Mountains. Flowers. Hearts. Stars. No, these are not elements of a new children’s breakfast cereal – they are visual signifiers of the world’s second–most prominent international football tournament.
They also indicate the extent to which UEFA – and their local organizing committees – have commissioned ever–more elaborate and expensive brand identities to define the European Football Championship since 1996.
Graphic design has an captivating relationship to the game of football, particularly with regard to professional club identities developed or redefined in the modern era. The United States, in particular, had a great many adventurous insignias created in the late sixties and seventies for its brand–new soccer teams; unshackled from the burden of history, tradition, and ethnic association. Teams such as the San Francisco Gales, New York Cosmos, or Atlanta Apollos adopted minimal identities clearly inspired by the style of modernist graphic artist Paul Rand – largely regarded as the father of modern corporate design. The adoption of this aesthetic showed an ambitious vision to lay lasting and professional foundations in North America. A patently patriotic and singular visual manifesto, here the ideals of American corporate mobility were cunningly applied to sport.
Of course, these homegrown design methods were actually German, Swiss, and Dutch in origin; and Paul Rand was actually Peretz Rosenbaum, son of immigrant Jews in Brooklyn.
Yet, such is design; so often maintaining an oxymoronic nature. Paradoxically, the most meticulous work is usually the simplest, and a successful solution can have most any ideology grafted onto it after the fact.The 1960 logo (and 64, 68, 72, 76, 80, 84, 88, and 92)