Home of legends
In honour of number 14
When Dutch football legend Johan Cruijff died in 2016, the City of Amsterdam decided to rename its biggest stadium after him. After winning a prestigious pitch in the summer of 2017, we set about creating a new logotype and visual identity for what is now known as the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The challenge was creating a visual identity that answered
all stakeholder demands, honoured Cruijff’s legacy and positioned the ArenA as a cutting-edge venue for sports and entertainment. With a radical architectural upgrade set for completion in 2020, the identity had to be progressive enough to position the ArenA against the world’s other leading stadiums – past, present and future.
As its namesake, we integrated Cruijff’s legendary charisma into details both subtle and obvious. A custom brand typeface was created called Johan Cruijff ArenA Headline. The font was inspired by the new stadium design with its rectangular pitch and rounded outer shell. For the logo itself, we used the Dutch spelling of Cruijff with ‘ij’
instead of the international ‘y’. In our design solution, we highlighted this with a ligature feature. More subtle was our use of Cruijff’s iconic number 14. Instead of shouting it, we added a subtle14° angled motif as the foundation of our entire graphic system.
We integrated the visual system throughout the ArenA. Inspired by the athletic numbering of football jerseys,
large-scale numbers with outer keyline strokes were introduced to parking spaces and wayfinding. We also created a system of photo-illustrations based on the four key stages of Cruijff’s illustrious career – from homegrown
talent and pioneering technician to the inspiring player/captain and the charismatic leader. These photo-illustrations, which also function as a wayfinding mechanism throughout the stadium, connect the ArenA with its namesake even during non-football events.
‘Living up to expectations when the whole nation is watching is not an easy task. This assignment was even harder. Develop a new brand identity for our stadium after renaming it to honour one of the biggest international football legends, Johan Cruijff. VBAT understood this task really well, developing a concept that could be widely used in and around the stadium and for corporate use. The range of dynamics in the new brand guidelines give us the freedom to work within the theme “Home of Legends” and do full justice to the legacy of Johan Cruijff. This has helped us to win over the hearts of both Ajax and Dutch fans for the stadium even more.’
Jeroen van Iersel, Marketing Manager Johan Cruijff Arena
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