In the spring of 2015, I started creating flag designs for every MLS team. Here are the current flags of MLS, and a few variant designs I made too.
Chicago gets a saltire inspired by the firefighter symbol from their crest, along with the 6 points referencing the stars from Chcago’s city flag.
The Rapids’ flag was an easy decision, simply use the mountains from the crest. This was recreated and simplified slightly, and then set on the maroon color from the crest. This is inspired by the flag of Denver featuring the Rocky Mountains.
This is directly inspired by the new crest. I took the design from it, recreated both patterns, and set them together. The angle is less steep owing to the 2:3 ratio of these flags instead of the 45 degree slant in the crest.
DC have always used an eagle crest with red and black colors. Even their latest revision keeps these simple principles. For this flag, I used their second crest which was replaced in time for the 2016 MLS season. This flag is very Albanian to me, but that’s not a bad thing. Eagle, red, black, DC United.
FC Dallas went through several revisions, the one above being the second design made. For FCD, I went with hoops in the red and blue from the crest. Dallas has been the most iconic user of hoops in MLS for years, and it works nicely. I used the diagonal to try and divide the two colors while still leaving a good amount white. Initially, the two colors were offset, shown below.
I honestly keep going back and forth between which of these I actually prefer, and going from feedback, reception is also around 50-50.
Houston went through four major redesigns before I got to this final flag. Houston is transitioning away from sky blue as an alternate color in favor of orange and white, and this flag incorporates that. It’s also based on the flag of Houston with its large centered star. This flag was updated from a prior design with railroad and runway imagery. Much better design.
LA’s flag is based on the crest and kits, incorporating the navy sash along with the star from the crest, where all the colors come from. I’m proud of this one.
For me, the Impact’s flag was an easy decision. I could have gone a more Quebecois route, but that black and blue bar jersey is too nice a design to pass up. The fleur-de-lis gives it that distinct French-Canadian flair.
The flag of New England has finally been finished after a major false start. This combines the crest and the New England flag, for something distinctly Revs.
New York City FC
I had an idea in mind for NYCFC as I began this project, to incorporate 5 boroughs symbolism around a center focal point. The 5 segments are all exactly 72 degree slices, and the icon in the center is inspired by old NYC subway tokens. 5 points converging on one. Reception varied wildly, leading to two alternate takes based more on the New York borough flags and a simplified crest.
New York Red Bulls
For the Red Bulls, after a few less than satisfying ideas, I settled on a hyperminimalist take on the Red Bull branding, the star from the Metrostars era (with a point for each borough), and the long standing red and blue jerseys. Colors lifted from the crest.
I also made two MetroStars designs (because Red Bull ruined something great and maybe there’s a chance). The first featured a pentagon cutout taken from subway tokens, which was replaced with the Red Bull flag’s star after MLS’s Armchair Analyst (TM) Matt Doyle made a recommendation. He was right.
Orlando took me the longest, until I really thought about the heavy Brazilian influence on the team. That gave me all I needed. This flag is based on the design of Brazil’s flag, in Orlando purple and gold and with the lion front and center. I quite like this one.
Philadelphia was another easy decision. The home kits have been navy and gold for some time, and the snake icon from the badge is so well designed with so much historical significance that it made for a very nice design. Only two colors needed for this. It also references Philadelphia’s city flag.
For Portland, I was very much so inspired by the secondary crest (now used as the primary in 2016!) and home jerseys. Green, yellow, an axe, a chevron. Very distinctly Timbers, while remaining simple and clean.
Real Salt Lake
Salt Lake’s focal point is the crown from the crest, which has been used increasingly in kit designs. The backdrop is the claret and cobalt colors from the crest. Simple and distinct.
San Jose Earthquakes
There were several possibilities for San Jose, but I decided to recreate the fault line design from the new crest. The black and blue are lifted directly from the redesign, and while I wanted to incorporate a touch of red somewhere, I could never find a use for it that I really liked. This one might get a new variant.
I allowed myself just one nordic cross design, and since I couldn’t think of a better idea for Seattle, they were the lucky winner (thanks to a large Nordic immigrant population!). The colors and Space Needle silhouette are direct from the crest. Distinct enough to be recognizable, yet simple enough for a flag.
Sporting’s flag is entirely inspired by the crest, with two shades of blue bars and the SC symbol which doesn’t get nearly enough usage. Normally I’m against lettering, but it’s stylized and simplified and looks really nice.
Toronto get the most complicated design. I wanted to incorporate the academy logo, but I also wanted to reference the flag of Canada which is a major part of the TFC identity. This, I feel, combines both in a way that is both distinctly Canadian and relevant to Toronto FC. Sorry about the un-Canadian proportions, Canada, but I prefer 2:3 to 1:2.
As I was working on the Rapids’ flag, I got the idea to do a similar thing for Vancouver. We see the three mountains from the top of the crest in the two colors used for mountains there. The navy backdrop is also from the crest.
I have notes and drafts for Atlanta United, Minnesota United (pending MLS decision), and LAFC. Once MLS gives concrete dates on who is joining when, along with final branding being released, I’ll have them finished and part of this gallery.
I also am currently finalizing a deal with a company to make decals of all the designs you see here! Once they’re ready and released, you’ll be able to buy them right from the gallery!