Everyone’s Going Gaga About The Mediocre Women’s World Cup Poster

Does this poster really do justice to the "beautiful game?"

FIFA has just unveiled its official poster for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada—to be the biggest women's event in FIFA history—and the reaction among the sports blogosphere has been one of awe: it’s been called "amazing," "gorgeous," "ridiculously good," and "one beautiful piece of art." According to FIFA.com, the poster was "designed to reflect the diversity of Canada’s multicultural society and capture the essence of the great Canadian outdoors."

With an illustration of a woman’s face and hair abstracted into a colorful mountainscape and illuminated by a glowing orange soccer ball of a sun, the poster has a slightly imaginative design, but the giddy reaction is a sign of how low the bar is for sports-related graphics. Its faux-parchment background and kitschy quilt-inspired patterns make it look a bit like fan art made for Disney’s Pocahontas.

And while long flowy lady hair may be pretty, the poster doesn't actually depict anyone playing soccer—if you're going to go literal and illustrate a person, you might as well make sure that person is playing the sport the graphic is advertising. (Perhaps next time FIFA should tap designers at Eight By Eight, whose recent gorgeously illustrated soccer magazine did artistic justice to the "beautiful game.")

Hey, at least the poster isn't as ridiculous as the Women's World Cup's official mascot, Shuéme the Young Female Great White Owl (four adjectives in this bird's name!), who looks like an anime character. FIFA describes her as "very much a modern owl" with "stylish hair that exudes self-confidence and pride." Discuss.

[Image: Women's soccer via Natursports / Shutterstock]

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28 Comments

  • Tamba Samba

    Sounds like someone's a hater... It's a beautiful poster. Obviously, CAREY DUNNE doesn't know much about soccer. She's heading the soccer ball above her head how is that not a "person is playing the sport the graphic is advertising"...?

  • a7664426

    I saw this article on flipboard a few days ago and was really annoyed by it. Good to see people aren't accepting it just because it's published on a design website.

  • Richard Casimiro de Lima

    I love the poster. The "sun ball" could be made to better resemble a real football and re-positioned to increase its significance in the poster's message. A water mark of the map of Canada would also strengthen it further. Nice, really nice.

  • John Pettengill

    I like the poster. They key illustration is strong, love the references to Canadian geography and native culture. It's place on the poster itself is a little... lopsided, small, looks like it was just plopped down there, although I appreciate the ball's focus near center. The heroism expressed, and the abstraction, almost remind me of Italian futurists, but the patterns are a little too juvenile to do them justice. (But I've always been partial to super simple saul bass style illustrations, who can blame me.)

    The faux-parchment photoreal background is terrible, as the text/logo layout and alignment could easily be improved.

    All that said, I like it.

  • Ed Bentinck

    Wow, I thought this was Fast CoDesign - where the posts are usually well-informed and articulate - not Mashable? Carey obviously didn't compare this to any of the Men's World Cup posters...

  • dcqz9n3+zjuy1g

    Carey, you clearly lack the information or knowledge base to understand where this piece is coming from. I suggest that before you write your next article, you spend a few minutes building a deeper understanding of the art forms you are critiquing.

    A simple Google search would show you the works of Canadian aboriginal artists (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Group_of_Seven) and how such art looks and is celebrated in Canada (http://wag.ca/art/exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions/display,exhibition/144/7-professional-native-indian-artists-inc).

    To describe such art as "faux-parchment background and kitschy quilt-inspired patterns make it look a bit like fan art made for Disney’s Pocahontas." without actually informing yourself of its potential inspirations is naive, unprofessional, and quite rude.

  • Nathaniel Taylor

    I'll venture to say that most soccer fans are unfamiliar with Canadian aboriginal art or the Group of Seven. But I could be wrong.

    But the fact that the poster references this style isn't the problem- the problem is that it has almost nothing to do with soccer. It could be used for a Women's Film Fest, if we swapped the soccer-sun for a reel.

  • John Pettengill

    Oh, so if they changed pieces of the poster it could be appropriate for another event? Like if people were playing soccer but then we just changed it so they were playing football.

    Uh, okay.

  • Ed Bentinck

    I agree that they could have depicted the woman with a better pose - with more of a suggestion of movement. That said, I think this is a far better design than most of the previous World Cup posters. Just look at this atrocity from Germany 2002: (http://store.fifa.com/67562.html)

  • Dãnny Hilliard

    This poster is fine. How do you know the lady isn't playing soccer? Sometimes in soccer... the ball is above your head. If you don't know that.... stop writing articles about anything related to soccer. I imagine this article was simply to grab attention based off of the popularity of the poster in an attempt to get a little revenue. That should be much more embarrassing to you as a "writer" than anything related to this poster. Go away with your trivial articles and opinions.

  • Chakib Tsouli

    For you, a creative or someone interested or having a good understanding of graphic design, it might seem "ridiculous", but for the masses, people who don't know much things about graphic design and arts, it looks beautiful, they don't have enough knowledge and understanding of this field to carry a criticism on this poster. But hey, the guys at FIFA who approved this, they don't have that understanding either (just look at the Facepalm in Brazil World Cup icon), I am quite sure the agency who made this poster had done better proposals and they got rejected ... It's the life of a graphic designer, sometimes you are too embarrassed to feature some designs in your portfolio because you know you could do better but the client always goes for the terrible proposal.

    I am a graphic designer for 7 years now, and I agree with you that the poster isn't the best, and they could do better .. But trust me, I've seen worst.

  • Namu Williams

    The author (and I use this term loosely) of this article is so far off base, I imagine there are some behind-closed-doors discussions taking place about whether she should continue to work for FastCo.

    And, if not, there should be,