Justin Mapp Soccer: Building a Brand from a Style of Play
I’ll always embrace the opportunity to merge my two passions, soccer and design.
I’ve had a few projects so far this year along those lines, but none of them quite like this one.
I grew up in small town Mississippi playing a sport that wasn’t that huge in the U.S. just yet. If what I consider soccer during my youth ‘not big’ then Justin Mapp grew up playing soccer when it was barely existent. It’s why a lot of us playing in High School looked up to Justin. He was the first professional soccer player from MS and the first to play for the U.S. National Team. He was a lot of people’s soccer hero.
I remember winning Justin’s signed jersey at a camp he had when he was just traded from D.C. to Chicago. It was a fairly small camp and it was crazy cold, but there was no way I was missing it. I honestly don’t even remember how I won the jersey, but I put that #21 kit in real safe keeping for only special occasions.
One occasion was when Justin returned with the Fire to Freedom Ridge Park for preseason. I got him to sign the jersey again, which I remember he was sort of weirded out by haha! But it was awesome for me.
Fast forward. I’ve played my high school years at NWR, the same one as Justin. I’ve finished my competitive career after playing college soccer at Memphis. I’m doing graphic design. Justin has retired after a stellar career and is back in MS doing clinics, helping advance youth soccer in our hometown area.
I got in touch with Justin and sort of laid out the vision for what I thought his brand could be. I wanted him to have a brand that personified how he was as a player and now as a coach.
The main idea behind his logo was to bring his style of play to life. When people see the logo, I wanted them to instantly know what kind of player I looked up to growing up.
This is how I brought that to life:
I customized a font for Justin’s brand as well, making all the curves specific to mimic (but not completely reflect) his primary mark.
Here’s a closer look at the letters. These are my favorite letters because of their curves and sharp turns.
Beyond the logo, we went with a full brand overhaul. I revamped Justin’s previous landing page to one with a bit more depth, and one that told his story more fluidly. You can check out his new website here.
For anyone who doesn’t know Justin’s game, I created video highlights on the home page and his Journey page, which will allow kids to see some of Justin’s spectacular moments.
I created a looping video of his training sessions so prospective players can get a glimpse into his philosophy.
Next we had to get his social media presence to reflect his brand. Here’s a snapshot of his Facebook page. Visit his actual Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages to see the brand in action. For Instagram, I created a highlight circle with a highlight reel from his career, so people can see the same spectacular moments as if they were watching them live with commentary.
For his banner imagery, I wanted to hint at the clubs he’s represented, while maintaining that professional clean, athletic look. His slogan “Train Like A Pro.” was easy to work with. I used colors from 4 of his squads, Chicago Fire, USMNT, Philadelphia Union, and Montreal Impact for the color scheme. These colors are also littered in his website as well as accents.
The business cards rounded us out. Staying with that black/white look, I wanted people to feel impressed and confident when they were handed Justin’s card.
My dream of becoming a professional soccer player didn’t happen. Yet, beyond my soccer skills, I found my love for design. And through both of those passions, I get to work with incredible people like Justin.
Here’s a look at the other option for Justin’s brand. I was a huge fan of both, but I know we went with the right direction. I guess it’s a good thing when both ideas you know will work!
Do you have any graphic design needs?
We should talk. Send me a message and let's get in the ring.
- Keep punching.