the graphic design blog that speaks the truth

Following on from the previous article on the history of the English FA logo I thought it would be unfair to leave out all of the other teams competing in this years FIFA World Cup. This time around I have given my opinion on each design rather than bore you to tears with the history. To make things a little more interesting and competitive I have decided on a winner of the world cup based on the quality of the association with the best logo, rather than team (plus this way it gives England a better chance of winning it). To all non-football lovers this is the last article regarding football – I promise.

Eliminated at Group Stage

North Korea

Unsurprisingly, the most controversial country competing in this years World Cup has the most controversial logo, because technically they don’t have one, it’s just the national flag. Anything that distracts the North Korean’s from the power of the glorious leader is frowned upon you see.


This logo is a refreshing take on your typical run of the mill football crest, but I’m not sure wether it works. Bright red and neon green are a little too saturated and do not compliment each other very well. The football illustration is a bit too simple and becomes falls into the cliche brakcet but I do love the really simple and bold Arabic typography. What’s more alarming is that their website is under construction – which is fair enough, I can’t really talk – but the placeholder looks like the work of a high school design student. Odd.

Ivory Coast

I seriously cannot believe this logo. You can just imagine what was going through the designers head “How do we portray the Ivory Coast? Okay, let’s draw an outline of the map. That looks a bit empty, hmmmm, well what do we have in the Ivory Coast? I know! Elephants!”.

South Africa

Another logo that implements the map of the country, which I’ve never noticed before but it sort of looks like a wolf. The design as a whole reminds me of Mastercard which is quite apt considering money rules the roost in football these days. I also imagine this doesn’t scale very well due to the multiple horizontal lines.


Very simple and clean. I think the type could possibly be Arial italic. As a whole the design looks a little like a piece of MS WordArt or the result of playing a computer game where you can make an emblem for your team. Also, notice how the white space in between the two blue strokes on the shield is inconsistent all the way round?


Portugal’s national football association logo looks a little too religious to be associated with sport. You can only just about make out “F.P.F” which is poorly placed and the colour doesn’t offer much help. The strangest elements are the 5 domino shapes in the centre of the enclosure, if anyone knows what these symbolise I would to know.


The first time I saw this logo I thought of headbands and then I asked the question ‘is that supposed to be a leg?”. of course I am referring to the ‘F’, but why is it a different weight to the adjacent ‘A’s? I don’t like how they both have a different style, especially as they are part of the same acronym.


Another map, but at least it’s a little more subtle. I think this design looks more suited for a car company rather than a football team. I can definitely imagine it working well on the front grill of a four door family saloon. However, I do like how the treatment of the football is somewhat unique.


Due to it’s resemblance to a medal, Paraguay’s Football Association’s logo reminds me of the military, almost renegadesque. It may also be due to the fact that the four Paraguay flags look like the crosshair of a gunsight.


Be careful when reading the text on this logo as it may give you a sore neck. I’m beginning to wonder what all the single stars stand for? I always presumed that a country that had won a world cup was allowed to feature a star above their emblem or as part of the design, such as England, Germany & Brazil etc. Cameroon & Paraguay have never won it so maybe it was to fill white space? Or in this example, green red & yellow space.


The four stars in this logo make sense as Italy has won the competition four times. You would think that a country with such a glorious footballing history would avoid cliches in their logo. The shape surrounding “FIGC” has been done a million and six times.


I’ve never seen a green eagle, until now. The illustration could be improved if some of he fine details were removed. Worryingly, an eagle that size would have to have the balance and skill of Lionel Messi to stand on a ball like that without falling over. I also think Eurostile was a poor choice for the font, as it is very square compared to the circular enclosure.


Why are there 4 stars? Haven’t Uruguay only won twice? Regardless, there is a lot going on here even though all the lines for the elements are very clean. The biggest mistake is the use of the colour red for ‘AUF’, this would look a lot better in white. Red on the gold is too much of a contrast.


Whilst being very simple, this logo is uninspired but I do like the colours. I’d like to know if the shapes in the four red quadrants are characters or 4 crowns rotated 90 degrees each time.


Brazil have the most stars as they are the most successful having won it 5 times. This logo is probably the most familiar of the 32 featured in this article. The colours are taken from the Brazilian flag which look great, even when placed on a yellow kit. Helvetica is a lazy choice though.


The design for Chile is almost like two crests within one which creates a rainbow effect. The shield in the centre seems irrelevant and it’s dimensions look squashed which don’t seem to fit within the circle enclosure.

Last 16


This is a clever way of symbolising football without drawing one, which makes the Slovenian Football Federation logo stand out from the other countries. It does however look slightly unbalanced but I think this adds to illusion of the football.

United States

The only reason I included the USA in the last 16 was being of the movement on the soccer ball. It might be the colours also. What I don’t like is that anyone who doesn’t know what the logo is for could possibly read the type as “UOS”, and also the fact that the stars make it look like they have won the competition 3 times. That’s cheating.


The standard is finally getting a little better, which is always the case after the group stages. The football here is simple, like most of the other countries but it’s interesting how the coloured bands wrap around which seem to form a scarf shape, showing the associations support for the game.

New Zealand

The great thing about New Zealand’s sports teams logos is that they all feature the fern leaf, each drawn in a slightly differently style, almost like sub brands of the country itself. The sans serif type used here is a good choice so not to distract from the beauty of the memorable icon.


I chose Mexico’s logo to make the final sixteen as it is not your typical run of the mill crest as the banners are quite unusual. The central medallion illustration reminds me of ancient Mexico alongside the eagle which is taken from the national flag. I’m not sure the thin outer grey stroke is needed.


The football here is the most unique I have seen of all the countries, the abstract shapes give a modern look. The negative space behind it also gives a sense of movement. The smaller crest, which will get lost at smaller sizes is taken from the Slovak national flag.


This is a beautiful crest that definitely looks Danish. The central custom drawn letters are eye-catching and also the treatment of the ‘D’ in ‘BOLDSPIL’ is unexpected. My only worry is that maybe it looks a little too weak for a logo affiliated with sport.


The German Football Association should be proud of this logo, in particular the DFB mongram in the centre which is timeless. It almost has the same characteristics of the Volkswagen logo due to the sharp lines within the round enclosure.


South Korea

This tiger looks like he means business, and he’s well drawn too. The type treatment is interesting, though I wonder if it might be beneficial to see some variations of the A.


A great quirky bird illustration, which makes a nice change from the traditional literal drawings of animals in sports logos. I wish that the type was squarer to match the sharp angles of the bird and also less detail on the football. The colours are very striking.


This is a very interesting mark that breaks the mould for a sport logo. I like how the stars subtly hint at the Australian flag. It’s interesting to see that there is both a Trademark and Copyright symbol but I think what is more worrying is that the typeface is Copperplace Gothic, which doesn’t match at all.


Perhaps the most prestigious of the bunch. It’s clean, regal, and typical of an old school crest design. I would have initially eliminated this logo at the group stage as the lion on the crest used to be pink!



I just love the little details in the new redesign of the English FA crest. For example how the right back leg of the smallest lion has been adjusted to fit, it’s not just a copy and paste job. I also think that the type treatment matches the clean lines. The second best lion in the tournament.

3rd Place


This is a fantastic illustration which cleverly depicts a sense of royalty without being overly obvious. However, some of the curves look a little unrefined and I wish that the diagonal stroke on the N was the same weight as the rest of the characters. Do you think the lion’s tongue looks a little like the certain sports brand? Maybe it’s subliminal….



Clean lines are synonymous with Swiss design and this logo fails to disappoint which is refreshing. The typography is inspired and has been carefully integrated into the mark. I think that the figure could be improved slightly, especially the arms.



The team may have fallen to pieces at this years tournament but their logo holds everything together. With well known shapes or images it can be difficult to achieve originality, especially when illustrating animals, but this logo is unique and exudes national pride. The only thing I don’t like is the harsh blue to red gradient at the bottom of the enclosure.

It’s no surprise that a lot of the developing countries use logos that look dated or cheap & it’s no coincidence that the larger & more successful footballing countries have the best logos, it’s down to investment. Having said that a logo that is steeped in tradition and means something to it’s owner rather than a modern fancy illustration just for the sake of it can also be a lot more valuable.

Which logo is your winner?



  1. 08/07/10
    7:19 pm
    Hi, Uruguay has 4 stars because FIFA counts 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games as World Championships.
  2. 08/07/10
    8:23 pm
    A nice compilation, but most of the art above are really team crests, not logos. Many of the older (European) clubs marks are based on visual tradition of heraldry, not on the modern-day notion of identity design. This is a subtle, but important delineation, and it affects how we, as designers, discuss and critique it.
  3. 08/07/10
    8:30 pm
    @nelo thanks for the confirmation, very interesting @Doug Bartow I agree that these are indeed crests but in todays football climate where money rules football with an iron fist you could say that teams are seen as businesses than teams as such. Take a look at the Manchester United crest for example. When they floated on the stock exchange they removed the words "Football Club". It's a sad state of affairs and I wish that football could be just seen as two teams competing against each other, but it's much more than that these days. Football teams are now perceived as brands & opportunities for investment and therefore I think it's safe to say that the crests that identify them are logos also.
  4. 08/07/10
    8:48 pm
    Nice roundup. My favourite is the Danish, for the classy execution and the sense of history. Also agree that referring to the heraldic routes of these designs is really useful and interesting.
  5. 09/07/10
    5:12 am
    Francisco Belard
  6. 09/07/10
    5:22 am
    Awesome list Gareth! Personally, the Swiss logo would have gone down in the group stages as the style doesn't flow well into the character outline (as you mentioned), and the AS being on a different layer to the F creates some weird negative space between the text lines for me. I think Germany or Brazil would have been the winner for me, both are very distinctly related to their respective countries, and both offer a very modern & clean layout with great balance. I think Germany would have won by a nose because of it's uniqueness though. I'm really disappointed with my homeland of Australia for their font choice, but I really like the mark (and the A-league one is decent too).
  7. 24/07/10
    2:42 am
    Nice selection, imho you can make some easy-to-make reasearch before posting article, e.g. you can use Wikipedia to find basic information about Cameroon - and this is answer for your doubts about logo.
  8. 13/10/10
    7:09 pm
    I just appreciate all the work behind this review. Thanks Gareth! I don't know if you're getting paid or not, but it was very useful and refreshing, entertaining and informative as well. I now feel inspired to start with my new logo design project due yesterday... as usual :)
  9. 16/02/11
    9:15 am
    Great post. You seem to have a good understanding that how to design a professional logo. When I entering your blog, I felt this. Come on and keep writing your blog will be more attractive. To Your Success!
  10. 29/05/11
    12:11 am
    Really loving the reviews. I m glad my country's (Ghana) made it to 'your' last 16 as well.
Voice Your Opinion

Thanks for your comment, it will appear here once it has been moderated.