Umbro logo history and evolution: A symbol of British sportswear and style

Umbro Logo

The Umbro logo is a highly recognisable symbol in the British sportswear landscape. Like many athletic emblems, the design is simple, but powerful, designed to transcend boundaries and capture attention across a range of mediums. But, how much do you know about Umbro logo history?

Since first launching in the early 1900s, Umbro has made a number of subtle changes to its logo design, ensuring it can continue to resonate with an evolving customer base. Though the symbol has a lot in common with other sneaker brand logos, it also has various unique elements. 

Today, we’re going to take you on a journey through Umbro logo history, looking at the origins of the diamond-shaped emblem, and the meaning behind the symbol. 

What is the origin of the name Umbro?

Before we dive into Umbro logo history, let’s take a moment to discuss the well-known athletic brand. Umbro is a sports equipment and apparel manufacturer, based in the United Kingdom. They specialise in football and rugby clothing, featuring the “double diamond” logo. 

Initially, the company was launched by Harold and Wallace Humphreys in 1920. The business began life at the family’s pub, and the two brothers worked out of a small cupboard for a while, before eventually moving to a workshop of their own. 

Inspired by the increasing interested in football nationwide, the pair wanted to create an iconic athletics brand, ready to showcase on FC uniforms around the country. In 1924, the brand changed the name to “Umbro”. 

The name is a portmandeu of “um” from Humphreys, and “bro” for brothers. Umbro started to gain significant attention in 1934, when they designed the sports kit for Manchester City and Portsmouth, for the FA Cup final. Since then, the brand has created clothing for a range of teams. 

In 1952, the Summer Olympics British team even wore their own Umbro kits, tailored specifically for the needs of their individual sports. Umbro went on to supply the kits for the British Olympics team for another 20 years after this. 

As the years passed, Umbro continued to expand, supplying kits to teams from across the globe, including Brazil. Umbro even became the official sports manufacturer of the English FA Cup. 

Umbro logo history: The evolution

Since its launch in 1920, Umbro has updated its logo a handful of times. However, the company has retained a few core elements. For instance, throughout Umbro logo history, the emblem has always featured the elongated diamond shape

Additionally, though Umbro has experimented with different colour palettes, the official logo is generally presented just in black and white. 

Umbro Logo

1924

The original Umbro logo, first created when the company chose its new name in 1924, included the famous diamond, or rhombus shape. It was a simple logo, with a retro-style script font in the centre, surrounded by quotation marks on both sides. 

Umbro Logo

1930

In 1930, Umbro modernised its symbol with a more unique, abstract design. The diamond shape remained, but it was now filled entirely in black, with the word “Umbro” designed to fill most of the shape. The script was changed to a custom sans-serif typeface

The design was somewhat fun and quirky, but also had a bold and confident appearance, demonstrating the company’s continued growth in the athletic space. 

Umbro Logo

1960

30 years later, Umbro updated its logo yet again, with a relatively subtle change. The overall image remained mostly the same. However, the Umbro symbol now featured a much larger, thicker black border around the wordmark. 

This design stayed with the company for almost 15 years. 

Umbro Logo

1974

The 1970s were a turning point for Umbro’s logo design team. In 1974, the company introduced the iconic “double diamond” symbol for the first time. The wordmark was removed entirely to begin with, showcasing just the two rhombus shapes. 

Umbro Logo

1980

By 1980, Umbro had brought its wordmark back to its logo, this time choosing a very different typeface. The glyphs in the font are positioned very close together, giving the design a somewhat strong and confident appearance. 

Each letter was presented in lowercase, making the company appear more modern, friendly, and accessible. The wordmark was placed just beneath the double-diamond symbol. 

Umbro Logo

1992

Once again, in 1992, Umbro refined its logo, focusing primarily on the design of the wordmark. The lowercase letters were switched for larger, bolder uppercase alternatives. The spacing between the characters was also extended slightly, to improve legibility. 

Umbro Logo

1999

The update to the Umbro logo in 1999 was quite subtle. The diamond shape appears flatter, with sharpened points on the bottom and top, and rounded edges on the sides. 

The lettering was also slightly lighter, and each character was spaced even further apart, improving the balance between the symbol and the wordmark. 

Umbro Logo

2008

In 2008, Umbro decided to remove the wordmark from its name again, focusing just on the double diamond design. The diamond was extended again, closer to its original proportions. However, the edges of the shape were softened and rounded. 

Umbro Logo

2013

2013 marked the return of the Umbro wordmark again. This time, the company used a font similar to its 1980s design, returning to lowercase characters. In this variation, however, the letters are much slimmer, aiding in the legibility of the design.

What does the Umbro logo mean?

The Umbro logo consists of two primary elements today, the iconic double diamond symbol, and the company wordmark. The wordmark is a reference to the origins of the company, highlighting the “Humphrey Brothers” who created the brand. 

The diamond shape, which has evolved with the company throughout the decades, appears to be a symbol of excellence and strength. In shape psychology, diamonds are often used to represent quality and affluence. However, the Umbro diamond is unique.

Unlike most diamonds, which feature equal proportions, the Umbro symbol is wider and shorter, giving it a more abstract geometric appearance. 

The Umbro logo: Fonts and colors

At a glance, the Umbro logo might seem relatively simple. There are no particularly complex elements to this symbol, but that’s part of what makes the design so compelling. 

The Umbro symbol is strong and confident, showcasing sophistication and excellence in the sporting world. The double diamond shape is now instantly recognisable in locations all around the world, thanks in large part to Umbro’s sponsorship deals with athletic teams. 

If you want to take a closer look at the Umbro logo, you can find some resources below:

What color is the Umbro logo?

Though many parts of the Umbro logo have been updated and refined over the years, the official Umbro logo colors have remained relatively consistent. The company has always produced its logo in a simple combination of black and white.

This timeless and versatile color palette represents power and professionalism, as well as highlighting the modernity of the brand. Notably however, the Umbro logo color palette has been altered a handful of times for different marketing and product purposes. 

Versions of the Umbro logo exist in various shades of blue, red, and even purple in some cases.

What font does the Umbro logo use?

Throughout Umbro logo history, the typeface used by the company has evolved almost consistently. The company experimented with the Umbro logo font more than any other element in their visual identity.

Today, the design features heavy, masculine lettering, in lowercase. 

The modern, geometric sans-serif font looks simple and powerful. Though the typeface is unique to the brand, it’s similar in some ways to Nuno Extended Extra Bold and Sequel Sans Display Heavy. 

The Umbro symbol: British sportswear redefined

Looking at Umbro logo history, we can see the sportswear brand has refined and enhanced its visual identity a number of times over the years. However, many aspects of the Umbro symbol have remained consistent, allowing the brand to develop strong equity in its space. 

Today, the Umbro double diamond logo is one of the most recognisable symbols in the sporting world, particularly across the football and rugby sectors in the United Kingdom. 

This powerful and memorable logo showcases a company committed to excellence, innovation, and modernity. 

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Stephen Peate
Creative director
Stephen Peate
Creative director
As Fabrik’s creative director, Stephen oversees complex branding programmes. He advises our clients on their tone of voice, creates logos and visual identities and crafts names for companies, products and services. Writing for Brand Fabrik Stephen reflects his love for logo design and visual identity.

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