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All You Need Is Word

This isn't that important, probably not that interesting either, but it's been bothering me for a while. A major deficiency of mine is that I tend to get hung up on irrelevant minutiae even when I shouldn't. Couple that with some mild OCD and you'll find me wasting time on a fruitless endeavour, "just because". This weekend I spent several minutes designing the Steaua Bucharest logo in Microsoft Word. 

Steaua Bucharest, by the way, is now known as FCSB. Romania's biggest football (soccer) club has been reduced to an acronym as a result of legal wrangling over trademarks and dues.

You see, Steaua Bucharest, like pretty much every other team in Europe, isn't just a football club. They are a sporting association under whose umbrella you'll find basketball, water polo or weightlifting teams. The club was originally established as the sporting branch of the military, much like the Russians and Bulgarians have their CSKA teams, or the Serbs with FK Partizan.  Communist football history notwithstanding, the symbol and crest fold into the club's palmares, that is, their achievements over time. The hardcore fans take it all very seriously, particularly Romanians (or dare I say, Europeans) who don't mess around with tradition. In Steaua's case, this includes the 1987 European Champions Cup and numerous league trophies.

More recently, however, somebody at Steaua realized that when owner, former sheep herder, marketing exec, director of football and jailbird extraordinaire, Gigi Becali, purchased the football club, he didn't pay the Steaua sporting association any dues for their crest. Fifteen years on, he's even less willing to pay. "No problem," he said, "I'll design my own crest!" And he fired up the laptop in his Jilava jail cell/design studio, started up Word, and five minutes later, Romania's biggest football club had a new logo*.


But that wasn't enough. The team also needed a new name. "Easy!" Gigi bawled into the phone from his cell to the PR team via conference call, "Do I have to pay anyone if we use FCSB? No? FCSB it is. Băăă, bagă FCSB că aşa am zis eu!"


                                         (Actual screenshot of Gigi Becali's design on Microsoft Word**)


The outcome was more or less what you'd expect. The die-hard fans abandoned the football team in favour of the Steaua basketball club, while Romanian designers gouged their eyes out upon gazing at Gigi's masterpiece. Steaua Bucharest football club was no more. Along with it was gone any shred of dignity that Romanian designers had worked hard to cultivate.

Here is what the design looks like:

- The logo of a Hermetic cult
- An air force roundell for a fictional Second World War nation
- A medieval shield

- A Microsoft Word design

Indeed, it turns out it's entirely possible to design it all on Word. It makes you wonder, just a bit, when the country's biggest sporting club and European ambassador on the pitch, puts this much effort into their logo design; What can you really expect from people who do marketing, branding, and design in this Romania? Maybe it's harsh to judge the country on this one particular travesty, but there are discerning eyes out there that will. As I mentioned in the Romanians are Coming post, there are plenty of reasons to be embarrassed by what Romanians do to their own country, and now here is another (mostly if you're a Steaua/FCSB supporter).

PS: Here is what the logo actually looks like ( I refuse to embed the image in here as I don't want to be held responsible for yet more retina damage).


* This is a dramatization, events may not have occurred exactly as depicted in this blog post.
** Not an actual screenshot of Gigi Becali's design



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