lost. I was also asked to relinquish the copyright. (I try not to think of the millions I signed away by doing this!) The problem with most club badges is that they are too complicated. The Norwich badge just has the essentials − a canary, a football (without the seams and black patches that appear on some versions), and the castle and lion of the City of Norwich in the corner. Its outlines are simple enough to be applied to fabrics, and the green and yellow colours sparkle on TV. The design also looks well in black outline, and the details are clear at all sizes from the smallest cap badge and brooch pin to the 25-foot high electronic scoreboard at the Olympic Stadium in Munich.
Six years ago there was a plan to have a new badge to mark a resurgence in the Club’s fortunes, and the editor of the Evening News rang me up to ask me what I thought. My reply was that I would gladly give the ten pounds I had won to anyone who could design a better one. The money is still unclaimed.
Not long after my badge appeared I was asked by Maureen Reynolds if I would produce a design for the Norwich Ladies Football Club, the Fledglings, and I have also invented one for the young members of the Cromer Youth football teams to wear on their shirts. It has been a lot of fun.
ANDREW ANDERSON March 2013