Galatasaray is a yellow and red Istanbul club, created based on the high school of the same name in 1905. The greatest philosophers, diplomats, prime ministers, and viziers were educated in this educational institution. And within its walls, student Ali Sami Yen founded a football team that expanded its influence until it became the most successful in Turkey.
The word “Galatasaray” literally means “Galata Palace.” At first, this was the name of a medieval Genoese fortress located in the Karaköy shopping district (formerly Galata).
Meaning and History
The first emblem of the club was drawn by Şevki Ege, known as student number 333. He depicted a flying eagle with wide-spread wings. The bird was holding a soccer ball in its beak. But this graphic sign did not find support from the general public. The second symbol became more popular – an abstract one containing the Arabic letters “gayn” and “šin.” It became the basis for the modern monogram logo.
1905 – 1923
The original emblem with the letters “gayn” and “šin” was adopted at the Galatasaray’s fourth meeting. Its author is a talented student Ahmet Ayatullah, who published and illustrated Kara Kedi himself. The archive of his pencil drawings contained an abstraction: a figure consisting of the first letters of the words “Galata” and “Saray” (in Arabic).
Both the management of the club and its members liked the sketch. After minor revisions, the sketch became the official coat of arms of Galatasaray. It looked unusual: the round part of the yellow “šin” was in the lower half of the red “gayn.”
1923 – 1961
In the 1920s, language reform was carried out, due to which the European alphabet replaced the Arabic alphabet. This is how the “Ghayn-Šin” emblem got a modernized version with the letters “G” and “S.” It echoes the shape of the original: “G” stands for the bottom of “gayn,” and “S” is both the top of “gayn” and the bend of “šin.” The year the club was founded is written in the place where the letters merge: 1905. The monogram is placed in an oval with a wide yellow and black frame.
1961 – 1987
The letters no longer touch the rounded sides, although their position has generally not changed: “S” intersects “G” at the top, and “G” overlaps “S” at the bottom. The number “1905” has been reduced, the outline of the oval is thin and black.
1987 – 1993
The letters again fit tightly together, and even the dark outlines do not separate them. The inscription is shifted a little higher: it, as before, is opposite the horizontal stroke “G.” The black line around the oval became even thinner.
1993 – 2000
The designers changed the emblem’s composition, bringing the “G” to the front and leaving a small gap between the lower parts of the letters.
2000 – 2001
The oval disappeared, and the yellow “S” turned orange. Two five-pointed stars appeared above the monogram because Galatasaray had already won 10 football championships by that time.
2002 – 2018
The logo makers brought back the white oval by changing the outline color to blue. Also, they added another star on top to celebrate the club’s new sporting achievements.
2019 – today
In 2019, a fourth star appeared over the monogrammed oval, marking the Turkish football team’s twentieth victory in the championship.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Galatasaray’s second logo, unlike the first one, turned out to be incredibly successful. Even though its structure is very simple: in most versions, the initials and the year of the club’s foundation are presented. At the very beginning, the Arabic letters “gayn” and “šin” were used. After the language reform, the designers changed them to “G” and “S,” trying to keep the monogram’s overall shape. This visual similarity underlines Istanbul’s geographical position, where two cultures collide: Arab (in the east of the Bosphorus Strait) and European (on the west side).
The European version of the monogram contains sans serif letters. They are not specific to any particular font: the designers adapted the “G” and “S” for the Galatasaray logo.
The color scheme is more thoughtful. It includes black (# 000000), white (#FFFFFF), yellow (# FDB912) and red (# A90432). The combination of red and yellow became the club’s official palette back in 1908. It is a reminder of the roses that poet Gül Baba presented to the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II.
Ali Sami Yen himself was responsible for the selection of shades. Before finding the right material for a football uniform, he visited several textile stores: one fabric was deep yellow with an orange touch. The other was dark red, almost cherry.