In the brand-festooned world that is football in the television age, it comes as something of a shock to learn that one of the sport’s most enduring icons has never been tainted by the embrace of commercialism.
The European Cup is a huge piece of silverware with a silhouette as recognisable to football fans across Europe as that of their mothers. For some reason, the governing body of European football, UEFA, has never allowed the cup itself to be depicted in any form as part of the competition’s branding. Until now.
Design Bridge created the Champions League identity, the star ball, in 1992 when UEFA first seriously branded the Continent’s premier club competition.
And when it fell to the consultancy to create the identity and advise on branding issues for the final of this season’s competition, UEFA gave the go-ahead for the cup itself to feature.
The final is between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus and is being held in Munich’s Olympic Stadium next Wednesday.
After marrying the star ball and the cup, by putting a reflection of the ball on to an illustration of the trophy, Design Bridge set about creating a system which integrates the design into a Munich setting and provides a framework for future finals and locations. The consultancy also worked on ideas of how the identity could work at the final itself, considering everything from banners to lasers.
Design Bridge group creative director Rod Petrie is banking on the consultancy winning the implementation work for the 1998 final, providing next week’s extravaganza is considered a visual success by the UEFA staff in Geneva.
As UEFA continues to get its act together over branding, there is even talk of physically applying the star ball identity to the actual silver trophy. Fans from as far apart as Liverpool and Moscow will be hoping the iron of branding doesn’t scar the very icon it is exploiting.
Design: Design Bridge