Designs from the beautiful game

10A Director, Matt Fawkes looks at Russia’s 2018 Fifa World Cup poster and reflects on design comparisons of football posters from past tournaments

It’s seven months out from the Fifa World Cup in Russia and we’ve learnt two things this week – who England will face in their group games come 14 June, and what the official tournament poster looks like.

While the nation debates England’s chances of defeating Belgium, Panama and Tunisia on Russian soil next summer, our design team has been looking at Russian artist Igor Gurovich and his official poster design, featuring Soviet legend and Ballon d’Or winner Lev Yashin.

The inclusion of the traditional leather ball reminds us of Brazil’s poster from 1950 – the return of the tournament following a 12-year break due to World War II and the era in which Lev Yashin played in goal for Dynamo Moscow.

In this Brazilian example, the football is accompanied by a six-studded boot and the flags of the participating countries on the player’s sock.

Interestingly, the sock includes the flag of India, who were due to take part but later pulled out when FIFA decided they wouldn’t be allowed to play in bare feet.

One half of the Russia 2018 ball shows the country from space, reflecting what Fifa claim is a ‘key inspiration’ of the 2018 brand – Russia’s achievement in space exploration.

Those interested in World Cup poster design may recall Chile’s 1962 offer, which also looks down on the south American country from space, with the leather ball having presumably been kicked into orbit (possibly by the boot of Lev Yashin who kept goal for the Soviet Union during their defeat to the hosts in the 62 quarter finals).

The next time outer space was used as a design element was Germany 2006. For this tournament, the constellation of the stars form the design of the football.

The converging orange stripes on Russia’s 2018 poster are reminiscent of perhaps one of the most iconic FIFA World Cup logo designs, Spain 82.

This was the early days of desktop publishing, the rise of the sans serif font and brand typography, which today feels flat and corporate.

What made the design decisions of this tournament so memorable however was the total contrast of the poster – a lively fiesta of colour and unrestricted design, which inserted energy and fun back into the game.

Overall, we approve of the design of the Russia 2018 poster, particularly its retro nod to a bygone era of World Cups, which of course saw England’s only win in 1966.

Lev Yashin once said, ‘The joy of seeing Yuri Gagarin flying in space is only superseded by the joy of a good penalty save.’ This quote encapsulates the design of Russia 2018 beautifully.

Bring on a summer of football.