Royal Arsenal's first crest, unveiled in 1888, featured three cannons viewed from above, pointing northwards, similar to the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich. These can sometimes be mistaken for chimneys, but the presence of a carved lion's head and a cascabel on each are clear indicators that they are cannons. This was dropped after the move to Highbury in 1913, only to be reinstated in 1922, when the club adopted their first single-cannon crest, featuring an eastward-pointing cannon, with the club's nickname, The Gunners, inscribed alongside it; this crest only lasted until 1925, when the cannon was reversed to point westward and its barrel slimmed down. In 1949, the club unveiled a modernized crest featuring the same style of cannon, the club's name set in blackletter above the cannon, the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Islington and a scroll inscribed with the club's newly adopted Latin motto, Victoria Concordia Crescit (meaning "victory comes from harmony"), coined by Harry Homer, the club's programme editor. For the first time, the crest was rendered in colour, which varied slightly over the crest's lifespan, finally becoming red, gold and green
Because of the numerous revisions of the crest, Arsenal were unable to copyright it. Although the club had managed to register the crest as a trademark, and had fought (and eventually won) a long legal battle with a local street trader who sold "unofficial" Arsenal merchandise, Arsenal eventually sought a more comprehensive legal protection. Therefore, in 2002 they introduced a new crest featuring more modern curved lines and a simplified style, which was copyrightable. The cannon once again faces east and the club's name is written in a sans-serif typeface above the cannon. Green was replaced by dark blue. The new crest received a critical response from some supporters; the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association claimed that the club had ignored much of Arsenal's history and tradition with such a radical modern design, and that fans had not been properly consulted on the issue.
For much of Arsenal's history, their home colours have been bright red shirts with white sleeves and white shorts, though this has not always been the case. The choice of red is in recognition of a charitable donation from Nottingham Forest, soon after Arsenal's foundation in 1886. Two of Dial Square's founding members, Fred Beardsley and Morris Bates, were former Forest players who had moved to Woolwich for work.
As they put together the first team in the area, no kit could be found, so Beardsley and Bates wrote home for help and received a set of kit and a ball. The shirt was redcurrant, a dark shade of red, and was worn with white shorts and blue socks.
In 1933 Herbert Chapman, wanting his players to be more distinctly dressed, updated the kit, adding white sleeves and changing the shade to a brighter pillar box red.
The first was 1964, when Arsenal wore all-red shirts; this proved unpopular and the white sleeves returned the following season. The second was 2005–06, the last season that Arsenal played at Highbury, their first season in the stadium; the club reverted to their normal colours at the end of the 2005–06 season.
Arsenal's home colours have been the inspiration for at least three other clubs. In 1909, Sparta Prague adopted a dark red kit like the one Arsenal wore at the time; in 1938, Hibernian adopted the design of the Arsenal shirt sleeves in their own green and white strip. These teams still wear these designs to this day.
Arsenal's away colours are traditionally yellow and blue, but there have been exceptions. They wore a green and navy away kit between 1982 and 1984, and since the early 1990s and the advent of the lucrative replica kit market, the away colours have been changed regularly. Currently the away kit is changed every season.
Arsenal have had shirt sponsorship since the 1980s, with sponsors including JVC (1982–1999), Sega (1999–2002), O2 (2002–2006) and current sponsors Emirates (from 2006). Arsenal's shirts have been made by a variety of manufacturers, including Umbro (from the 1970s until 1986), Adidas (1986–1994), and since 1994 they have been made by Nike. Like most other major football clubs.