Nike underscores their ‘design’ brand credential with World Cup typography

Creating Remarkable Brand Design Gestures
A big thanks to NIKE from all of us who burned the midnight oil watching the World Cup for making our viewing all that much more pleasurable. If you’re a World Cup fan and you have the misfortune to be in Australia for the tournament you have no choice but the stay-up until all sort of ungodly hours to watch the matches. If you’re a typography fan, then you’ll almost certainly have noticed the work NIKE did for the 2014 Cup, designing several custom fonts for team kits including two collaborations with renowned graphic designers, Wim Crouwel (Netherlands) and Neville Brody (England).

The NIKE brand has long held ‘Design’ as one of their brand values, and the kit design presented the perfect opportunity to let their brand sing. Stu McArthur, Design Director for NIKE Football explains; “We design unique fonts for the best NIKE teams as an extension of the ‘pride’ elements of each kit design. The fonts are created with a focus of being culturally relevant, as well as playing a role in completing the kit’s overall design. Functionally, we are also looking to improve legibility for the spectators at home and in the stands.”

Case Crouwel by NIKE football

Case Crouwel in the Dutch home colors

Based on the typeface ‘Gridnik’, the lines inside the numbers are reminiscent of the numbers famously seen in football in the 1970s. To lend a further stamp of authority, each number also houses a small royal dutch football association crest at the bottom.

Floor Wesseling and Wim Crouwel at Crouwel’s home reviewing Case Crouwel

Crouwel and Wesseling making changes made to the dutch team’s typeface

Design developments of Case Crouwel


David Luiz, Neymar jr. and Thiago Silva in the NIKE 2014 Brazil kits featuring numbers set in the typeface ‘Fundição Brazil’

Fundição Brazil by NIKE football

The style of the name and number for the Brazilian team strip was inspired by a classic fonts widely used on Brazilian hand printed street posters. The name and number on each kit were designed with micro fine pinholes for moisture management and cooling, and a fluorescent outline to aid visibility.

Fundição Brasil in Brazil’s home colors


NIKE 2014 France home shirt

France – ITC Avante Garde
NIKE worked on a stylized version of ITC Avante Garde, that could only be described as ‘French’. The French crest is embroidered on the bottom of each player’s number.

Avant Garde in home colors

NIKE 2014 France away shirt ‘Marinière’

Avant Garde in France’s away colors


NIKE 2014 USA home shirt

USA – REX by font fabric
REX by font fabric is a modern, angular font that recalls the angular numbers used commonly by U.S. sport teams. each number on the back of the jersey houses a small U.S. soccer crest at the bottom.

The REX font in USA’s home colors

NIKE 2014 USA away shirt


NIKE 2014 Portugal home shirt

Portugal – Ronaldo designed by NIKE football
The name and numbers on the back of the home jersey have been custom designed, inspired by the old typefaces used on traditional portuguese signage. The custom font is a modern take on art deco lettering.

Ronaldo typeface in Portugal’s home colors

NIKE 2014 Portugal away shirt

Ronaldo typeface in Portugal’s away colors


NIKE 2014 England home kit

England – Case Brody designed  by Neville Brody & NIKE football

‘it has been an extraordinary honor to design the fonts for the england national team. the core inspiration was to focus on the intersection between flair and workmanlike reliability. small touches emphasize the idea of innovation, invention and surprise, built around a more geometric structure. the industrialized suggestion of a stencil was simultaneously based on a pinstripe motif, combining style with no-frills efficiency.’ – Neville Brody

Rooney’s name and number set in the Case Brody typeface on the England home shirt

Case Brody in England’s home colors

So whilst not every brand can afford to go out and get the likes of Wim Crouwel and Neville Brody creating unique pieces of design as memorable gestures, it costs very little to be clear on your brand values and look for creative and remarkable ways to express them at every opportunity.

Dave Ansett
Chief Creator of Brands
For monthly updates of our thinking, click here to receive our free Brand Newsletter

Spotted on designboom
all images courtesy of NIKE

Post a comment

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,