Dave Clark & His Silver Fern Project

Thursday 31 October 2019, 1:42PM
By Beckie Wright

Dave Clark, in his latest interview, talks about his most ambitious project and how he created the iconic logo for All Blacks that has stood the test of time for 30 years and counting. Interesting as it may seem to be, the design enthusiast first came to New Zealand to play rugby in the All Blacks team, but eventually ended up designing the logo for their jersey.

Dave recounts Andy Hayden, a former New Zealand Rugby player, was the first to notice brand development and commercialisation slowly seeping into the sport culture with US sport teams starting to sell branded merchandise. Picking the idea from there, he approached Clark, who already worked as a freelance designer and illustrator for Hayden then, to design the logo for All Blacks.

“I realised it was an important piece of design work which if done properly, could become a national symbol. I went to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and looked at army uniforms, photos of grave markers and photos of rugby uniforms. I also went to Auckland Zoo and got the chief botanist to show me a silver fern plant and talk me through its features”, Dave exclaims.

The design process that started on a note of optimism and exhilaration soon became a reason for distress and fright. Clark recounts that the silver fern logo, which we see today, was actually a rendition of a design idea, which he created in his sleep. From his open eyes, he missed out on the importance of simplicity which his unconscious mind helped him wrap his head around to, he recites.

The classic silver fern logo was created in the wee hours of the morning, 3am to be precise and took just about two hours to complete. Immediately after finishing the design, Clark knew that the logo would work simply because of its sheer simplicity and elegance. The logo was launched at the New Zealand Rugby Football Union headquarters in Wellington to nation-wide acceptance. It picked up momentum early on and has ever since donned on all sorts of All Blacks merchandising, right from the jersey to the rugby ball itself!

For more information on Dave Clark, his design process and his work heading up top branding agency Dave Clark Design Associates, click here