Athletic Bilbao is the only football club that only accepts Basque players. It represents the Basque Country, a unique region spanning the south of France and Spain. This autonomous community is not absorbed in Spanish culture: it has its language and traditions. The Athletic Bilbao team also doesn’t want to be absorbed. This policy is reflected in the motto “Con cantera y aficion, no hace falta importacion.”
Meaning and History
The club’s emblem includes regional symbols, which is another side of its patriotism. It reflects the opposition to the regime of the dictator Francisco Franco, which suppressed any manifestation of the national identity of the Basques. Caudillo ruled the state from 1939 to 1975, which did not affect the visual identification of Athletic Bilbao.
1901 – 1903
In the first emblem, the designers combined a soccer ball and the initials “AC” (at first, the Athletic Bilbao was called Athletic Club), artistically decorating the letters. In doing so, they used three colors: blue, gold, and white.
1903 – 1910
Over time, the monogram has changed, and the ball has become a rondel surrounded by a blue and white belt.
1910 – 1912
When coach Juan Elorduy was traveling across England, he saw the red and white uniform of Southampton Football Club. Impressed, Juan decided to use these colors on the Athletic Bilbao emblem, especially since they were on the Basque Country flag.
The main element is a pennant with red and white horizontal stripes. In the corner, next to the flagpole, are the intertwined letters “CA.”
1912 – 1922
The second version of the pennant logo contains a large brown soccer ball.
1917 – 1922
In 1917, the first Athletic Bilbao emblem appeared with regional symbols. At the top of the triangular shield are the Guernica oak, the San Antón Bridge, and the Church of St. Anton. They are enclosed in a blue frame with five-pointed stars, which, together with the white and red vertical lines in the lower half of the shield, resembles the US flag.
1922 – 1930
In 1922, a modern graphic sign prototype was presented: a triangular shield with a wide white frame, two crosses, and the inscription “ATHLETIC CLUB BILBAO.” Basque symbols have not disappeared anywhere – having appeared in 1917; they never left the emblem.
1922 – 1936
The 1917-1922 logo has returned, only now it features a rectangular shield with a round base. The red and white horizontal lines are wider, and the black “CA” monogram has been increased.
The main symbols of the club (two wolves and the Bilbao architectural landmarks) are located inside a blue circle, which, in turn, is located in the center of a red and white triangular shield with a pattern of vertical stripes.
1930 – 1941
The 1922 logo is back. It looks the same as in the original, only the oak crown is now green, and the bridge and cathedral are brown.
1941 – 1942
The dictator Francisco Franco banned sports organizations from using foreign names, so the football club was forced to change its name to Athletico Bilbao, which was reflected in its logo. The lettering and outlines are in gold; the background behind the Basque symbols is in blue.
1942 – 1970
The designers have simplified the graphic again by returning black outlines and making the background white. The “Athletico Bilbao” font has also changed slightly.
1970 – 1973
When the Francisco Franco regime came to an end, the club regained its former name and again reflected it on the logo. Not without radical minimalism: Basque symbols are depicted schematically, using simple black lines.
1973 – 1980
The new version of the logo is identical to the one used in 1942-1970, except for the blue triangle and a slight offset of the red and white lines.
1980 – 1983
The outlines are gold, the Basque symbols are black, and the background behind them is blue.
1983 – 1995
There have been slight changes in the color palette. It is more varied, although all shades are light.
1995 – today
In the current logo, the outlines are black, and the background is completely white.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The team openly demonstrates their nationality by using the emblem depicting the Basque symbols: Guernica oak, Church of St. Anton, and San Antón Bridge. The tree embodies the Basque country’s autonomy, and the architectural features are among the landmarks of Bilbao. Two wolves are painted next to the oak tree, taken from the city coat of arms. The two crosses on the shield, in turn, are borrowed from the coat of arms of the province of Biscay, the administrative center of which is Bilbao.
The phrase “ATHLETIC CLUB” is written in an even sans serif font. A characteristic feature is a shortened stroke in the center of the letter “E.” The word “BILBAO” is in the lower corner of the shield, which is heavily deformed. Basic colors: red, white, black, gray, several shades of green, and a rich brown palette.