North star, northern lights: CanPL unveils its league branding By Steven Sandor Posted on April 27, 2018 2 0 1,050 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Roy Nasrallah, the marketing director for the nascent Canadian Premier League, is, well, giddy. His grin is stretched wide. He greets me not with a handshake, but with a hug. And, when he talks about the national first division, set to kick off in the spring of 2019, he doesn’t refer to it as a business. It’s a “movement.” When the Canadian Premier League’s new logo is displayed on the boardroom screen at the CanPL’s Toronto offices, Nasrallah describes it like he’s seeing it for the first time. It’s like he’s unpacking a gift on Christmas morning. But, unlike many logos we see in sports, the CanPL brand doesn’t need a lot of explanation. The north star is placed atop a maple leaf. The symbolism is obvious. The primary version of the logo, publicly unveiled Friday, isn’t well, red. (I had a chance to preview it last week during a visit to Toronto; the info was embargoed until the official release date.) Nasrallah says the north star is the “guiding light for talent in Canada.” The star breaks up the maple leaf into three distinct sections, which reflects that Canada is a cultural mix of ethnic and Indigenous groups. There are three colours in the main logo; the dark sky — representing Canada’s long nights — is the root of the dark blue. The light blue shows that the CanPL wants to unite Canadians from coast to coast to coast (this is a nation that touches three oceans). And the green, well, the first thought is that it’s a soccer pitch. But the primary logo’s colours are also influenced by the greenish hues of the Northern Lights. But, like the MLS shield, teams in the CanPL will be able to sport logos customized to their team colours. As well, there will be an alternate red version. That version will be worn by teams on Canada Day weekend, or when CanPL teams make it to the semis or the final of the Voyageurs Cup. If a CanPL teams makes it to the CONCACAF Champions League, it will also sport the red “national” logo. There will also be a gold logo, but that can’t be used until 2020. You guessed it, that logo will be used exclusively by the defending league champs. Nasrallah says he hopes that the logo shows that the CanPL will be “speaking the community language.” It might not be what supporters expected; it hints at darkness, at cold, about the bright things that twinkle in the night. But, for a league that’s trying to bring Canadian soccer professionalism out of the darkness and towards that light at the end of the tunnel, the symbolism might just be perfect.