Identity experiment if I was a soccer brand. Including tone studies.
To celebrate the World Cup I was invited to participate and exhibit at three Galleries; in Vicenza, Italy, Seoul, South Korea & at the prestigious National Football Museum in Manchester, England.
Galleri Summertime - Illustri Festival. Vicenza Italy
We Draw Football - Seoul, South Korea organized by International Art Directors Group.
Playing for a Draw highlights the diversity of football art from illustration, comics and caricatures through to memorabilia and collectables. Curated by renowned British cartoonist Steve McGarry, ‘Playing for a Draw’ showcases a striking range of football strips and drawings, from 19th-century illustrations through to childhood classics such as Roy of the Rovers, as well as the pioneering artists of the present day.
I was commissioned by ESPNFC to illustrate an accompanying illustration for an article on upcoming World Cup stories that focus on off-pitch entertainment.
Thanks to AD Rami Moghadam for the chance to illustrate this.
World Cups have a rich history of colorful opening ceremonies often featuring people on stilts and almost always oversized footballs that open up to reveal its rich content of celebratory riches.
The World Cup will see a host of eclectic celebrations this summer, among them Antoine Griezmann's Video Game inspired "Take The L" dance celebration.
Kits are cool again
Never have football kits had more cross-cultural relevance than now and this World Cup will display some of the best ever kit designs including fan favorites Colombia & Belgium.
The winner is...
Speaking of cool kits. This tournament's clear favorite has been Nigeria's design. The Super Eagle's home kit sold out in a record 3 hours on its debut and has set the internet alight receiving plaudits from fans & players alike. A true masterpiece.
If you're looking to pick a team based on nicknames look no further than Northern Africa featuring Morocco's "Atlas Lions", Nigeria's "Super Eagles", Senegal's "Lions of Teranga" and Tunisia's "Eagles of Carthage" and Egypt's "Pharaohs".
Things that should get the red card
This tournament will be the first ever to feature new instant video replay technology; "VAR", sure to upset some purists and no doubt increase the likelihood of controversy inside the stadiums and across social media.
Managers Most Likely to Lose it
Over the years managers have increasingly become a major attraction as characters on the sideline. This summer you can hang your hat on Argentina's Jorge Sampaoli, whose energetic touchline demeanour is likely to steal the show.
Players who deserve headlines
Australia's 38 year old Tim Cahill has temporarily KO'ed time to feature in his 4th consecutive World Cup showing his resiliancy and importance to the Socceroos.
Who will be the hipster's choice this summer? Egypt & Iceland are likely candidates for obscure and small enough teams to pretend to like and signal your support on social media.
Dave Will was nice enough to invite me, among other illustrators to participate in the MIFA Project - a project of illustrating the players who will go to the World Cup in Russia 2018 but were unfortunately excluded from Panini's World Cup sticker album.
I chose to illustrate one of my favorite players - Germany's Ilkay Gündogan who will go to his first ever World Cup this year.
Animated illustration for Bundesliga on Stefan Kießling's last match for Bayer Leverkusen. The 34 year old striker chose to leave the club this season.
I was commissioned by Josimar Magazine to illustrate the cover for their 200 page World Cup special edition issue. The generous team at Josimar gave me full creative freedom so I really wanted to pour my love for the history of football into this cover. Since the upcoming World Cup will be the 21st installment I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight the previous 20 tournaments spanning 1930 to 2014 and create a tapestry of its significant moments. The issue itself is a retrospective of the World Cup with no direct mention of the upcoming tournament in Russia so to allude to but not directly represent that I used a white/blue/red color scheme and a modified Soviet Style typeface.
With the concept, Josimar were able to add an additional 40 pages of editorial content for print & digital.
Concept & Layout:
Digital communication technology has blasted history wide open, dispersing its individual parts to all corners of the internet. For the first time young people have the chance to learn about history in their own ways on platforms like youtube, twitter, from various listicles, etc. Each learning experience online is like an individual discovery and the user is an archeologist unearthing moments in history to fit the pieces of the whole together. This modular approach to re-interpreting history gave me the idea to represent individual vignettes for each World Cup as something akin to self-contained archetypal events that exist within self-luminous rectangles of computers, tablets and smartphones. The layout is more or less organized chronologically starting with the first World Cup 1930 in the top left corner, reading from left to right and top to bottom culminating in the World Cup 2014 panel on the bottom right.
A re-formatted color version of the cover was created for Italian Illustration Society ILLUSTRI. The presentation of the following icontypes are in their original colored versions.
The Jules Rimet trophy introduced in 1930 was inspired by Nike; the goddess of victory and was subsequently replaced by the current FIFA World Cup trophy in 1974.
The inaugural World Cup took place in Uruguay. The ocean liner SS Conte Verde carried teams & referees across the ocean symbolizing how global the World Cup tradition was about to become. This stamp icontype pays tribute to the voyage of the SS Conte Verde, Uruguay and the idealism of the iconic reaching goalkeeper from the first ever World Cup poster.
The last two World Cups of the pre-war period were won by Italy and both marked by the presence of Mussolini's totalitarian regime. For the 1934 Italy held World Cup Italy's fascist leader Mussolini replaced the official trophy with his own "Coppa del Duce" - a monument depicting individual figures blending into one dark monolith symbolizing state-control.
In 1938 Italy shocked the world in the quarter-final against France when they wore an all black strip that, along with the Roman salutes they did before matches only solidified their fascist allegiance.
The iconic Maracana stadium was built specifically for the tournament hosted by Brazil which had high hopes that it would be the center-piece of their first trophy. On July 16 the hosts took on Uruguay and only had to draw to win the title but it was not meant to be as they lost 2-1 and subsequently the chance to win their first ever World Cup. This moment became Brazil's foundation myth for football to be regarded as a form of romantic destiny and a deeply cultural, historical and spiritual project.
1954 was the first World Cup to be globally televised. The famous Bern clocktower is prominently featured with the final score on the screen. The culmination of the tournament became known as the "Miracle of Bern" for West Germany's upset of tournament favorites Hungary. The rainy weather the day of the final also suited West Germany's players who wore innovative new adidas boots with removable studs that were more adaptive to the conditions that day.
TV was not the first medium to cover the World Cup. Prior to 1954, radios were the primary communication technology and the World Cup has a long history of being documented by new & advancing mediums from radios to smartphones.
France's striker Just Fontaine scored 13 goals in this tournament and to this day holds the record for most goals scored by an individual player in a single tournament. Fontaine managed the feat by scoring in all of France's six matches.
In just the second game of the tournament Brazil lost their star player Pele to injury and ended up missing the remainder of the tournament. Brazil nevertheless still had a talented team including winger Garrincha who stole the show in 1962 with his wondrous dribbling and skill giving Brazil a second consecutive World Cup and cementing their reputation for depth & resiliency & beautiful football.
At this time the World Cup was already a massively anticipated event that carried the narrative weight of a Hollywood movie. The tournament held in England delivered, being full of surprises, upsets and controversies. In a moment that can only be matched by a comedy suspense thriller prior to the tournament the Jules Rimet trophy went missing. After much panic & farce luck would have it as a Border Collie named Pickles discovered it wrapped in paper under a bush in London and became a national hero overnight. This moment symbolized, that with the proliferation of media coverage such 'off-pitch' events would only continue to become just as important to the story of the World Cup as the stars and games on the pitch.
Brazil who went on to win its third World Cup this tournament is remembered for being the greatest national team in World Cup history, playing with flair and superstars including Jairzinho, Rivelino, Carlos Alberto, Tostao, and of course, Pele for the first time on color television. Pele became the first truly global football star of the television age and the first icontype for the Brazilian superstar with flair that would come to define the expectations of all Brazilians who came after.
In the first round against Sweden, Johan Cruyff pulled off a move that was equally bewildering as it was audacious and announced to the world the new icontype of the player/thinker - in his case someone who was the embodiment of the "total football" philosophy that would come to influence Barcelona's youth academy and entice generations of footballers & fans alike with a tactical interest.
At the time of the World Cup Argentina was governed by a brutal military regime. A state sponsored imprisonment, assassination and disappearance campaign referred to as the “Dirty War” became the backdrop of the World Cup.
Argentina went on to win its first World Cup but the tournament was consistently marked by controversy and the players were under immense pressure from the military junta to lift the trophy without having the benefit of historical hindsight of the atrocities that were happening at the same time. 1978 was a reminder that politics and football are never too far apart.
The semi-final between West Germany and France, considered one of the greatest encounters in history is also remembered for one of the most notoriously cynical fouls in World Cup history when German goalkeeper Toni Schumacher charged oncoming French defender Patrick Battiston, flattening him unconscious and knocking his teeth out in the process all without getting booked or France given a penalty. Battiston had to be given oxygen and was rushed to the hospital. Schumacher remained on the pitch tp play a decisive role in helping West Germany win the penalty shoot-out that would send them to the final.
In the quarter-final against England, Argentina captain and at the time the world's best player Diego Maradona jumped over England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and used his hand to redirect a mid-air ball into the goal. Divinity has long graced football narratives but by designating it the "hand of God" in a post-match interview, Maradona ensured that this moment was going to be remembered as the definitive archetype of divine intervention in world football.
Their semi-final against West Germany was England's biggest match since the 1966 final. Throughout the tournament the naturally jovial Paul Gascoigne was England's catalyst for success. In extra time he happened to get booked for a foul which meant it would rule him out of the final should England progress. The disappointment hit him right away and he burst into tears - a moment that forever would be referred to as
Tears of a Clown" and instantly creating the archetype of the tragic jester.
After carrying the team to the final, Italy's playmaker and star player Roberto Baggio missed the decisive penalty in the final against Brazil losing the chance to add a fourth World Cup title to Italy.
The hosts France met Brazil in the final and at the time Brazil's Ronaldo was considered the world's best players carried expectations of a star performance yet it was France's Zinedine Zidane, one of the best playmakers in the world came through at the most critical moment of his and country's history. Uncharacteristically he scored two headed goals to give France its first World Cup title.
One of the most controversial decisions and upsets in the tournament's history occurred when underdog and co-host South Korea met tournament favorites Italy in the knockout round. After a series of controversial decisions the game headed into over time where Ahn Jung-Hwan scores a golden goal that knocked Italy out and sent South Korea through to the quarter-finals. A nation erupted with joy and South Korea's feverish support for the Asian Tigers symbolized a new era of truly global football support. This moment could be seen as the prototypical event of the non-traditional powers rising that would become a recurring theme in the 21st century.
After coming out of retirement France captain Zinedine Zidane led France to another World Cup final. The match ended 1-1 and headed to extra time. After an exchange of verbal provocation with Italian defender Marco Materazzi, Zidane lost his cool and shocked his team and the world by headbutting the Italian in the chest. Zidane was subsequently sent off and Italy went on to beat France in a penalty shoot-out.
Spain achieved their first ever World Cup win with four minutes to go in extra time when Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal. He celebrated by removing his shirt. Underneath he had a white vest with a handwritten tribute to Dani Jarque, a fellow Spanish player and one of Iniesta's friends who died from a heart attack in 2009. The incredible release of emotion by Iniesta matched the equally dramatic climax that was a culmination of decades long of procurement of their own brand of total football called Tiki-Taka which also produced the most dominant run of form for a national team in history between 2007 and 2012.
Germany's reputation has always been one of efficiency but at the end of 2001 after having failed at the previous World Cup and EuroCup The German federation took a deep look at the infrastructure of German football and created a plan to reboot the entire program. Its culmination came in 2014 when 21 year old Mario Götze came off the bench to score in extra time and give Germany its fourth World Cup title. Consequently Germany become the first European team to win the trophy in South America. Götze's goal, much like the federation's decade long plan was audacious, fluid & technically brilliant - all symbolic of the new image Germany reinvented itself with for the 21st Century.
Commissioned by BBC MOTD Magazine to design a pull-out poster of Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.
An ode to my favorite breakout player of 2017.
Continuing to build on this style by creating more complex folds & perspective combinations using my favorite forward of all time; Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima - the original Ronaldo.
Developing a new style. Still playing around with line weights & finding the right balance between fills & strokes.
It's no secret brand identities have to be extremely flexible and universal in the digital age. The methods in which brands achieve universality differ but three particular universal logo trends have emerged that are worth highlighting: 1. Container 2. Grid 3. Amorphous.
The modular logo serves the dual purpose of representing the brand and being an open container. The contemporary consumer is dynamic and his brand interests are always shifting. He is like a nomad wandering around waiting for his interest to be captured in a never-ending sea of brands. From a brand's perspective this is daunting but it also opens up new possibilities to engage the consumer.
Brands have to constantly adapt to the constantly changing and evolving consumption patterns and in an effort to keep the consumer's interest, the modular logo mirrors these consumption patterns. As a brand it's also no longer wise to just remain fixed in its message and representation. Brands need to show consumers they are also flexible, willing to adapt to the times just as the consumer has to. Moreover, since consumption patterns are so heavily determined by digital trends, it's important for brands to offset the barrier of the digital screen by being as authentic as possible. Brand affinity has to be earned.
This type of modular logo can best be described as an open interactive fill-in-the-blank signifier. It's usually designed to have some kind of image-holder that can be used to contain various visual additions. Its appeal is simultaneously its interactivity and ability to change the range with which it can be perceived ensuring a longer-than-usual shelf-life.
L.A.’s Creative Culture and Businesses Logo by 72andSunny
72andSunny's LA Original logo is the modular logo as an open canvas for LA's sprawling creative energy functioning simultaneously as multi-purpose campaign signage and local-economy/tourism booster.
OCAD University by Bruce Mau (BMD)
Inspired by OCAD U’s iconic and transformational Alsop-designed Sharp Centre for Design, BMD created a base of black and white pixel “windows” — modular frames to hold actual student art and design work. Through these ‘windows’ the core of OCAD U is presented — conceptually strong, relevant, diverse, and compelling. “As we push the boundaries of art and design practice, education and research, so too does our new identity, giving the world a window into what we do here,” said Dr. Diamond.
The identity is dynamic and modular in design. Every year, graduating student medal winners will be invited to design a logo within the basic window framework, providing the university with a set of logos for that year. As OCAD U grows and matures, a living library of identities will emerge, recording the ideas and aesthetics that have shaped our culture over time.
— Press Release
MLS by Major League Soccer + Gigunda, Athletics and Berliner Benson
Brand-to-User engagement is especially necessary in the sports world where fans live and die by their support. Apart from creating a bold & ambitious logo that is meant to convey soccer without the traditional cleat & ball, the MLS rebrand is wonderfully aware of the universality of contemporary sports consumption by designating half the space in the logo for user participation. This playfulness + ambiguity perfectly captures the approach to user engagements that make sports so unique.
Moreover, it's flexible enough to be able to take on corresponding club colors and finally achieving a unified look and feel for the entire league and paving the way for American soccer's professionalism for decades to come.
A grid based logo system is able to retain its brand identity through a flexible network of interrelated system of glyphs. More importantly, through various permutations of the grid, it's able to feel the same without having to look the same.
MIT Media Lab by Pentagram
The primary logo mark shows an "M" and an "L" built on a square grid which is flexible enough to support modification for different brand initiatives. Using the same grid, the logo is able to modify itself and house all kinds of letter combinations which are also used by MIT Media Lab's various research labs. The main typeface is built on the same grid and as you can see below, every character (in this case the letter "a") can be modified for endless letter combinations.
The Monier Building by Bleed & Bureau Bruneau
The Monier Building is a brand new construction in Oslo, located in an old historic industrial site. Bleed & Bureau Bruneau developed an identity based on the architecture of the building itself, reproducing the window structures and the perspective of the building as a grid template for the brand to be modifiable.
Perhaps the most controversial of the three types; the amorphous logo is unique because its responsiveness depends entirely on changing either the general shape of the primary logomark or a major component of it. It is also the most literal representation of the fluid and always changing nature of the world right now.
Zocdoc by Wolff Olins
Zocdoc’s promise is to, “give power the patient.” To help Zocdoc deliver on that promise we would have to design from the patient’s perspective. This would be fundamentally different than a healthcare world beset by complexity, bureaucracy and analog legacy systems. At a very simple level, we needed to design a system that had empathy for the patient and that would respond to their needs and emotions. - Wolff Olins Project Page
The brilliance of this rebrand lies not only in capturing "Z' as a primary signifier and tapping into our collective obsession with emojis but in recognizing that the amorphous, ever shifting yellow background blob matches the overall mood/tone of each permutation keeping each one interesting, unique & playful.
Oi by Wolff Olins
Oi is Brazil's largest telecommunications company and for its latest rebrand it employed a design strategy to create a logo that reacts to the sound of the customer's voice. The logo's look depends entirely on the pitch and volume of the customer's voice. What remains is the two-letter logomark in the center ensuring that you're never confused as to the brand while re-enforcing brand affinity through a completely customized interactive experience.
Whereas you could argue this creates a challenge for designers who have to work within the broad brand guidelines and even the possibility that this could annoy customers who want a fixed identity, there's no question about the concept of modular design being pushed to its absolute limit here and may just be a sign of things to come.
Whitney Museum by Experimental Jetset
The lines between a "W" and a zigzag are blurred enough that in its various application this otherwise overly simple design really comes alive and shows that even signifiers like one character can, with thoughtful execution become universal and interactive.
Playing around with animation techniques.
I was commissioned by gumgum to create two spot illustrations & one portrait on the subject of artificial intelligence.
Standard Warby Parker Glasses with improved augmented reality technology may be the future.
A couple more portraits commissioned by Arsenal for the 2017 Emirates Cup