Thursday, 20 September 2012

Rich J's Top 5...World Cup Posters

Following on from Chris' Favourite 5 Tournament Logos article, I was going to do my usual thing and follow it up with my own top five, but then I decided to go off at a slight tangent and instead go for my Top 5 Official World Cup Posters.

I've often found with World Cups that the official posters tend to disappear into the background and usually ones featuring the mascot or variations on the logo tend to take prominence. An example of this would be Italia 90. We all remember the blocky stick man logo and he was all over the posters, but does anyone remember this?

Well I didn't...
If you want to see the full range of posters, you can view them here where you can marvel at just how crappy they've become in recent years. Seriously, anything since 1990 is watered down, focus grouped, corporate bilge.

So, for the first time in any article I've written about the World Cup, I'll not be including anything from any tournaments I actually watched at the time... yep, not even Mexico 86 gets a look in.

1.  Mexico 70

We really hit the ground running here! Minimal design but oozing cool, the sheer confidence and arrogance of this poster just smacks you upside the head and makes you its bitch.

Following the timeline of WC posters, there's a clear shift in direction with this one as all previous posters had been very business like and conveyed the seriousness of the occasion. Mexico 70 kicks down the door, traces of white powder gracing its upper lip, gun hanging loosely by its side, flanked by groupies and just dares you to question its pink attire.

I'm Mexico 70, I'm wearing pink. Now you're all gonna wear pink. And we do...

Oh yeah... and that font. That font is the Mac Daddy!

2. Argentina 78

If Mexico 70 was the dealer, Argentina 78 has clearly been enjoying the fruits of its produce.

Here we meet Argentina 78 at a club in New York just approaching closing time. The DJ has just started spinning Gloria Gaynor and it's happy hour all over again!

Following the new arty direction provided by Mexico 70 and West Germany 74 (despite its sombre appearance, there's definite free-form art at play), Argentina 78 perfectly captures the explosion and batshit insane atmosphere of that tournament. The sensible font stands aside to let the joyous, moustachioed protagonists take centre stage. Even the logo appears to be a wallflower at this dance, confined like a shy teen to the dark corners of the dance floor.

It'd be nice to think this level of joy was real and not in any way Junta induced, but one can't help think the smile of no.8 disappeared once his back was to camera.

3. Uruguay 1930 

From the ridiculous to the... slightly less trippy. The first World Cup was held in 1930 and this fantastic Art Deco number couldn't capture that era more perfectly if it tried.

One can't look at this poster without hearing the Charleston, a dance which even the arrow on the left appears to be getting down to. In fact, what is that arrow even doing there? Who cares? The Great Depression has just started and we just wanna dance our worries away!

From the elongated, hex-headed keeper, caught here mid-save (ah, but is that Uruguay's or Argentina's ball?) to the dynamic font, this is a classy piece of work and provides a bucket load of excitement for a brand new football tournament! Perfecto!

4. France 1938

This is the most serious looking of my top five, but also the most elegant.

What looks like a munitions factory worker from a WWII poster (foreshadowing?) standing atop the world, foot resting on the ball, confident in the bagginess of his shorts (foreshadowing Euro 2012 this time!) this poster is all about serenity and occasion.

This is the 1938 World Cup and this is big. And that's all you need to know. Whereas the first two posters felt inclined to impart secondary information (start date, final host city etc), this one just tells you what you need to know. Time and Place. Be there, or be... well, England?

One interesting point to note... despite the tournament being held in France, the globe doesn't seem to want to show you where that is. One could imagine this point being raised at some point followed by the inevitable Gallic shrug before the proof went off to the printers.

Ah, you know what, I've just looked again and of course, the ball is sitting in France...
Poster Designers 1 - 0 Idiot Blogger.

5. Spain 1982


This is like one of those psychiatric ink blot tests. What can you see? I can see what seems to be a snail, balanced on the head of an unhappy dog, who appears to be sniffing the behind of a Toucan being attacked by a fish. Am I sane doc? Am I SANE???? I don't think I can make sense of anything anymore.

The best part of this poster is the designer appears to have been given the brief, "Drop acid and just paint whatever you see... oh and I think it's about a World Cup or something... probably mention it somewhere on there, but mostly just get ripped to the tits!'

SPAIN 82! F*** YEAH!!!!


  1. Espana 82's poster was designed by famous Catalan painter Miro (I used to have a print of his on my wall at university, I quite like his stuff).

    Spain 82 had some wonderful posters, feast your eyes on these:

    1. Soem absolute crackers in there Steve! Not sure about Bilbao's though...

  2. My favourite World Cup poster will always be Switzerland 1954. It is beautiful beyond belief.

    1. Love the look on the keeper's face :)
      Brazil 1950 is another great one.