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Leeds United want your badge designs for free

The club opened up new badge submissions to fans, but the devil’s in the details

Horse Racing - Summer Music Evening - Southwell Racecourse Photo by John Walton - EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

So last week Leeds revealed a new “badge” to the horror of fans and well, almost everyone. There was significant outcry, and even an MP got involved. Hours after the club revealed the new badge, the club backpedaled and soon announced that they would be “reconsidering” the badge design.

The powers that be at Leeds United seem to have learned from last week’s new badge disaster, and are now opening it up so that fans can submit their designs. Or have they learned?

Per the club’s official website:

We would like to thank our loyal fan base for the overwhelming engagement on the future of the club crest.

We have seen a great number of designs and ideas, and to ensure every fan can have their say, we are calling on supporters to share your inspiration for the new crest via email at: crest@leedsunited.com

Using your ideas as inspiration, a small shortlist of refined designs will be chosen by fan panels and then go to a democratic vote amongst all our Season Ticket Holders and Members on Wednesday 21st February, with our new crest announced by the end of the month.

We remain committed to working with you to create an identity that we can all be proud of for the 2018-19 season and beyond.

* Supporters understand that by submitting creative, this will become the intellectual property of Leeds United. To read the full T&C’s (section 10) please click HERE.

The club consulting fans is a good thing. Not bothering to listen to what fans want is what got the club in trouble in the first place. I’m unsure if putting a couple designs out for a vote is necessarily the answer, because if there’s anything to be learned from recent political events, it’s that holding a vote rarely makes people who are on the losing end of a vote totally okay with the result. But that’s not the worst part of this “fan consultation.”

The devil is, as always, in the details. The problematic phrase comes after the asterisk: “Supporters understand that by submitting creative, this will become the intellectual property of Leeds United.”

What.

Oh, and if you click the “Here” it brings up this little nugget.

By submitting any materials in connection with the Club’s crest via the email address (crest@leedsunited.com) or otherwise, you agree that any and all comments, messages, postings, data, suggestions, creative ideas, designs, concepts, product suggestions or other materials (including the intellectual property in such works or materials) submitted or offered to Leeds United (“Submissions”) shall be treated as non-confidential and not proprietary to you and shall become, and remain, Leeds United property to be used for its marketing, promotional, branding and commercial purposes, and without payment, royalty or other consideration. Your participation in, or disclosure of, any Submission provides Leeds United with the permission to edit, alter, copy, exhibit, publish, or distribute the Submission for any lawful purpose. You warrant that the Submission is original and has not been copied wholly or substantially from any other designs or works and that the use or reproduction of the Submission will not infringe the copyright or any other intellectual property rights of any third party. You waive the right to inspect or approve the finished product where the Submission appears. By your Submission, you confirm that you (i) have read and understand the above terms and (ii) are at least 18 years of age, or, if under 18 years of age, have obtained the consent of your parents / guardians.

(emphasis added)

So after the club spent money on the awful original rebranding, they now want fans to submit their own designs for free, and to agree to not get paid for their work.

I know most people look at the stuff that talented people like @ellandread have done and think it’s easy or simple to do. It’s not. And for a multi-million pound business like Leeds United to offer absolutely nothing, not even credit, in return for a design for something as iconic as the badge? That’s not right.

Leeds fans pay some of the highest ticket prices in England, much less the Championship. Fans shell out money for new kits, training gear, scarves, etc. Is it too much to ask that a fan who designs a crest that will be worn by thousands of people, stuck on the side of Elland Road, and will represent Leeds United to the world be given some form of compensation and/or recognition? I don’t think it is. Andrea Radrizzani hasn’t done a lot of things wrong since taking over the club, but this remains an own-goal of public relations. The club needs to fix this, and do it the right way and pay the man (or woman) his (or her) money for the winning design.