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Learning (Bad) Graphics Design from the World Cup

While everybody is talking about the World Cup, people such as me who don't like soccer have nothing to do but noticing interesting things, such as the logo of this year's World Cup. Below is a quote from the "Presentation Zen" blog about a German graphics designer talking about the German-designed logo.

Germany's Erik Spiekermann "embarrassed" by World Cup design
Given Germany's history and love of great design, including graphic design, you would think the design for the 2006 World Cup would be remarkable. But is it? At least one German design expert, Erik Spiekermann, thinks otherwise. Spiekermann is one of Germany's most famous designers and typographers and is the founder of MetaDesign, a firm whose clients include such notable brands as Apple, Audi, VW, and Nike. In this interview with Deutche World, Spiekerman says that the whole design concept for the 06 World Cup — including the Mascot and the logo — look to be the result of too many cooks in the design kitchen, a mediocrity resulting from "design by committee."

Design is functional *and* emotional
"Design has a functional role, but it also creates a mood" says Spiekermann. "It has both important functional and psychological roles." Spiekermann thinks that that the overall design of the World Cup suffers from several problems: (1) Too many committees trying to get their ideas in. (2) Design teams aiming to please everyone and offend no one. And (3) too many messages resulting in having no real clear message at all. When all involved try to play nice and no one takes responsibility, says, Spiekerman, you get this sort of bland result as people are afraid to take a risk.

Afraid to polarize? Afraid to take a risk?
There is a saying by many designers that if something is truly remarkable, it is going to be hated by some. Truly mediocre designs rarely evoke such visceral response. This fear of polarizing people often leads to designs that are "safe" and unobjectionable, hated by no one...and loved by no one either. No one has a visceral reaction either way. Sometimes this is desirable and intended. But usually it is an accidental consequence of "playing it safe" or seeking approval of this committee or that focus group, etc.


  • 正如林一峰話齋,閱讀,也是一種 state of mind。
  • 所以不限文字,還有聲音影像一切雜崩能東西,都在涉獵反思消化乾坤大挪移之列。
  • 看重的只有一個字:Insight


I work at Westside Baptist Church. Of course, that doesn't mean they agree with everything I post or link here. Everything here is my personal opinion and is not read or approved in advance. Consider yourself warned.