Designing the Typeface for England’s World Cup Kit

Talk about a dream gig – UK font designer Craig Ward was asked to design the font kit for England’s football team when they play in the World Cup in Russia later this year.

“I was contacted in the first instance back in spring 2016 by the kit designer at Nike — Kenny McIver,” Ward explains in an interview with Creative Review. “I actually almost missed the project entirely as he reached out via LinkedIn, which I rarely checked at the time! Obviously, my answer was an immediate yes.”

(Note to self: check LinkedIn.)

The designer was sought out for his existing body of work, Ward notes, adding that “Kenny was also keen for the type to be born out of some kind of experimental process as it was something he liked about my work and wanted to carry through into the design.”

The design project came with some massive inherent challenges. For one, football fans are incredibly passionate about their club branding, so odds are whatever you do, you will alienate some. Secondly, there are 100 pages of guidelines from FIAF regarding kit design. Finally, the brief called for some way to include the iconic Saint George’s cross into the design.

“I really wanted to create something dynamic that hinged on the cross icon, so I modeled and animated the core of the type in 3D software,” Ward explains. “I created a simple grid, drew single line paths for the letterforms and added a cross as a sweep around the path, which went on to inform the inline aspect and the twists in the letters. I’m hoping that the movement that went into creating the letterforms comes through in the final pieces.”

For a football fan like Ward, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“You really don’t get many opportunities like this in a career so I’m hugely grateful to have had a go at creating something interesting that we can own for the next couple of years at least,” he concludes.

And now he waits to see his work shown to an eager world. I know we’ll be watching!