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The secrets behind the Euro 2016 branding

Euro 2016 logo

More than one billion fans tuned in to watch the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the European Championships isn't far behind in terms of global attention. So for branding teams, the pressure is on, and there are many layers of complexity in terms of what your designs need to achieve.

"It isn’t like branding a normal event," says Miguel Viana, now an independent designer, who previously worked on branding Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 at Brandia Central. "You're not just trying to promote a sport, you're also building a destiny for a city, a region, a nation. This is what suddenly transforms a project into an intricate and complex puzzle.

Euro 2016 isn’t like branding a normal event

"The survey and analysis you have to develop to understand the background related to the host country is overwhelming. Cultural aspects, historic information, myths and legends – these are all important sources of inspiration. You need to establish a sense of identity, relevance and belonging, engaging worldwide audiences as well as the host country’s citizens."

Euro 2016 branding

The logo design incorporates representations of several historic art movements, including fauvism, abstractionism, art deco and avant-garde

Strong art tradition

Brandia Central's identity for Euro 2016 is a great example of these principles in action, combining themes of festivity, football and France. Intriguingly, the team chose to represent the host nation through its strong art tradition.

Consequently the logo design incorporates – albeit subtly – representations of several historic art movements, including fauvism, abstractionism, art deco and avant-garde.

Linking art and football is a smart move on Brandia's part, tapping in to the idea that the game is an artform in itself (the working concept was 'celebrating the art of Football'). Meanwhile, the red, white and blue colour scheme and the centrality of the Henri Delaunay cup signify Frenchness and football in a more obvious fashion, and the brightness and verve of the design tie it all together in a suitably festive manner.

Euro 2016 branding

The brightness and verve of the Euro 2016 design tie everything together in a suitably festive manner

For the World Cup 2018 logo, Brandia performed a similar deep-dive into Russia's national culture. Again based around the tournament trophy, their emblem drew on both the nation's rich artistic tradition and its history of adventurous innovation – with both iconic Russian art and Sputnik, the world's first satellite, represented within the design. The space industry returned the compliment, and the design was launched on the international space station.

This content is taken from a larger article that originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 254. Buy it here.

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. He is author of Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books. He was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine.