Thursday 20 September 2012

Chris O's Favourite 5... Football Tournament Logos

There’s nothing like a good logo to encapsulate the overwhelming excitement of a football tournament, so here’s my favourite five of all time...

1.  Argentina 78

I don’t know what it is that makes this so pleasing on the eye to me. Perhaps it’s those simple stripes in a shade of light blue so evocative of Argentina (OK, Uruguay too, if you must) or the way they curve sinuously around the ball like a pair of hands. Maybe it’s that clear depiction of the Adidas Telstar ball that had only been introduced eight years earlier but had already become a design classic. Or perhaps it’s the fact that the overall shape of the logo is unique and doesn’t really mean anything specific, added to the clear Helvetica-style font to add an air of friendly importance. All in all, I like it because it's enigmatic but somehow just looks right because all the component parts play their part perfectly.

2. Euro 88
It was only in 1984 that the classic UEFA Euro logo was introduced, but so versatile was it that it got recycled for Euro 92 and, in this case, Euro 88. For my money, this was the best of the three as the colours used look particularly good and sit perfectly with the whole ‘flag’ motif. I remember seeing this a lot during that tournament 24 years ago when England struggled so much, but the logo really stood out just as much as it does today with its lovely mix of curves and straight angles. In an attempt to stretch its credibility, someone somewhere at UEFA HQ created a whole range of these logos in the colours and years of all the previous Euro tournaments, but I can’t say I approve. This logo was special because of its limited shelf life, and that’s all that matters.

3. USA 94
It goes without saying that when you design a football tournament logo, it should contain a football symbol somewhere within it, even if my second choice above goes against that rule of thought. The key is what you do with it, and the 1994 World Cup showed that it’s possible to be creative without showing off. With the competition being held in the US, the ball in this logo effectively took the place of the stars in the Stars and Stripes. Using some extra blue lines to convey movement over and above the red and white of the flag, this logo ticked all the boxes for style, simplicity and ability to convey a message. The finishing touch was to display the title of the tournament in a Swiss font using a combination of styles and colours, but essentially that was it. Crisp, clear, unambiguous graphics. Nice.

4. Euro 2012
Anyone that owned a Panini Europa 80 sticker album will remember the competition’s logo – a stylised flower based around a football motif (told you). It was this logo which proved the inspiration for the Euro 2012 tournament, designed by agency Brandia Central, that brought the flower idea up right up to date in a more colourful and slightly 3D way. The design itself is gorgeous with a football for the main bloom of the flower, yet it and the petals all use human figure devices with outstretched arms as part of the understated styling throughout. The colours of the host nations, Poland and Ukraine, feature noticeably but tastefully and the font is modern but informal. Rather cleverly, the floral design could be applied to a variety of different uses from umbrellas to posters and on its standard purple background rarely looked anything other than absolutely superb.

5. Italia 90
I do like it when something is designed in a way that’s simple but clever. That’s what you get with the Italia 90 logo which is fundamentally an old fashioned football symbol with a coloured shadow. The colours, of course, are carefully chosen – the red and green from the Italian flag – in order to stand out from a clean white background. Nothing else is needed because it works entirely well on its own. There’s also, however, the very distinctive font which is in a stencil style tilted back in perspective below the ball. Once again, a stroke of genius and one that completes the subtle, chic look that for all we know could have been created by one of Milan’s finest design agencies.

Got a Favourite 5 of your own that you want to tell us about?  Drop us a line at admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com...


  1. I liked the ITV Sport version of the Argentina 78 logo, in which the football was replaced by the stylised World of Sport 'S'. For some years, I confused that 'S' with the logo for Safeway, and I thought I might be able see Dickie Davies and Brian Moore everytime my mother took me into the supermarket to do the weekly shop. I'd grown out of this by 1978, but I was mightily impressed when I saw that Gerald Sinstadt actually had the ITV Sport Argentina 78 composite logo *on a tie*. You can see it here.

    So I wanted one to wear with my school uniform in second year juniors. I still want one now.

    1. Great stuff, Matthew! I know Brian Moore was particularly fond of an ITV Sport branded tie, as was Jimmy Hill back at the start of the 70's. Such a versatile logo, too... probably why I adopted it as my avatar some years back! :)

  2. I think the "S" logo was designed by Al Horton at LWT, he was responsible for a lot of ITV Sport graphics content