As an agency it's not very often you get the chance to create a brand and then revisit it over the years. Fortunately for us, we’ve been able to work with Minnesota United FC through every step of their journey—from the 2013 rebrand and NASL days to the MLS pitch and inaugural season. It’s a brand we truly love, so when we were asked to join the team working on the design for Allianz Field we jumped at the chance to be a part of the next moment in the team’s history.
When we were brought in, the project team was getting into the finishing touches of the stadium’s design. Over the course of three months, we worked closely with Populous and the team’s front office to design the wayfinding and signage system for their beautifully architected new home, while looking for ways to infuse the Loon's brand across the stadium experience.
Everyone could tell from the renderings that the stadium was going to be a statement piece, and our work needed to support that (it deserved more than a bolt-on application of some signage). The sweet spot we wanted to hit was exploring how the DNA of the team’s branding could be remixed to create something fresh—grounded in the core elements of the brand but unique at the same time. We formed a team with Populous’s graphic designers and explored different visual treatments, like frosted plexiglass to mimic snow, undulating metal mesh to mimic water, and various lighting techniques to tie into the exterior of the stadium.
We ultimately landed on a concept inspired by the dynamism of the team crest. By folding sheets of metal, and giving the inside folds a hit of blue, we created structures that mimicked a scarf or a ribbon. This provided a really great foundation for us to build the entire signage system.
There was an honesty to the materials that we really liked; just well-placed applications of paint and metal. For the section signage in the concourse, we painted directly onto the structural columns. The gate pylons and corner concourse signage are some of our favorite pieces where the folding scarf theme really came through.
For more straightforward applications like room plaques and wall signage, we created the illusion of folding and depth by using materials with different thicknesses layered on top of one another.
Over bathroom doors, we painted massive blue stripes for high visibility from a distance. The folding concept was applied to the food and drink stands as well and provides a nice backdrop for each stand’s branding.
We designed an iconography system based on the forms used in the crest and used the team’s brand typography throughout for restaurant and informational signage, section numbers, and the scoreboard. We even designed a custom game clock to boot. The manual scoreboard and analog clock are a nice homage to the days at NSC in Blaine.
We couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out and can’t wait to enjoy Allianz Stadium for years to come. We felt the excitement leading up to the home opener and it has been so cool see it all in action. Big thanks to the team at Populous and of course MNUFC for the years of partnership. We can’t imagine a better way to punctuate this chapter of our history together.