Ah, branding for big sporting events. The poisoned chalice of brand design. Working on such a project promises unprecedented visibility of the work, prestige and opportunity that few other logo design projects can. Here’s the U-21 Women’s World Cup design.
On the other hand, thanks to the ever expanding armchair opinion facilitated by social media (see recently Premiership and London 2012) any work will be criticised to within an inch of it’s moire and ridiculed by anyone who can use a smartphone app. Your practise will be called into question “My kid sister could do better” or “it’s just some lines on a page”.
That’s if you’re lucky. The positioning of your geometric shapes might even become the focus of a plagiarism claim like the Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo (side note, the “2s” in the scrapped logo were excellent).
Fifa have released the Women’s Under 20’s world cup logo. It’s by no means their premier event, but they have moved the design over to the pattern that’s been adopted in the men’s full event, of recreating the winners trophy from elements that reflect the country.
This began to some extent in Korea/Japan 2002, took a small turn in Germany (which looks like the logo of a kids soft play centre) but was solidified in the design for Brasil 2014 where weird celebratory marshmallow hands wrapped around the design. Russia continues the theme in the mens event with a Fabergé egg style trophy in rich gold and red.
The women’s variations have been stuck in a template first seen in the men’s South African tournament of 2010 which featured a dark blue arc bottom right topped by a circular emblem (the trophy from Korea/Japan). The main feature has been a custom design with some country like style and colour. The full women’s cup of 2011 (Germany, featuring a football stadium, how exciting) and Canada (2015, a maple leaf, natch) stuck with this and did the U-20’s women in Japan 2012 (origami swan and lots of pink, because, women).
It’s good to see then that both the Women’s game and the U-20’s tournaments are given the same treatment as the full men’s. It’s less good in my opinion that the pattern they follow is that of stereotypical symbology combined with the shape of the trophy.
Both elements feel weak to me. When it comes to sporting events, who’s really bothered about what the trophy looks like? Fifa seem to think we care it seems, as do UEFA who are addicted to representing cups in logos. But do folks even bother to watch the awards ceremony at the end of the World Cup (unless your country won I guess)? What I care about are the games, or events, that’s where the entertainment is. So why representing something that most folks don’t ever focus on becomes key I don’t know.
The second element, using symbology of the nation hosting the event is a tricky one. Folks expect the event to reflect the culture to some extent, but grabbing elements that seem nothing more than popular representations of outdated thoughts of a country feels weak.
Modern countries are changing at a rapid rate. Does the Fabergé style remind me of Russia? Sure. Does it represent a modern Russia? I guess not so.
Papua New Guinea feels well reflected in the statue/flower/leaf design chosen, but does it say a lot about a modern Papua? I doubt it.
I’ve shown a bunch of logos below, mostly from men’s football World Cups so you can see what’s been happening. Some things to note:
- They’re not generally as good as Olympic logos or similar eras or nations
- That West Germany (1974) is very bold.
- Argentina is excellent (1978)
- Mexico 1986 looks like a news logo
- France 1998 sees the inclusion of the “branded” football rather than a generic one
- Korea Japan, first trophy based design
- What was the brief for Germany 2006?
What do you think then? Do you like the trophy template Fifa have adopted? What’s you favourite World Cup or other major event logo?