Russia 2018 World Cup identity references Sputnik and Russian icon art

The identity for the 2018 World Cup in Russia has been unveiled – a logo that references the Sputnik spacecraft and Russian icon art techniques.

The branding has been created by Portuguese consultancy Brandia Central, which has also created the identities for the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine and the Euro 2016 event, which will be held in France.

FIFA says Brandia Central was selected following an international creative pitch against seven other consultancies. The judging panel for the final designs comprised ten figures from sport, culture and government in Russia, including former England football manager and current Russia coach Fabio Capello.

According to a design rationale document for the identity, the logo features “magic windows” that “invite you to participate” in the World Cup.

The windows also reinforce the shape of the “magic ball”, which also pays homage to Russia’s Sputnik spacecraft.

The identity projected on the Bolshoi Theatre
The identity projected on the Bolshoi Theatre

The logo shape also symbolises “lift-off” – both of the Sputnik spacecraft and as a reference to the anticipation of the tournament. The rising movement is also intended to reference the lifting of the World Cup trophy in celebration.

Meanwhile human figures in the logo reference “the exuberance of football players and excitement of fans as well as mankind’s ambition to reach the stars”.

FIFA says the “bold use of red, gold, black and blue in the emblem’s colour palette was inspired by centuries-old techniques seen in world-renowned Russian art dating back to the earliest icon paintings”.

The new identity was unveiled in a ceremony which saw cosmonauts on the International Space Station reveal the logo, which was also projected on to the side of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

The identity projected on the Bolshoi Theatre
The identity projected on the Bolshoi Theatre

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says: “The emblem blends unique attributes of the FIFA World Cup and of Russia as host nation. It unites magic and dreams, as the FIFA World Cup will do for millions of fans in 2018.”

Q&A with Miguel Viana, chief creative officer of Brandia Central

Design Week: What sort of influence did you take from previous World Cup identities?

Miguel Viana:There was no big influence from previous World Cup identities, except the normal associations with football and the world reach of this particular event.
This one focused mainly on the host country, on its vast cultural heritage and also on its history of achievement and innovation.

DW: Can you tell me about the various Russian influences on the identity?

MV: Apart from our own preconceptions, we dug really deep into Russia’s identity. All of the research corroborated the idea that Russia is the land of Magic. A centuries-old culture, a fairytale-like architecture, the soul of its people, known by its determination and by the achievements that follow. Visually, we can find several inspirations from this background. Generally speaking, there is a sense of elevation, of ascending, like a spacecraft. This rising movement is reinforced by the human elements of the symbol, also inspired by the mankind’s ambition to reach for the stars, as well of the desire that every football player has of raising the World Cup trophy. The top element reminds us of a football ball together with the Sputnik’s shape. A special ball that will spread its magic thoughout the biggest country on Earth, inviting all the people to join the celebration. As you can see, Russia’s Space adventures and achievements were a true theme. The colours red, gold, black and blue reflect the centuries-old techniques seen in world-renowned Russian art dating back to the earliest icon paintings. This brand celebrates the magic of Russia and the dreams of the whole world.

DW: How will the new identity roll out?

MV: The official emblem will soon be supported by further event brand assets, like the official look programme. The other brand subprojects will be presented by FIFA in the near future. As you know the brand communication universe will continue to expand, reaching its pinnacle in 2018, by the time of the World Cup. The magic is just starting.

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