The Barcelona club crest is one of the most famous images in football, but its origins are not widely known.
The badge represents Barcelona’s deep history, but it has often been misinterpreted and left fans asking questions, mainly “Why is the English flag on the Barcelona badge?”
Here’s the truth behind the Barcelona badge.
The Foot-Ball Club Barcelona was founded in November 1899 when the Swiss Hans Gamper (better known as Joan in Catalonia) sent an invitation to form a football team. A handful of locals joined, as did Englishmen John and William Parsons.
From the start, this club simply used the Barcelona coat of arms as a badge – a rhombus with sections divided between the Catalan bars of Aragon and the cross of St. George. Saint George is the patron saint of England and Barcelona, so his presence on the club’s crest actually has nothing to do with the Parsons’ early involvement.
In 1910 the first designs for an exclusive crest were submitted. It was a stylish shield which replaced the rhombus but still incorporated both the cross and the Catalan colours, alongside the introduction of the blue and red stripes in the lower half of the badge which represented the color of the first kits of the ‘team. In the center were the letters FCB – Football Club de Barcelona.
Barcelona have tweaked this format over the years but never made any major switches. In 1920 changes were made to the shape of the shield and the strength of the colours, with FCB now written on a yellow background. 16 years later, it would go black.
Then, in 1941, Barcelona went through a kind of identity crisis. FCB became CFB, and in 1949 it became C.de FB, for Club de Futbol Barcelona.
The CFB returned in 1960, with some minor cosmetic tweaks, before the famous FCB was brought back in 1974. A few more tweaks were made and a badge was produced in 1975 which would be retained until 2002.
With a new millennium upon the club, Barcelona chose to modernize its design in 2002, handing over the keys to designer Claret Serrahima. It brought us what we know today – a clean, simple design with minimal accents on the shield and no dots in the abbreviated letters. It’s FCB.
As a club very proud of its identity, Barcelona have done their best to retain their traditional logo wherever possible.
They announced plans to update the design for the 2019/20 season, including the removal of the initials and the stripe in the middle of the shield, but these have since been scrapped.
It is expected that Barcelona will update their logo in the near future. They wanted to come back in 2018 but didn’t follow through, but what that proves is that the desire to introduce change is there.