By Laurence Gale MSc
For some Groundsmen these logos are a looked upon as a necessary evil, they can interfere with pitch preparations, but they also generate some much needed revenue for clubs.
The team I met up with were in the process of marking out a Guinness logo at Gloucester Rugby Club for their weekend Premiership match against London Wasps at the Kingsholm ground. The home side lost a close encounter, 32 -37, watched by thousands of fans on Sky TV.
The logo team have to work very closely with the groundstaff and stadium management because it takes between four and five hours to set up and paint each logo. The timing of the work has to fit in with maintenance and pitch preparations.
The company concerned have worked at most of the Premier football, rugby and cricket venues and have a good relationship with the respective grounds teams. They appreciate their commitment to producing a quality playing surface which is, in fact, critical to the production of a successful logo. Having a good healthy coverage of grass is essential for a good paint job.
The preparation work for the logo is quite detailed. A stencil is produced which is specifically designed for the stadium concerned. The size and angle of lettering and images have to be calculated to ensure the finished logo is in proportion, taking into account the TV camera positions. Each stadium has its own unique camera set up, therefore each logo has to be carefully constructed to produce the desired effect for the sponsor and the club.
Once the stencil has been pegged and stringed out the team begin the process of painting and joining up the markings to form the shape and structure of the logo. Once completed the marked out areas are filled in using coloured paints. All the paints are water-soluble, and easily removed by cutting and/or watering.
The marking of these logos is a part of the industry which is largely taken for granted and overlooked. There is, however, more to it than meets the eye. A lot of skill is involved and, like the groundstaff they work closely with, the logo team are only trying to produce the best they can. It was certainly interesting to watch them in action.
The team undertaking the work at Gloucester were Quintus, a company which has designed and painted logos at Twickenham, the Stade de France and the Millennium Stadium.