Qatar 2022 World Cup identity revealed

The new design created by Portuguese consultancy Unlock, takes inspiration from Arab winter shawls, and desert sand dunes

The brand identity of the Qatar 2022 World Cup has been revealed. Launched in the Qatari capital city of Doha, the new logo has been broadcast in cities around the world.

The new look was designed by Portuguese consultancy Unlock, and features a curved figure of eight infinity symbol and Arabic calligraphy that “fuses tradition with modernity” according to FIFA.

Qatar won the World Cup bid in 2010, beating out the US, Australia and Japan in the process. The new identity includes plenty of nods to the country’s customs and wider cultural position in Asia.

The main symbol is said to take inspiration from traditional woollen shawls that are worn throughout Asia in the winter months. This is an acknowledgement of the timing of the tournament itself – which will take place in November and December 2022 for the first time in World Cup history (previously it has always been held between May and July).

FIFA also points out how the “swooping curves” of the new logo represent the movements of desert sand dunes found throughout the country.

Beyond this, FIFA says the figure of eight represents the eight stadiums that will host the competition. Among those will be the Lusail Stadium – a structure inspired by traditional fanar lanterns – which is scheduled for completion in late 2020.

When working with fellow Portuguese design consultancy BrandiaCentral, Unlock’s co-founder and creative director Miguel Viana was part of the team to create the Russia 2018 World Cup identity. In a conversation with Design Week about the 2018 design, he said World Cup logos celebrate “the dreams of the world”.

Designers react to the new identity:

“Branding major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup will always be a struggle. I mean, it’s almost impossible to shoe-horn every value and vision of both a sport and a governing body sneezed at you from the corporate brass. Ultimately, the results are all-too-often a cold and culturally vacuous corporate casserole, post-rationalised beyond any recognition of either sport, organisation, or host nation. Which, now I think about it (under the reported circumstances), might actually be a great representation of what FIFA have done to the World Cup by sending it to Qatar.”

Craig Oldham, The Office of Craig Oldham.

“Sadly, I think they’ve missed the mark here. Tying the ‘8 stadiums’ and interconnected concept together into an infinity symbol is neat, but I don’t think it quite expresses the other aspects it claims to all that much. The 3D colour execution is probably the thing that is letting it down—using the Qatar flag colours makes sense, but the 3D aspect makes it look like an infinite loop of milk. I reckon the sand dunes and the woollen shawl mirroring could have perhaps been expressed more elegantly without putting it through a render machine, as it is it’s not something you pick up on at all just from looking at the design. All of this is moot however, because at first glance I thought this was a maxi pad advert. Pretty sure that’s not the spirit of the World Cup. Whoops.”

Tessa Simpson, design and direction at O Street

“My initial reaction was one of ambivalence – maybe a little confusion. It begs to be understood because there are so many symbolic facets to it: sand dunes, a woolen shawl, an 8/infinity symbol and embroidery detail – all in one mark. That said, for me (if you squint a little), the lasting impression is an expressive representation of the iconic World Cup trophy that is own-able and immediate.”

Chris Tozer, senior art director at Mr B & Friends

What do you think? Carry on the conversation below…

Hide Comments (7)Show Comments (7)
  • Mike Stewart September 5, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    I think it’s just a case of trying too hard to be all things to everyone… the best logos/symbols are usually simple and instantly convey the intended message. This is too complicated for me…

  • Steve Braham September 5, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    For a moment there I thought it was sponsored by Virgin

  • Falkeh September 6, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I will say this, at my first glance to the trademark, I was suspicious of a concept. It seems like I was seeing two pigeons kissing, and I was like why?

    But now having read through this, I will say it look too traditional and not serving that balance that every other country can own. Of course, if Qatar did not win the cup the winner may not really like the cup because it will look originated from Qatar and will not be the best thing.

    And then it should be simple and serve the balance.


    • Chris March 27, 2022 at 11:46 am

      It’s the emblem of Qatar 2022, not the trophy

  • Steve Lasko September 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    It looks like a random machined piece of plastic or porcelain, roughly configured into a vertical, off-center infinity sign. I don’t connect any of it to a worldwide sporting event. This is a nearly total design fail.

  • Rehan Saiyed September 9, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Nothing unexpected, as I have worked over few projects with some of the similar government initiatives there. Unfortunately ‘decoration’ is ‘design’ to them. If you simplify and approach it graphically with justified strategy, you will be immediately rejected. Present them with florals and 3D with lots of colour, they will love it. They have money to spend but lacks vision, a sad reality.

  • Graeme Stephenson September 12, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    “A camel is a horse designed by committee…” There’s something very transcendent about that mantra that seems very evident here.

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