On a hot Los Angeles evening, from the picturesque Griffith Observatory overlooking the Hollywood Sign, FIFA President Gianni Infantino unveiled the branding for the 2026 World Cup.
It’s a historic date in preparation for any major tournament. the carnival-inspired trophy for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the red, white and blue shield for the 1994 World Cup in the United States; The color scheme, logo, and mascot have all come to be associated with the league they represent. It creates anticipation and fuels excitement. However, this iteration feels less inspiring.
Unlike the Stars and Stripes that adorned the iconic logo from 1994, nothing screams American about this design. According to FIFA, it’s a comprehensive brand, simple and highly customizable. It is a logo that can be easily transferred and used across merchandise, and there will be unique color patterns and logos for each host city.
the athleteInstant Analysis:
This is really? Is this the actual logo of the World Cup? The biggest sporting event in the world?
Yes, this is. – Maurer
How does this compare to previous World Cup logos?
This is decidedly bland and lacks much of the character of previous editions. The tournament has been an exercise in branding since the first edition in 1930, when a local Uruguayan artist painted the event’s official poster, a relatively abstract rendering of a goalkeeper stretched out in flight. It was an instant success and over the following decades the iconography and visual identity of the World Cup became more important.
There was Mexico in the 1970’s, when famed designer Lance Wyman took a stab at design, crafting a visual identity that was concentric, with numbers and letters nested inside one another. That tournament’s official logo and poster, a simple graphic representation of the then-new Adidas Telstar, helped make this ball the sport’s most instantly recognizable piece of equipment. Other tournaments shone as well – Italy 90 brought an almost abstract touch to things, while the 1994 World Cup was certainly a more… obvious one. Red, white and blue, with a soccer ball crossing the red and white bars of the American flag. Years later, the design is still iconic.
“In general, we weren’t very careful, were we?” said Alan Rothenberg, then-President of American Football the athlete last year. “You look at what we did with the logo — red, white, blue, with the American flag and football running across it, rather than something abstract. We were kind of punching people between the eyes.”
Recently, tournament logos have felt a bit standardized, with the overall outline of the logo being that of the Jules Rimet Cup.
They have always incorporated the cultural elements of the host country. In Qatar, for example, the logo was designed to look like a woolen shawl, which is traditional garment in the region. The 2018 World Cup in Russia featured bold colors of red, gold, black and blue. FIFA said it was inspired by centuries-old techniques seen in Russia’s world-famous, centuries-old art.
The logo for this upcoming tournament, which will be hosted by three different nations, looks like a generic exercise in “clean” design, which is the kind of thing we see a lot these days. – Maurer
Why did they make it this way?
FIFA answered questions Wednesday during a session with the national media. One official said the design was motivated by making the brand inclusive, simple, and highly customizable across multiple platforms. FIFA said they wanted to place the World Cup on top of the logo, and wanted to create a system that could be reused in future tournaments and feel “iconic” for all age groups.
The simplicity of the design is a feature of FIFA, not a defect. They’ve seen Gene’s regular crest plastered on T-shirts, caps, boots, on the front of tournament jerseys…everywhere. There are variations on the crest where the “26” is divided into 16 grids, representing the 16 host cities, and more iterations where the numbers have 48 panels, representing the teams in the tournament. FIFA has also created unique color palettes and design inserts for each host city. However, the basic logo will remain the same.
FIFA representatives said the logo design process was led by their in-house branding team, with input from a number of advisory agencies, although they declined to name them. – Maurer
What other path could they take?
Canada has never hosted a World Cup, but the United States and Mexico have, and the 1970 and 1994 tournaments featured some of the best designs in the competition’s history. Perhaps FIFA has considered revamping or reimagining some of those past visual identities, or perhaps crafting a different version of the crest for each host country. Instead, what is presented seems bland and lifeless. Who knows, maybe it will grow on us. we will see. – Maurer
what are they saying
CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani said Wednesday’s launch event was “a kind of kick off, unlike the city launches we had last year”.
“This is really the first before 2026, and then there will be a lot more after that. Cities are obviously really excited, really behind it.” “They were cast last year and now they’re going to get their plumage done with the colors and all that kind of stuff. And so it’s really exciting. And I think we obviously have a lot of work going forward, but I feel like it’s like starting now.”
Montagliani also spoke about the possibility of the United States and Mexico hosting the 2027 Women’s World Cup.
“It’s practical. It’s obviously exciting. Two countries you know, they have facilities and they have a history of regulation. Right now, it’s just the beginning.” “So there is a whole process behind it, we are behind it, CONCACAF is behind it. And let’s see what happens.”
Montagliani added that discussions took place on the issues of covering the Women’s World Cup. “(The discussions) started, I must say, on a slightly different level,” he said. “So it’s moving and I think it’s important that we understand here where we’re coming from. We’re investing in the women’s game, we’re investing in women’s football.”
Infantino addressed safety and security concerns for the 2026 tournament.
Qatar is small, especially compared to North America. We have organized this with the local authorities and authorities and also with the police authorities of all participating countries. We have really established a very strong and strong network of cooperation and everything has gone very, very smoothly in terms of security in the World Cup. I’m sure the same thing will happen here,” he said.
“We come here to bring happiness, passion, and joy to our people, to the locals in America and North America, and to our communities from all over the world that already live here, as well as the fans that come from abroad. … We are already working now, three years ahead, with the police authorities, And government authorities from the three countries, and from those who will be involved, to make sure it will be peaceful.”
(Photo: Harold Cunningham/FIFA via Getty Images)