Q/ When is a logo not a logo?

A/ When it’s a leaf, mountains, cityscape, person, football, trophy, swoosh, country, date, organisation, tagline.

Canada 2015 World Cup logo

“The design features an abstract interpretation of characteristic elements of Canadian nature, such as local fauna and flora, the sky, the mountains and the cityscape, aiming to portray Canada as an ambitious, modern and passionate host country.”

Quoted from FIFA.com.

It’s always a shame when designers need to tack so many predefined elements onto their work. Not that it’s anything new for FIFA.

Women's World Cup logos

The 2010 men’s tournament in South Africa had similar restrictions (shown at the foot of this World Cup logos showcase), but strangely not for Brazil 2014.

Canada 2015 World Cup logo
Photo via FIFA.com

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January 7, 2013


Excellent examples of over-doing it. Thanks for sharing.

ps…On an unrelated note, I am an aspiring designer trying to increase my online presence with articles of my own, similar to what you do here, but was wondering if I need to contact people directly before using photos they own, etc. Or if simply crediting them is ok? For example, did you have to contact FIFA directly and gain permission to use their photos, or are you legally covered as long as you credit the source?
A link or two to some copyright articles might be of some help as well, if you have written any, that is.
Thanks in advance for your help.

Being a Canadian has nothing to do with my comment. I do like the logo, however I am not crazy about the gradation effect. It does however fit the occasion. For an event as such you would want all that jazz but held together, which the other designs are lacking but this one is done well. My only dislike it the top right circle, not sure what that is or signifies (it seems to be apparent in all previous ones, so it is the original logo I assume) If so, why would they keep it?

It seems to me that a little thinking and planning would save a whole lot of trouble and embarrassment. Someone needs to sit down and determine what the logo needs to accomplish and then find a suitable solution. I guess the upshot is that if you don’t want to plan anything, just throw everything you can possible throw into the “logo” and call it good.

@Sean, is it perhaps a minimalist sketch of the trophy? (I wouldn’t know since I’ve never seen the “Women’s” World Cup trophy!)

I agree that for a one-off event it’s not too bad, it doesn’t need to abide by all the longer-term standards of a logo which will be around to represent a brand for years to come.

As soon as I saw it I thought ‘Canada’, so it must be doing something right!

Use flickr’s creative commons search for images that can be used, for commercial purposes, with credit given to photo author.

This is the easiest way to use imagery…and cover yourself.

For images like David uses here, do a Google search on “fair use.” It’s good to know as much copyright law as you can as a designer/artist.

@Reese, thanks for the tip. I’m surprised someone hasn’t mentioned that to me before. I have been directed to a number of sites with inexpensive images, but I have always just wanted to know where I could get images for free.

I have learned some about copyright law, but even the law itself seems confusing to me, which is why I still don’t have a solid understanding of using images or articles, etc. on my own website.

Thanks again for the information.

What an awesome post!

I agree that this “logo” is an example of what not to do when you have a few great ideas. There’s nothing that gets to me more than when I see a logo that tries to convey too much. A well-developed logo should have one, distinct and clear concept that is portrayed…not three or four at a time. It’s simply overkill.

Even though the Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup logo screams “Canada” right off the bat, it’s definitely not because of all the elements that are designed into it. The maple leaf and the color red alone scream Canada…so the idea of using all of those symbols collectively to represent Canada is inaccurate.

This post just reassures my thinking that I’m a fan of simple, clear and to the point when it comes to graphic design!

I really like the logo. The maple leaf is a clearly defined concept, and the major unifying element. The stylings inside the maple leaf represent different aspects of Canada – Canadians will recognize Indian feathers and pine trees, plus the city that makes up the centre peak.

Good of you to answer Jon’s question, Reese. Thanks for that.

Sean, David was right, it’s a stylised trophy within the circle. The Women’s World Cup trophy (below) is a different from the men’s.

I think that the logo on its own looks a bit busy, however, seeing it in the background in the second picture it fits in well. This could be that the details are not as clear, perhaps less detail within the maple leaf could help?

Also its good to know that information about “fair use”, great question Jon.

People underestimate how much these events are worth to a country so I really like the work on the leaf but why do people need to throw 2 or 3 logos into one though?

I am curious which agency designed the logo? If Fifa would re-name this unveiling as their 2015 poster, then we wouldn’t be cringing so much. When client has a list a mile long of mandatory elements that need to be part of a logo; it’s really frustrating and limiting for the agency/designer. Too bad FIFA can’t get onto the Olympic’s way of branding its games and allow more creativity. The Olympic’s logos (minus the necessary rings and other mandatories) is more of a carte blanche for designers and doesn’t use a template like the FIFA logo.

It may be naivity speaking but I view this as more than simply a logo graphic and more of a badge of sorts. It reminds me of those stickers you see on some PC’s (usualy something like “Energy Rated”or “Windows ceritifed” or something). I don’t think it’s over designed because it’s not “just” a logo. I hope that makes sense.

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