Passing patterns shape EA Sports FC identity after FIFA split

With a recognisable graphic symbol, bespoke typography and inclusive colour palette devised by Uncommon, EA Sports FC hopes to define its place within football culture.

Uncommon has designed the visual identity for EA Sports FC, incorporating triangles shapes into the graphic language as a reference to football passing patterns and set plays.

EA Sports FC is the new name and brand for the gaming publisher’s football games, previously run in partnership with FIFA. Electronic Arts announced the breakaway from FIFA last year amid claims that FIFA was looking to double its licence fee to $1billion dollars. FIFA 2023 will be the last in the old partnership, with the new series to come under the EA Sports FC Brand from 2023.

Early ambitions revealed that both the client and Uncommon were keen to “create far more than a logo”, says the studio’s co-founder Nils Leonard. He describes EA Sports FC as “the biggest football club in the world” with over 150 million players, meaning Uncommon had to build a design system “to live in every part of the FC experience” as well as in the wider world of football culture.

As well as appearing above players heads in the electronic game, research revealed that the triangle is embedded in football’s DNA, says Leonard, cropping up in passing patterns, set plays and even in EA Sports, from “the isometric angles of its very first 8-bit experiences” to “the triangular polygons” that make up the pixels of more modern games.

While the studio landed on the triangle as a key graphic asset early on, Uncommon design director Haider Mudhi says that the challenge was translating the shape into “an authentic legacy rooted in football culture”.

For the logo, Uncommon fit the FC of the new name neatly into the triangle on a 60-degree angle. Much like how the game itself requires “adaptations and versions that can play in different formats”, Leonard says the logo “comes alive” in three different executions: a primary logo, a two-letter product prefix and an authenticity mark that will be used by EA Sports FC partners.

EA Sport’s FC has two bespoke typefaces designed by Uncommon and F37 type foundry, which were modelled on two influential footballers from past and present.

The first is inspired by Dutch player Johan Cruyff, who gave the world Total Football and “the infamous Cruyff turn”, according to Mudhi. He labels the typeface as “a charismatic and personal sans serif” used across the brand comms, marketing and UI. “Cruyff’s style of play and the 60 degree angles he mastered in his turns are used to guide the structural forms of character stems, and construct ink traps that adhere to our triangular grid system”, says Mudhi.

Seeking to romanticise the style of Brazilian footballer Marta Silva, Mudhi says Uncommon created a serif typeface to be used across editorial communications and “elevated brand moments”. He adds that the second typeface provides “a decorative yet stylised contrast” that works alongside the sans serif.

Each typeface will include multilingual settings, specially designed to reflect language-specific scripts, such as Latin and Arabic.

Since football culture “exists in many colours”, Mudhi says Uncommon sought to create “a neutral space where everyone can play” through the brand colour palette. To achieve this, the studio used the football ground as a baseline, leading with monochrome colours such as Boot Black and Chalk White and accents of light and dark green hues, named Pitch Green and Forest Green. Uncommon then looked to “core construction materials” used in stadiums to complete the set – metal and concrete – opting for Turnstile Grey and Terrace Grey.

Design studio Buck is responsible for EA Sports FC’s motion design, which builds on the triangle shape chosen by Uncommon. The motion design aims to mirror the motion system of the game with moments of forward momentum and 2D animation.

The first game in the EA Sports FC series is expected to release in autumn 2023.

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