Soccer and Art

As a Graphic Designer one of the things that interests me most about the FIFA World Cup is not the game itself but the often-beautiful poster art that it inspires.

World Cup poster art dates back to 1930 when the very first World Cup was held in Uruguay. The posters were created to add an artistic flair to the celebrations and to offer basic communication like directions and announcements. Since then World Cup posters have appeared at every Cup as an attractive and functional tradition.

What I like most about these posters is how they each represent a different place in time. For example: the posters of the 1930s, including those seen at the first World Cup in Uruguay feature a traditional art deco style which depicts strong graphics and typography. These posters were inspired by and are strongly reminiscent of the pre World War 2 propaganda that was popularised at the time.

As time continued and trends changed so did the posters.

Some of my favourite examples include the retro, double-lined typography and simple yet effective stencil shape of the 1970 Mexico World Cup posters. And the combination of striking black lines and vibrant colours used in the posters at the 1982 Spanish World Cup.

Since the 1990s the artwork has moved away from traditional art and design to more photographic and vector based techniques. Whilst this artwork does have its own charm I often prefer the simplicity and elegancy of those early hand drawn designs.

I wonder if we’ll see the old-fashioned poster art make a return like so many other ‘retro’ trends. I can’t help but hope it will.

Check out some images of my favourite posters below.