The Best And Worst Design Of The 2014 World Cup

From ugly stadiums to underwear slips to new and improved soccer balls

Us nerds at Co.Design have been focusing less on scores and more on all the World Cup-related design (and its 84-year history): the ball, the uniforms, the stadiums, the underwear slips. To whet your appetite for the finale on Sunday, here’s a roundup of the best and worst design pegged to the 2014 World Cup.


BEST: Typographic Posters Lay Out The 84-Year History of the World Cup

These typographic posters lay out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about World Cup history: They illustrate the historical stats of all 32 competing teams, including the date of their first appearance, number of wins, draws, losses, and goals scored. [Link]

Best: The World Cup Soccer Ball

The World Cup soccer ball has come a long way since it’s barely-better-than-a-pig’s-bladder early days. A thick leather ball that made for painful headers in 1930, it has evolved dramatically: into an 18-strip ball not unlike today’s volleyballs (1954); a black-and-white hexagon and pentagon design by Buckminster Fuller (1970); and now, with the Brazuca, the most aerodynamic ball ever made, maker Adidas claims. [Link]

WORST: The Stadiums. All Of Them.

We ranked Brazil’s World Cup stadiums from bad to worst (“looks like a butthole,” says our refined critic of one structure). Why so harsh? Most of the stadiums are criminally wasteful, likely never to be used again after the Cup, and in many cases, people actually died while building them. In 2014. [Link]


BEST: Photos Of The World Cup In The ’70s

If you’re nostalgic for sideburns, these photos of the World Cup in the ’70s remind us why Pelé called soccer “the beautiful game.” [Link]

WORST: FIFA’s Insane Requirements For World Cup Uniforms

FIFA’s design referees enforce some ridiculously stringent rules for their World Cup uniforms (thou shalt not exceed the required stroke width for fonts!). Here are the six craziest.

WORST: FIFA’s Investigation Of Neymar For Unapproved Undies

Among those ludicrous rules? No World Cup-unapproved underwear. When Brazilian player Neymar flashed a sliver of waistband after his team beat Cameroon, the FIFA fashion police cracked down on him. [Link]


WORST: Homophobic Priest Disses World Cup Footwear

Okay, technically, there’s nothing wrong with any design here, it’s how one raving homophobic lunatic interpreted the design. Adidas, Nike, and Puma unveiled some colorful footwear designs this year. Too colorful, apparently, for one raving lunatic priest’s liking: after Russia was knocked out of the competition, Orthodox priest Alexander Shumsky rejoiced, saying the footwear resembled the “gay rainbow” and soccer was a “homosexual abomination.” [Link]

BEST: Beautiful, Non-Cliched World Cup Stamps

These abstract commemorative stamps, by Portuguese design studio Maan, are as colorful a celebration of the World Cup as the players’ cleats. [Link]

BEST: Flat TV Graphics

Maybe 2018’s World Cup will be more fun to watch if these Dutch designers’ mockup for a better way to present soccer on TV, filled with flat, clear graphics, gets implemented. [Link]


BEST AND WORST: World Cup Uniforms Through The Years

Uniforms have gotten many a makeover since the inaugural cup in 1930. If you’re nostalgic for collared, long-sleeved soccer shirts, check out this interactive infographic illustrating the sartorial history of each competing team’s uniforms. [Link]

BEST: Eight By Eight’s Gorgeously Illustrated World Cup Issue

With Eight By Eight, design duo Priest+Grace have created what they call “the magazine the beautiful game deserves.” It’s a quarterly devoted entirely to soccer, and the third issue celebrates the World Cup with eye-popping, comics-inspired illustrations by noted artists instead of the photographs that fill every other publication. [Link]


About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.