From the second it starts until its final dramatic moments, each FIFA World Cup™ is encapsulated by its own specific identity, a unique image that is projected around the world. An essential component of this image is obviously the Official Emblem which forms the cornerstone of the event’s brand identity. For all those involved with the tournament in the years leading up to its launch it is also a unique reference point. From the fans to the commercial affiliates and every single piece of event merchandise, this emblem symbolises the association with football’s flagship event and lives on long after it is over, logged in the bank of memories of everyone involved. The winning nation’s especially.
The role of the Official Emblem is to provide a strong, visual representation of both the event and the host country. Though designing this can be a challenging task. As was the case at the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, when FIFA and the Brazil Local Organising Committee (LOC) had to consider how to characterise a nation as colourful and vibrant as Brazil – a country with a rich traditional cultural heritage, yet rapidly emerging as one of the world’s most modern and influential economies.
To project these twin dimensions – Brazil’s modernity and its diversity – FIFA and the Brazil LOC invited 25 Brazilian-based agencies to submit designs for the Official Emblem of the 2014 tournament. Over 125 submissions were received by the time of the competition’s closing date, which were then reviewed by FIFA and the LOC and eventually reduced to a shortlist of designs.
The task of picking the winner was awarded to a high-profile seven-strong judging panel, largely selected from the host country. This included one of the most influential figures in modern Brazilian architecture, Oscar Niemeyer, designer Hans Donner, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, author Paulo Coelho, singer/actress Ivete Sangalo as well as two leading figures in the football world Ricardo Teixeira (President of the Brazilian Football Federation and President of the Brazilian Local Organizing Committee) and Jérôme Valcke (FIFA Secretary General),.
The judges were asked to rate the designs, giving marks for a number of areas. As well as its overall impression they were asked to assess how it conveyed the spirit of Brazil and the country’s connection with the FIFA World Cup as well as evaluate its creative and artistic merit and uniqueness.
When the judging process was completed all the scores were added together and the winning design was revealed – “Inspiration”, created by Brazilian design agency Africa.
The inspiration for this design comes from the iconic photograph of three victorious hands together raising the world’s most famous trophy. As well as depicting the uplifting humanitarian notion of hands interlinking, the portrayal of the hands is symbolic of the yellow and green hands of Brazil warmly welcoming the world to Brazilian shores.
Victory and union are the two key emotive elements which are vividly depicted through the hands featured in the design. Whilst forming a clear link to the colours of the Brazilian national flag, the green and yellow colours also allude to two of the strongest features of life in Brazil – the golden beaches and beautiful sun reflected in the yellow tones, with green representing the strong tropical interior that Brazil is so famous for. The combination of the strong image, the contemporary typography and striking colours are extremely effective in depicting a modern and diverse host nation.
The vivid representation of the trophy in the emblem is extremely fitting, given Brazil’s outstanding achievements in having won the FIFA World Cup on five separate occasions, more than any other nation.
The message that is clear from this emblem is the idea of the unique bond between FIFA, the FIFA World Cup™ and Brazil, the host nation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™.