There are countless ways Paulo Dybala's personal brand is a seamless fit for Juventus.
If you're not already familiar with the Cult of Kek this is a wonderful introduction. Cultural theory & criticism is a personal hobby of mine and I spend a lot of time reading about old mythology & structures of belief. Over the past year I became obsessed with the organically emerging mythology around Pepe the Frog's intersection with the rise of Donald Trump. Memetics as we experience them in our digital space function very much like traditional signifiers of belief systems did pre-internet. When memes collide they can often form complex networks of belief that bring together communities of people. Kek is one of the latest and maybe the most politically relevant mythology emerging from the internet. Or maybe it's just all fun and games.
Prints available here.
This is an element from a scrapped idea for a Bayern Match Poster. Sometimes I can work on a concept for weeks and it just doesn't pan out. Cultivating an instinct to know when something doesn't work is one of the greatest assets you can have as a creative.
match graphic for FC Bayern's match against Werder Bremen spotlighting Claudio Pizarro who played for both clubs and is considered a German football legend.
In honor of one of my favorite all time players.
Match Graphic for FC Bayern's match against SC Freiburg.
This is a transcript of the article I wrote on the Juventus rebrand for Goal.com. You can view the original article here.
The Italian champions are aiming to do for the letter "J" what McDonald's did for the letter "M" in a bold redesign which has firmly split fan opinion
We know the story. A football club rebrands and uproar ensues. Modern designs are criticised for being too elementary - almost effortless - to being out of touch with the club’s history and fans.
We are witnessing this phenomenon again with the Juventus rebrand; not only because it’s one of the most-revered historical clubs on the planet but also because of the boldness of the redesign.
In this continuously-changing global landscape, football clubs have to fight in order to distinguish themselves. For the first time in history however clubs have to really think about what this means on a mass scale. Inevitably this requires treading the line between appealing to a local fan base and the expanding external global market. Traditionalists are apprehensive about new TV deals and new demographics emerging far away from their local cities but globalisation is also a means for a football club to stay afloat and keep its history alive. As German philosopher Georg Hegel was aware of - I paraphrase: "Every cut is an opening and opportunity to heal for a new start."
The most effective branding always blends essential signifiers. When we think of Juventus on a general level, the signifiers that immediately come to mind are their black-and-white stripes and the word image “Juventus”. We often think of language and images as separate but they are inextricably tied up into our general cognitive mapping.
“The creation of the alphabet was a way of gobbling up images of the mythic world by their organisation into rows of lines of one dimensional text - writing invented as means of analysing and breaking mythical images apart into pieces,” philosopher Vilem Flusser wrote.
The first letter of a name – the initial - holds enough signifying power that it becomes something along the lines of a symbolic signifier for the thing the name represents. A single symbol can signify many different things at the same time. By singling out the letter “J”, Juventus created a floating signifier that acts as a container for the club’s history and all the visual motifs that come to mind when we are prompted to think about Juventus.
One can argue the previous badge had too many elements competing against each other and were superfluous in communicating a cohesive brand message. From a design point of view it’s logical to condense them. As designers we have to take into account the contemporary media landscape that is inundated with marketing rhetoric and images that simply overload the senses.
By just logging onto the internet we come face to face with an apparatus that traps millions of symbols - from adverts to websites and logos - and stores them in one place on a daily basis. By condensing the Juve brand into an essential single logomark, Juventus are future-proofing against signifier overload.
A major part of the Juventus brand roll out is in the flexibility of the logomark and its typeface. The accompanying typeface mirrors the design logic of the “J”. It will undoubtedly feature as the primary typeface on future kits as well as in any marketing campaigns such as #2beJUVENTUS.
A brand has to work on every medium from print to digital - from clothing (large) to mobile devices (small). A logo has to be legible on every single platform. The need for a brand’s message to be self-evident becomes more necessary as brands also end up inhabiting more spaces. It’s no surprise that the Juventus press release this week repeatedly emphasised the words “black and white” and “more”. The “more” here refers to the space that is now open to a global brand like Juventus, whose visual message is no longer confined to football alone.
The possibilities for lateral merchandising are endless - especially as football has begun to spill over into non-sports endeavours such as fashion and street wear. We will be seeing a lot of Juve’s new badge on non-football specific products.
The Juventus rebrand is a bold step forward and presents us a glimpse into what a truly global football club can look like. By recording its history into a primary signifier it has carved out a space for itself in the marketing world where “black and white stripes” and the letter “J” are specific to the Juventus brand.
Juventus have firmly planted a flag on yet-to-be colonised terrain. They have transformed the 10th letter of the alphabet into a visual icon that they will hope to associate with their brand just as Google is associated with the “g” or the McDonald's “M”.
History will reveal not only how successful this risky endeavour was but just how far behind other competing clubs were.
I was commissioned by Nike to illustrate Cristiano Ronaldo in honor of his FIFA Best Player in the World Award.
I usually like to put together lists of my favorite films of the year. This year i liked quite a few but I only loved four films.
Knight Of Cups (Directed by Terrence Malick) - In a year that will ultimately be defined by my personal soul searching and eventual transformation no film resonated more with me than Malick’s Knight of Cups. I started the year in a personal limbo. I no longer felt attached to the politics, personal & professional relationships & cultural artifacts that anchored my life up to that point. Something needed to change and I didn’t know what. The films release in early 2016 was like a siren, a call to action to wake up and go in search of an elusive whole, not with a sense of dread but with a stoic sense of purpose & self-accountability; the virtues I didn’t see society or our contemporary artistic landscape encourage anymore. Whether it was the total political meltdown of the left or popular culture’s descent into moral relativism & ego politics that consumed almost everyone close to me in its wake (including myself), I needed a reminder that art can still be spiritually relevant and reach for something more and can be serious & sublime along the way. In a stormy year Knight Of Cups was a cinematic prayer, the calm island at the centre of the storm. Calm. Reflective. My church.
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (directed by Zack Snyder): I’m ignoring the franchise set-up and instead focus on what the film is really about - a self contained Greek Tragedy/political allegory. As Armond White put it; "Snyder dares to infuse the comic-book genre with moral & political substance." BvS rises above Nolan's preachy nihilistic Batman & Marvel's infantilization of politics to take genre to unprecedented heights that only Snyder’s previous Man Of Steel (still the best film ever made in the genre) managed to achieve. Snyder knows that imbuing film with a sense of myth explains why superheros even occupy important role in contemporary culture. Superheros are modern parables for our absent spirituality & cultural transformation towards the technological & secular. It's important that Snyder knows this. Social & moral issues of our contemporary political predicament are encapsulated in Superman (Republican) & Batman (Democrat). Read as: Superman the natural unchecked (American military) power with unreconciled destructive consequences (responsible for Metropolis' own 9/11 = America's global politics putting in motion the mechanics of its own future destruction). Batman on the other hand is the resulting nihilist consequence engendered by Superman. Snyder doesn't take sides & allows discourse of ideologies to reveal their own hubris. (Compared to Marvel's aggro liberalism where only one political opinion is correct and propped) A great example of this is in Batman’s questioning of Superman's power - his interests align with corporate villain Lex Luthor (Eisenberg brilliantly cast to recall Zuckerberg meant to suggest that villains exist outside Washington too, particularly in Silicon Valley. With Zuckerberg's recent flirtation with the presidency Snyder is prescient). Here Snyder questions Liberal hypocrisy of stubbornly continuing to neglect corporate violence by siding with it. Snyder understands political discourse is invariably tied up in secularism vs belief and stages the conflict as played out like an amped up ‘myth of Man vs God’. (Batman & Superman fight amongst ruins of Greek columns) Disappearing spirituality & ensuing cultural fragmentation is a subject that encompasses every part of our social texture today but is largely ignored at level of morality & politics in public discourse including popular culture. It takes Snyder’s film to return to this theme. The scene critics scoffed at (Batman & Superman realizing their mothers' names are Martha) is exactly the radical turn that makes the film great. In moral deadlock, it's finding compassion & brotherhood that's the most difficult. They find it here. Nothing silly about it. Unless you're a deep nihilist who'd rather be against everything than believe in something. Snyder doesn’t let media off the hook either with implications of the troubling convergence of journalism & clickbait. Talking heads from real life media figures blend into disjointed noise on politics, morality, spirituality, etc. for the cheekiest critique of #FakeNews of the year. BvS makes best argument that pop can be complex & advance seriousness while Marvel buries it & emphasizes chic ironic distance. BvS engages the topic of our cultural schism with a level of complexity that belies the genre's brief history as mythic allegory and for that there can be no higher praise.
Hell Or High Water (directed by David Mackenzie) - If only someone showed this movie to Hillary Clinton before she decided to neglect a serious ground game in the necessary swing states & generally disregard red state malaise, her legacy may have been saved from total embarrassment. Maybe. Hell Or High Water is a contemporary Western about two brothers suffering from recession era desperation who rob banks in order to pay mortgage on their family home. They’re angry because banks have all but ensured the corrosion of their towns and feel abandoned by Obama era politics that more or less only revitalized coastal cities. These characters just might have voted for Trump in their desperation and yet they are treated with respect & empathy rather than smug condescension that almost all of Hollywood has been shouting at anyone willing to show dissent to establishment politics. It trades contemporary trendy nihilism for a moral seriousness. This social consciousness is reminiscent of the maturity of American cinema in the 70’s in the face of similar themes. Moreover it feels shockingly new & radical today when few others dare to imagine the same stories to build new narratives & myths out of our moral deadlock and post-recession milieu.
Aferim! (Directed by Radu Jude) - The title roughly translating into “Bravo” is as cynical a wink to the audience as Romania’s own aversion in dealing with their history of enslavement of gypsies. In a traditional sense this is a Western; set in 1830’s Wallachia (an innovation in film!) pre-unification largely occupied by Ottomans and Russians about two lawmen tracking down an escaped slave whom they have to return to his master to face punishment. Romania has an ambiguous to immoral legacy in its treatment of the Romani people (gypsies) but has rarely faced up to it in its popular culture. Jude never zooms in or does close ups. He’s more concerned with historicizing the story’s Romanian-ness. Romanians are unique in their torn-ness - not quite Latin, not Slavic, continually disregarded by other countries to the point where they formed a pessimistic shell. The fluctuations in moods we inhabit are extraordinary - in deep joy we are existential and shoot off crude but hilarious aphorisms. In deep sorrow, we play psychoanalysis and reaffirm amateurish notions that the subject is a void. A recipe for self loathing and misanthropy that our history has bequeathed the region today. Rather than celebrating the past & its traditions, Jude not only picks up the history books but does so with a dagger, cutting into it to reveal scars that don’t just raise awareness of Romania’s past but affirm how deeply ingrained into its culture they still continue to be. It’s this misanthropy as a way to rationalize trauma that is truly the film’s great gesture. Above all it’s also hilarious. If you need an insight from where my sense of humor comes from, look no further.
Renato Sanches Portrait Study
Match graphic for Bayern Munich vs. RB Lepizig
Match Graphic for FC Bayern's match against Darmstadt 98 this weekend.
Match Graphic for this week's FC Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg match.