David Shrigley and Chris Simpson are among the artists and designers who have worked on the Weird Euros beer mat collection ahead of the delayed Euro 2020 football tournament, which takes place in June.
The brainchild of Middle Boop founder Gordon Reid and graphic designer Callum Stephenson, Weird Euros follows the designers’ Weird World Cup collection from 2018.
Like last time, the duo have asked creatives to illustrate the “weird, funny and esoteric” moments from Euros history. These will then be sold to raise money for football-related charities.
“Obscure to some, but familiar for others”
A total of 20 creatives are involved in this year’s collection, which also includes Pentagram’s Astrid Stavro and illustrator Ben Tallon.
Shrigley’s beer mat for example showcases the bloody aftermath of a headbutt delivered by French footballer Basile Boli to English player Stuart Pearce at Euro 92.
Other moments are more niche, Reid says, because he and Stephenson have taken care to involve artists and designers from the countries involved in the tournament.
“This means we’ve got some moments depicted on our mats that might feel obscure to some, but familiar for others,” he says, giving the example of Danish illustrator Marcus Møller Bitsch’s design.
Bitsch’s mat depicts Danish footballer John “Faxe” Jenson, whose nickname is a Danish beer, unsurprisingly because he enjoyed drinking. The illustration on his mat has Jensen playing football as a bottle of Faxe.
“It would have been easy to just have got 20 white blokes to do this”
While Shrigley and Simpson are two “household names” involved in the project Reid says including plenty of up and coming artists was also important.
“We’ve really focused on people we just believe have an amazing style, who maybe needed that first bit of good exposure to boost their career,” he says. He points to Israel Kujore as an example of a creative with an excellent approach to their craft.
Kujore’s beer mat features a topless Mario Balotelli, immortalised as an action figure which comes complete with Italia 2012 football jersey and yellow card.
Additionally, they wanted to ensure a good split between men and women. Reid says “it would have been easy to just have got 20 white blokes to do this”.
Mina Owen and Robyn Nichol are also involved, as well as Aleesha Nandhra, who has depicted the moment a crowd of Irish football fans helped restore a driver’s car, which another fan had just dented.
“It feels right”
Reid says the timing of this year’s collection is more significant than ever. “We’ve got this moment where were able to cater to two things people have really missed this last year: football and drinking with friends,” he says. “It feels right.”
Again like last time, the beer mats designed for Weird Euros will be sold to raise money for charity.
In 2018, the duo managed to raise £20,000 for Football Beyond Borders with their collection and sold the packs in countries as far away as New Zealand and Japan.
This time around, the team is working with Adidas’ Football Collective to raise money for grassroots football charities. This will include organisations like FC Not Alone, a mental health focused football platform, and Goals 4 Girls, a group that promotes female leadership in the sport.
The beer mat collections are now available to pre-order from the Weird Euros website.
Banner image credits (L-R): Israel Kujore, Robyn Nichol, Kill Cooper