8 Brilliant (and Weird) Art and Design Projects for the World Cup 2018

We’ve received hundreds of World Cup-related projects across illustration, design, animation and even embroidery. We’ve looked through them all so you don’t have to – to bring you only the best and most inspiring projects from around the globe. 

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia starts this week, and hype has been settling in as teams gear up for one of the most coveted football competitions. This year it will consist of 64 matches in 12 stadiums across 11 host cities, with the final match set for Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

You may have noticed a lot of posters, television ads and social media initiatives popping up in the run up. With kick off taking place very soon, we celebrate the best art and design projects of the World Cup, including the ambitious, beautiful and downright strange. We feature the World Cup official poster by Igor Gurovich, television spots for ITV and the BBC, Soviet era-inspired wall charts, and personal projects including Joe Waldron’s slick profiles of famous players and Panini Cheapskates pencil drawings for charity.

We begin with the a less-than serious look at some of the World Cup’s iconic moments.

Weird World Cup

By Gordon Reid and Callum Stephenson

London-based designers Gordon Reid and Callum Stephenson invited 20 other creatives – including Hey Studio, the Yarza Twins and Ben Hasking – to create pieces of work based on their favourite, hilarious and weird moments of previous World Cups. These have been printed onto limited edition beer mats which will be showcased in pubs around London, or you can pre-order your own packs for £5 here. They’ve dubbed the project Weird World Cup.

All money raised will go to charity Football Beyond Borders, which is currently fundraising for a new multi-purpose space in Brixton – acting as a ‘safe haven’ for young people in London from disadvantaged backgrounds. Learn more about the project here.

See all the football beer mat designs.

World Cup Papercuts

by Noah MacMillan

LA artist Noah MacMillan has produced a personal project that commemorates a qualifying country every day in the lead up to the 2018 tournament. These colourful papercuts manage to incorporate national colours and world-famous emblems in wonderfully eye-catching collages.

“As an American soccer fan,” Noah says on his project, “most of the time it feels like I’m living with my own private hysteria (anybody want to hear my 14 theories about Arsenal’s summer transfer strategy? No?)”

“For one month every four years, though,” he continues, “the rest of the world joins me in losing their minds over the game. The World Cup is loud, colourful, chaotic, inspiring, and corrupt. Above all, it’s a huge global party (and) I wanted to try to translate that energy into a series of illustrations.” We think he’s done a good job of it, to be honest.

BBC promo 

by BBC Creative, Nicos Livesey, London Embroidery Studio

BBC Creative chose the London Embroidery Studio to create an embroidered stop frame animation for its World Cup television trailer – and it’s by far the standout World Cup creative project so far.

With a brief outlining the use of Bayeux Tapestry and the graphics of historical posters from the Soviet Union as inspiration, designer Lucie McKenna tells It’s Nice That the team spent months working on the project. London-based animation director Nicos Livesey, who’s worked with Adidas, BBC and Channel 4, turned the beautifully detailed embroidery into a fast-paced, stop frame animation.

Check out final piece.

The animation celebrates the spirit and passion surrounding football through images of players, teams and pitches and recounts of a number of memorable moments, including Gazza’s tears in 1990. In total the team created 650 frames, at 28cm x 19cm, each taking around three hours to digitise and two to three hours to stitch.

Panini Cheapskates

by Alex and Sian Pratchett

Continuing on from 2014 and 2016, British couple Alex and Sian Pratchett, aka Panini Cheapskates, will attempt to draw every single sticker in the FIFA World Cup official sticker collection by Panini – and all within the timeline of the World Cup – so that’s around 150 hours of drawing over 32 days. Here’s an example of the Panini stickers they drew for the UEFA Euro 2016.

Alex and Sian have already set up an online giving page which you can donate to selected charities including Cancer Research UK, MacIntyre and Nordoff Robbins.

“Despite drawing over 1,500 of these little guys over the past four years, we’re still pretty hopeless. We’re remarkably resistant to improvement,” Alex told us

To keep up with their progress, follow Panini Cheapskates on Twitter.

Wall charts

by Studio Blackburn, Nirvana CPH

London’s Studio Blackburn and Nirvana Creative Production House (CPH) have collaborated once again on a range of design-led Russia World Cup wall charts, inspired by the style of Soviet-era football teams, Russian Suprematism and the early 20th century art movement.

The wall charts are a way for football fans to keep track of results during this year’s football World Cup, set to kick off on June 14. Fans can write down the scores of every match.

The design of the wall charts depicts a deconstructed football pitch alongside bold Russian language typography, with a nod to this year’s Lev Yashin inspired World Cup official poster. Fans can choose between red, white and blue – the colours of the Russian flag.

“We wanted to offer fans an alternative to the garish and unattractive wall charts many fans will be used to putting up with as they plot their team’s progress during international tournaments,” founder of Studio Blackburn, Paul Blackburn, explains.

The wall charts can be backed on Kickstarter, with early bird backers able to claim their chart for a reducer price of £20. Backers can also opt for the limited gold foil version for £50, although the charts will ship to the UK only. The Kickstarter has a goal of raising £5,000 by May 29, with an estimated latest delivery date of June 12, so you can get marking results in time for kick off.

World Cup official poster

by Igor Gurovich


The renowned Russian artist Igor Gurovich has chosen Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin (debated as the greatest goalkeeper in footballing history, and a symbol of Russian football) as the central figure for his work on the 2018 FIFA World Cup official poster.

He also incorporates 1920s-style, post-constructivist graphics and posters, with work from Dziga Vertov and the Stenberg brothers as points of inspiration. Russian post-constructivist posters have become one of the most iconic elements of Russian history, says Igor, whose poster plays on the fact that this historical visual language is “unquestionably thought of as Russian”, he tells Dezeen.

According to Igor, the rays of sunshine in the background of the poster are based on a motif commonly seen in constructivist artworks. They are intended to symbolise the “tournament’s energy”.

ITV promo 

by ITV Creative

Similar to the BBC, ITV has already unveiled its World Cup promotional spot for its coverage of the tournament. Created with German director Hauke HIlberg, the promo touches on iconic historical moments from previous World Cups using a dizzying combination of existing footage, social media integration, post techniques and specially shot scenes. The voice over, which calls football fans to forget the highs and lows of previous World Cups, is Ashley Walters. It’s an interesting concept, but brings a fresh perspective.

Watch it below.

However, one part of it has been accused of being very similar to an older illustration by Yuko Shimuzu for football magazine 8 by 8.

We recently interviewed Yuko about her work on The Folio Society’s new collection of Japanese folk tales.

Street Child United World Cup

by Tim Vyner

On the topics of creative projects for a good cause, British illustrator and lecturer at Bath Spa University Tim Vyner has created a series of reportage illustrations of children playing football during the Street Child United World Cup. It’s an event that took place just before the World Cup which connects street children from across the globe to take part in their own international football tournament.

Tim drew a series of reportage illustrations on his iPad telling the stories of young children from 24 national teams playing football. Here’s an animation showing his creative process of a team warming up before the game.

World Cup portraits

by Joe Waldron

Joe Waldron is a freelance illustrator in Bristol, represented by Jelly London, who creates editorial illustrations for a number of high profile publications, such as The Washington Post, The Telegraph and the Financial Times.

Using his signature angular characters, he’s put together this wonderful collage of football players ahead of the World Cup. His work has also been exhibited at The London Transport Museum, Jaguar Shoes & Urban Outfitters.

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