Continuing World Cup Month, we take a look back at the most memorable FIFA World Cup logos and mascots of all time.
A World Cup’s logo and theme can be an integral part in determining what may or may not be a successful tournament, remembered years down the line. That’s not to say a bad logo or mascot will ensure failure, but it might end up taking some of the attention off football and get things noticed for the wrong reasons. Starting at Uruguay in 1930, we’ve gone through World Cup history and selected the most memorable logos and mascots in tournaments past. From the classic and sentimental, to the plain bizarre and avant-garde, here are the logos and mascots that have left a lasting impression.
Uruguay 1930, Logo
Uruguay played host to the first ever World Cup and while they didn’t have a logo in the modern way the tournament does, the official poster for the event was a strong first entry. The art-deco style poster perfectly captured the style of the time, and became the prototype for later posters, featuring a stylized image of a game of football.
Chile 1962, Logo
Chile’s logo for the 1962 World Cup featured a globe that was comprised of a football on top, the world on the bottom, and intersected with a football stadium. The field inside the stadium featured the flag of the host country, while a tonal white, light blue, blue, and beige palette was contrasted with the red of the flag. Text outlining the event bordered the circular design, which proved both classic and edgy.
England 1966, “World Cup Willie”
The first year which featured a mascot, World Cup Willie was a football-playing lion that led England to its first win. The success of Willie and the 1966 World Cup led to the tradition of a mascot being created for each successive tournament.
Mexico 1970, Logo
Considered one of the finest World Cups in history, Mexico’s debut turn as hosts delivered a memorable tournament as well as visual design. One of the most iconic logos, the logo was the first in the Cup’s history to feature adidas’ Telstar ball – the alternating (usually black-and-white) pentagonal and hexagonal design we associate with modern football.
Mexico 1970, “Juanito”
A small boy who was the first human mascot of the World Cup, Juanito wore his country’s national hat, the sombrero. His innocent child-like appeal was mimicked in the tournament, in which not a single red card was handed out.
West Germany 1974, “Tip and Tap”
West Germany chose to go with two small boys named Tip and Tap as their mascots, with the idea behind the multiple mascots being an attempt to strengthen ties between East and West Germany. This time the home nation once again took home the Cup in the end.
Spain 1982, “Naranjito”
Veering away from both animals and humans, Spain opted for an anthropomorphic orange as their national mascot, with the name Naranjito deriving from the Spanish word for the fruit.
Mexico 1986, Logo
Mexico offered another solid design for their second time hosting, with this logo. Comprised of three intersected circles made up of a football and two flat representations of the globe, a simple “Mexico 86” below the graphic is further enhanced with only the country’s red and green colors against black and white.
Italy 1990, “Ciao”
Italy really strayed from the prototype for their turn in 1990, with an abstract character named Ciao. With a football for a head, however no other facial features, its body was a stick figure comprised of Italy’s three colors. Even the mascot’s name is an odd choice, with Ciao being an informal way of saying hello and bye in Italian.
USA 1994, Logo
Holding the highest attendance numbers in World Cup history, 1994’s tournament in the United States was a success and provided a great logo to boot. Based on the nation’s stars-and-stripes flag, the design had all the makings of a great logo – a minimal color palette, clean design, and an image tying both the host country and football.
Brazil 2014, Logo
Taking inspiration from the World Cup trophy, Brazil’s logo is actually titled “Inspiration” and is based on a photograph of three hands victoriously holding up the Cup. It has had its fair share of criticism, however, with suggestions that it resembles a facepalm. Only time will tell whether this was a false move on the host nation’s part.
Brazil 2014, “Fuleco”
Brazil’s mascot for 2014 is Fuleco, a three-banded armadillo that is native to the country. A portmanteau of “futebol” and “ecologia,” he was created to raise awareness and encourage people to look after the environment as well enjoying football.
See the rest of our World Cup Month features here.