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Every four years, the FIFA Women’s World Cup gives all of us something to get excited about, with many of the best soccer players on the planet facing off to bring home the gold for their country. There is no bigger stage for the sport and female athletes, in particular, to shine in ways our society so often makes so arduous.
As the countdown to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand continues (with kickoff slated for that July), our anticipation has been satiated at least for now with the tournament’s official logo, design, and the slogan “Beyond Greatness” dropping last week.
“It was really important that we had a brand that is truly global, but also represents uniquely the two host countries,” said FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer and New Zealander Sarai Bareman during FIFA’s broadcast for the official branding announcement.
The unabashedly colorful, vibrant, and celebratory branding was brought to life by the Toronto-based studio Public Address and LA agency Works Collective who had previously joined forces to create the branding for the LA2028 Olympics. The collaborative creative team worked closely with FIFA and two local women artists from Australia and New Zealand respectively, who were uniquely positioned to imbue the design with cultural motifs and intimacy.
Aboriginal artist Chern’ee Sutton represented the Australian side of the design. She created a collection of patterns, the first of which came composed of U-shapes, ovals, and lines meant to resemble circles of sitting figures, traditional tools used by women called digging sticks, and coolamons (an Aboriginal carrying vessel). Another of her patterns features intersecting dotted circles symbolizing the various communities that will come together for WWC23.
Māori textile artist Fiona Collis took on the New Zealand elements of the branding and found inspiration in traditional weaving techniques and the natural wonders of the country. Configuring repeating triangles to form squares, Collis set out to evoke the power of a uniting collective by abstractly alluding to the co-host city’s many mountains.
The branding’s bespoke typeface was devised by New Zealand type designer Alistair McCready, with letters that are bold, modern, and dynamic. The letterforms themselves harken to the squares used in the tournament’s radial logo.
The WWC23 logo is a departure from World Cup logos of the past, which typically include depictions of the trophy. To set this one apart, both agencies opted to once again pay homage to the cultures of the host nations by using a circular, radial motif commonly used in both New Zealand and Australia. The emblem encapsulates the spirit and values of the region radiating back out into the world, with soccer at its core.
Meanwhile, the patchwork of 32 squares in the logo represents the 32 nations competing in the tournament. The logo design is all the more rich that the project team was composed of artists from over ten countries, hinting at how global collaboration is central to WWC23.
The overarching color palette used throughout the branding system came from Public Address, who selected each hue from both Australia and New Zealand’s rich landscapes, including their rainforests, earth, mountains, water, and cities. The resulting bright pink, red, green, orange, and yellow color scheme is uplifting and joyful, capturing the spirit of the host countries and the tournament itself.
FIFA unveiled a soulful launch film and the tournament brand identity last week. Backed by a spunky, swelling soundtrack entitled “Unity” from electronic musician and producer Kelly Lee Owens and with the “Beyond Greatness” slogan as the main refrain throughout the minute-long video, it’s virtually impossible to watch without getting goosebumps.
“It’s a movement, and we need everyone to be a part of this,” Bareman said at the end of the FIFA broadcast. “Women’s football and what we’re trying to achieve for women in society is absolutely massive. And the platform of the FIFA Women’s World Cup is the biggest platform that we have to achieve those objectives.”
I don’t know about you, but consider my cleats laced!
Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.
Uli Beutter Cohen is the creator of Subway Book Review and author of Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground. She explores belonging to a time and place through writing and photography. Her work has been featured by New York Magazine, Vogue, The Guardian, and many more. Uli lives in Brooklyn.
What is the thing you like doing most in the world?
Swimming in the ocean (preferably in a bay) when the water temperature is just right, on a warm summer day with no clouds and little wind (no bikini top, ideally). On a fancy day, I jump into the water off a (friend’s) boat. On a less fancy but good day, a book and a glass of something delicious wait for me on a sandy beach.
What is the first memory you have of being creative?
As a kid, I loved finding objects in the natural world and giving them a new life. I remember making a small hedgehog out of a chestnut and toothpicks. I kept him on my desk forever. I also remember making a print by dipping leaves into paint and pressing them onto fabrics. I loved bringing the outside world in, and I guess I still do it in my creative work today by collecting conversations on the subway and shaping them into colorful, intimate, relatable experiences.
What is your biggest regret?
How have you gotten over heartbreak?
By getting a cat, Ray. He was the sweetest guy and my beloved companion for 18 years.
I just had to say goodbye to him, and I’m grieving him so deeply because he was my constant friend through my 20s and 30s. With his passing, I feel like I also lost a part of myself which is a hard thing to wrap my mind around. Of course, Ray is not really gone, and his spirit is still with me. He’s leaving little signs that he’s not very far, which is what I try to focus on instead of his absence.
What makes you cry?
I’m a triple water sign—I’m completely ruled by my many emotions. Happiness can make me cry just as much as sadness. As I’m getting older, I’m getting better at separating which emotions are meant to be my private experience versus a public one, and I’m having a lot of fun with it (something only a Cancer Sun would say, I know).
How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?
There’s a lot of work to be done, so I usually move right along to the next thing after I accomplish something. I’d like to experience fantastic moments that happen along the way more. I’m inspired by others that revel in their success, and I aim to celebrate more this year.
Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?
What I know is that nothing is ever lost because energy can’t be destroyed. All of us have already lived a million lives, and we will continue to live a million times more. In past life regressions and on psychedelic trips, I’ve seen The Dome where energy is transformed, and I’ve seen that water is everything because everything is water. For me, death is about forgetting everything I think I know and opening my mind to possibilities of transformation.
What do you hate most about yourself?
I don’t like it when I’m not fully myself (I’m meant to be glorious af), but I don’t hate myself anymore. I gave that up when I turned 40 this summer.
What do you love most about yourself?
The fact that I get to live with an unafraid mind (most of the time) in such a pretty body that keeps moving (most of the time) despite any obstacles thrown my way. I love that, in spite of it all, I seem to be determined to thrive.
What is your absolute favorite meal?
The Seafood Bonanza—a buffet of fresh seafood (oysters, clams casino, shrimp cocktail, salmon dip, canned fishes, etc.) that my husband Alec and I prepare for our friends on New Year’s Eve at our apartment in Brooklyn. It’s a tradition and one of the most exciting meals of the year.
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We have quite a ways to go before the norm in the cultural lexicon includes verbiage that encourages, supports, and provides for those that identify as transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming, but, as a society, we are getting better. As allies and friends open their hearts and eyes, the world will become a more educated, open, and safe space for everyone.
And while we do have a long way to go, companies and brands are creating educational and eye-opening moments that give space to those who can educate from experience, passion, and their hearts.
Lyft, the ridesharing service, recently released a collection of license plates designed by transgender, non-binary, and cisgender artists to celebrate their pride and improvement within the world of identity. The artists include Theo Grimes (they/them), Zipeng Zhu (he/him), Melita Tirado (he/they), Barbara Alca (she/they), Milo Wren (they/he), Spencer Ashley (they/them), Shanee Benjamin (she/her), Mich Miller (they/them), and Olivia M Healy (she/they).
Because licenses plates are the tool to help you navigate the correct identification for your ride and pronouns help correctly identify who you are, this collaboration with these artists is fully comprehensive.
Each artist had the creative freedom to create a license plate design that spoke to their identity. Zipeng Zhu identifies with the he/him pronouns, and within his artist statement, he notes, “I decided to create a feminine expression of the He/Him pronoun. As a queer Asian man, the conversation about masculinity and femininity is always around me. I wanted to create something that’s very personal to me but also goes against the gender stereotype.”
Spencer Ashley, an illustrator from Toronto, uses they/them, and they state in their announcement, “My focus for this piece was to showcase why being authentic to your identity is so important. Being open about being nonbinary allows for genuine and meaningful relationships with others. I’ve created something that shows how welcoming people can be when overcoming the obstacles of coming out.”
In a world where pronouns are shared, we become a more understanding and inclusive space where everyone, regardless of how they identify, can feel seen, heard, and loved. So not only are these license plate designs beautiful, but they teach important lessons on self-expression and help bring awareness to the new feature in the Lyft app that allows you to share your pronouns. Additionally, Lyft will be auctioning off the one-of-a-kind license plates, and the auction proceeds will go towards Human Rights Campaign and National Center for Transgender Equality proving Lyft’s ongoing allyship.
While we have a long way to go until we find equality within human rights, when big brands and companies take steps like Lyft has, it inspires others to move in the same direction towards a more inclusive and judgment-free world.
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Geltor is a biodesign company pioneering innovative and ethical consumer proteins that are sustainable alternatives to products like collagen. While biodesign (also known as synthetic biology or bioengineered design) is an exciting, burgeoning industry, it can be a bit mystifying for consumers. And that poses a problem for those in the space like Geltor. To address these public awareness concerns, Geltor recently sought out the masters at NYC creative agency &Walsh in search of an entirely new visual language and branding.
“The Geltor team asked for branding that showcased their core offerings in a way that put focus on beauty and craft,” &Walsh founder and creative director Jessica Walsh explains of the task. “When talking to the Geltor team, we were inspired by how they create their proteins and products. We wanted to create a unique visual world for them that merged inspiration from biodesign, science, nature, and art.”
&Walsh achieved just that, developing a lively visual environment rich with intricate, natural imagery that has a dash of whimsy and imagination. “We first conceptualized the visual direction and created mood boards to run the concept by the client. The mood boards were filled with images of terrariums, cells, science equipment, and beautiful product still life,” Walsh shares. From there, she and her team assembled photo collages, followed by the final 3D visuals.
The central motif of Geltor’s new branding is a series of orbs filled with brightly colored and highly saturated natural elements like tree frogs, coral, butterflies, and fauna. “The shape of the orbs are inspired by cells, and the glass material is inspired by science equipment like glass tubes or Petri dishes,” says Walsh. “We were also inspired by glass orb terrariums, a place for growth and life. Inside the orbs, we wanted to illustrate the concept of life created by biodesign. Various orbs represent different products from Geltor and their benefits. While their proteins are completely animal-free, they take inspiration from the tree of life: nature, marine life, animals, etc. We wanted the visual worlds inside the orbs to celebrate the inspiration behind each product and the custom ingredients that they create with their clients.”
The branding for those in science-based fields can often feel sterile, stark, and uninspiring. But thanks to &Walsh, Geltor now has a look and feel as innovative and exciting as their work. “It’s rare to push B2B work into a space that is visually compelling like this,” says Walsh. “Many players in the space use cold branding and imagery, such as stock photography of scientists in lab coats and generic nature photos. I’m really proud we were able to do something that referenced nature and science but became unique and own-able for the brand.”
While there is still a lot for the public to learn about the biodesign industry, it’s undeniable that Geltor’s new branding will spark intrigue and entice consumers to dive in.
Creative Direction: Jessica Walsh
Strategy: Lauren Walsh, Angie Shih
Copywriting: Stephanie Halovanic, Samantha Galvao
Production: Prue Linehan
Design Lead: Soomin Jung, Simoul Alva
Design: Elinor O’Brien, Lucas Luz, Jeremy Rieger, Katyayani Singh, Sasyk Mihal, Matthew Roop, Jenny Jiang, Julian Williams, Jada Akoto, Xiaocha Zhang, James Marshall, Danyang Ma, Riisa Liao, Jiayue Li, Oscar Chen
Illustrations: Jeremy Rieger
3D Illustrations: Lucas Luz, Flavio Carvalho, Victor Murillo Jansegers, David Padilla, Gökhan Tekin, David Porte Beckefeld