Sometimes the fan art is better than the real thing, as we discovered with David Watson's own take on football tournament posters for Euro 2012
Olympics logos and World Cup posters tend to be popular topics with graphic designers, particularly those who love sports. Everyone has their own iconic favourites. David Watson, design director at Treble Seven in South West London, has combined his treble passions for football, graphic design and typography, and come up with a series of retro-inspired posters for the current Euro 2012 Championships being held in Poland and Ukraine. They are rather striking in their minimalism, so we asked him about the project...
Designers love discussing those classic World Cup posters, but you don't tend to see much great graphic design associated with regional tournaments. Why did you decide the Euros needed some posters?
I've always had a huge interest in football and sports-related graphic design and have been lucky enough to work throughout my career with various sports organisations including the FA, Football Foundation, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Chelsea, the RFU and International Tennis Federation. And, I was shortlisted for the London Olympic 2012 Bid identity a few years ago.The current eurotwentytwelve project is I suppose an extension to previous self promo projects.In 2010 I designed a World cup poster to support UNICEF/Socceraid followed by my Premier League fixture posters. Following these designs I wanted the current eurotwentytwelve designs to have have a wider design appeal - more restraint, more minimal. I'd be a fool not to acknowledge the hat tip I'm giving towards Swiss graphic design history.
Tell us about the design and the repeated use of the circle?
The brief to myself was quite simple. The circles represent the ball, I've used the national colours from the flags and kits of each team, and typographically I've given only the basic information for each country's group matches. In terms of longevity, the designs hopefully will be relevant beyond the current Euros as essentially they are promoting each country's football team. The type can be omitted and the design remains strong. I'm quite looking forward to applying the same design thinking to the 32 World Cup teams in 2014.
One might easily describe them as modernist and minimal, and quite unlike the fervour, decadence and controversy that football is associated with at the moment. They are quite unlike a lot of sports-related design right now as well. Was this a conscious decision?
Yeah, I think the designs are intentionally minimal as a reaction away from current sports graphic design, with shattered glass fragments and so on. But hopefully they're not too mundane. I'm really interested in developing the designs away from just flat prints and posters and have produced a series of desktops and iPhone screens, and t-shirts. I want to demonstrate how they would work in branding environments and situations. I'd eventually like to produce something to document the designs - maybe a newspaper, book and screenprints.
Everyone has a favourite old World Cup poster. What sports related designs have influenced you?
Obviously the classics like Munich in 1972 and Mexico in 68, and this programme from when my beloved Newcastle United last won a European trophy.
So, as a football fan, who are you tipping as champions?
Before the first games I said the Netherlands looked really strong favourites but now I don't think you can look beyond Spain or Germany. Russia are possibly the dark horses. I'd love it if England could somehow totally exceed all expectations, but I'm dreaming though!
If you'd like one of David Watson's designs, as a high quality giclee print, drop him a line.