world cup design

World Cup Design

With the World Cup in Russia ready to kick off, we’ve been looking back at the official posters used since the World Cup began back in 1930. The latest poster from the Russian’s is a real throwback with their retro design which made us think about the previous poster designs and how much they’ve changed over the years.

Whilst researching each poster it became clear that the design was not always the forefront of the creator’s idea, but sometimes a darker political motive was at play.

Let us know which your favourite is and why.

1930 – Uruguay
1930- Uruguay

Creator: Guillermo Laborde

The first World Cup poster really set the bar high and paved the way for each tournament after to follow suit. Original prints of this art deco poster now sell for up to £20,000 and have become quite the collector’s item.

1934 – Italy
1934- Italy

Creator: Gino Boccasile

Another piece of art deco design creating a strong classic image. The creator, Gino Boccasile, was a supporter of Mussolini and produced propaganda material for his government during WWII. Although imprisoned and tried, he was acquitted and went on to create memorable posters for many cosmetics, toothpaste, liquor and footwear brands.

1938 – France
1938- France

The world at his feet. This poster was very fitting with its age and continued with the art deco theme of previous posters with its decorative typography. A relatively unknown artist, Henri Desmé, went on to create a number of movie posters with his unique style after this.

1950 – Brazil
1950- Brazil

The World Cup returned after WWII and was hosted by Brazil. Similarities are strong to the 1938 poster design but with the addition of each competitor’s national flag – maybe to bring the world into union again? It also features the flag of India who were due to take part but later pulled out when told they were unable to compete bare foot.

1954 – Switzerland
1954- Switzerland

The first televised World Cup and back on European soil. A simple and unbiased design from the Swiss with similar references to Uruguay’s previous effort. The text translates to “World Football Championship” in three languages: French, German, and Italian— the three languages most closely related to Switzerland.

1958 – Sweden
1958- Sweden

Very much bringing in the style of current movie posters (Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo) this poster makes use of simplicity and the word ‘football’ in FIFA’s three ‘official’ languages.

1962 – Chile
1962- Chile

Creator: Gabarino Ponce

Continuing with the simplistic design, this Chilean effort was picked from 300 entries during a FIFA inspection tour of the country. Using colour coding between the ball and country on the globe works as a subtle nod, connecting the host country.

1966 – England
1966 - England

Enter Willie the Lion – the first mascot used at a World Cup. Again, another simplistic design keeping in line with the more conservative folk in England rather than the hedonistic 60’s we all love to hear about. Still, at least the right team won this year.

1970 – Mexico
1970 - Mexico

The classic double line typography on the Mexico 70 World Cup poster just oozes class. Simple, visually striking and iconic – what a combination. Personally, this is my favourite of all the designs throughout the years.

1974 – West Germany
1974 - West Germany

Creator: Horst Schäfer

Bringing art and football together with his impressionistic style. If you start to study the image too hard then you’ll begin to see the confusing body shape of the subject.

1978 – Argentina
1978 - Argentina

Creator: Mandatos Internacionales

Following on from the previous tournament poster, art and football collide with this pointillism styled effort. Visually striking and iconic, this design was produced by the Mandatos Internacionales agency. Argentina at the time, was held under a dictatorship and many believe the creators also worked on the propaganda materials. Up to 30,000 people disappeared from the country under the regime so the World Cup does not bring fond memories for the locals.

1982 – Spain
1982 - Spain

Creator: Joan Miró

Desktop publishing was heavily influencing design elements at this time, so this creation by surrealist artist Joan Miró was a contrast from the World Cup logo used for the same tournament. The design itself is a little out there but I really love the boldness and colours used.

1986 – Mexico
1986 - Mexico

Creator: Annie Leibovitz

Not the most appealing or striking design, the image brings heritage and tradition to the forefront. The double line font is used again as it was in their 1970 effort, but this still doesn’t make up for an uninspiring creation, all I see is Bruce Forsyth’s silhouette (once you see it, you can’t NOT see it!)

1990 – Italy
1990 - Italy

Creator: Alberto Burri

Italia 90 was the first World Cup I can remember so it holds a special place for me. It was also the only time in recent years that England performed well. The poster was created by Alberto Burri who used mixed media to show a football pitch inside the Colosseum.

1994 – USA
1994 - USA

Creator: Peter Max

The previous year, Peter Max created the official poster for the Super Bowl, so he was brought in to create this World Cup poster effort. Very vibrant colours, the poster once again uses a space theme to represent the universal appeal of the tournament.

1998 – France
1998 - France

Creator: Natalie le Gall

The France 1998 organising committee ran a poster design competition, which was won by Natalie le Gall, a student at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Montpellier. Really nice use of colours and textures used on the poster although unfortunately the typography used really reminds me of the show ‘Friends’.

2002 – Japan/Korea
2002 - Japan/Korea

Creators: Byun Choo Suk (Korea) and Hirano Sogen (Japan)

The process that went into making this effort really makes me like this design more. Duel nation hosting calls for dual artist poster creation. FIFA called on one calligrapher from each host nation to collaborate to create the poster – Byun Choo Suk (Korea) and Hirano Sogen (Japan). They spent 2 days making brush strokes, then combined the best ones to create the 2002 poster.

2006 – Germany
2006 - Germany

Creator: WE DO Communication

Designed by Berlin agency WE DO Communication, it shows stars forming a ball in the night sky, playing on the notions of wishing and dreaming apparently. Nothing memorable about this poster and leaves you feeling a bit disappointed.

2010 – South Africa
2010 - South Africa

Creator: Gaby De Abreu

Great use of colours used on this design by Gaby De Abreu giving off those African vibes. Notice that the neck of the player on the poster starts to reflect the coast line of South Africa which is a nice subtle element. The poster’s meaning is that ‘the ball is symbolic of hope and aspiration as well as the unknown – when heading a ball, up until the point of contact and deflection, it’s anyone’s game’.

2014 – Brazil
2014 - Brazil

Creator: Karen Haidinger

Created by Karen Haidinger, the creative concept at the heart of the poster is ‘An entire country at football’s service – Brazil and football: one shared identity’. Strong vibrant colours with a great usage of white space creating an outline of Brazil similar to the 2010 South African poster.

2018 – Russia
2018 - Russia

Creator: Igor Gurovich

How retro can you go? Igor Gurovich gives us this 1920s-style post-constructivist illustration depicting legendary Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin. It shows Yashin reaching up to block a ball, which appears to combine a globe with a vintage leather ball. Russia saving the world maybe?