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Discussing The Design Merits Of Every Crest At The 2022 World Cup

We are coming towards the final round of group games at this much-condemned, much-watched World Cup, which means we'll be saying ''ooo unlucky'' to 16 of the teams. Before we do though, I thought I'd take some time to appreciate (or not) the design work on display in each of the nations' shirt crests. After all, someone's got to!


The below list is alphabetical, not ranked. I will give a short and serious analysis of each crest, along with a design score between 1 (fairly atrocious) - 5 (exquisite).


Let's go!


Argentina


This isn’t a bad start! A nice flamboyant serif adds flair to an otherwise restrained effort, with the nation’s colours featuring subtly against a classy gold crest. It features two stars, which I feel is a rather unfair score for this solid all-round effort.


Score - 3/5


Australia


Well, this one required some study. Featuring no less than six animals, including a helpful kangaroo and an arrogant Emu, there’s an awful lot going on here. Perhaps too much. Having said that, I’m minded to give credit based purely on the ambition displayed - no other design in this list features six separate crests within a shield being monitored by two animals beneath a star within a crest. I’m not sold on the thick black line though.


Score - 2/5


Belgium


Oooo Your Majesty! Another strong use of gold here, just in case the crown and ‘Royal’ reference were too subtle. However, despite all the regalia, this crest leaves me with an overwhelming sense of despair. I can’t be 100% sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with the yawning black hole about to swallow the Belgian flag and presumably everything else in existence.


Score - 2/5


Brazil


It is unreasonably cocky of this designer to award his own work 5 stars. That’s not how this is going to work, I’m afraid. Having said that, this is a lovely effort. The extension of just the yellow band (being the dominant colour of the kit) through the dark outer ribbon is a nice touch, and the design definitely takes the award for ‘best shaped shield’. You know what? The designer was right - 5 stars it is.


Score - 5/5


Cameroon


Okay, obviously I’ve just been joshing about the stars. I realise they actually represent World Cup wins. Although not always; this one simply represents ‘the star of unity’ on the Cameroon flag. There is certainly a strong sense of unity between the different elements of this badge. So, decent marks for the design, but I’m afraid I can only award 1/5 for the spelling - after all, only 60% of Cameroon's population is French-speaking, while a whopping 25% speak English! Ahhh, I joke.


Score - 3/5


Canada


Wiiiiiiiillllsooooooooon!!!


Score - 5/5


Costa Rica


Costa Rica unveiled this new design last year. It has a very North American feel to it. I can imagine it adorning a baseball cap. It’s perfectly serviceable, just a little lacking in character.


Score - 2/5


Croatia


‘’The transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by sea is a vital trade.’’


So says the IMO (International Maritime Organization), and it’s difficult to disagree. I just don’t understand why the sentiment is being promoted on the Croatian national football team badge? At least the ship-looking shield is adorned with their famous red and white chequered pattern and there's a football… a really, really old football.


Score - 2/5


Denmark


I really enjoy this design. Simple red and white colour scheme, simple illustrations, and a charmingly eccentric font. I love the word, 'boldspil'; I can only assume it means… football? Ball game? If only there was some way of finding out.


Score - 4/5


Ecuador


This is another personal favourite. A gloriously abstract typographic design. I admire the designer’s colour choices here, going with the gold on navy scheme, using only a dash of the rich yellow and red. It would’ve been so easy to overuse those bright colours, which perversely would’ve meant the crest was lost on Ecuador’s bright yellow shirts. Bravo!


Score - 5/5


England


No star? Hard to say whether that decision is down to chronic English modesty, or concern that it would detract from the design. I was about to call this crest ‘classy’ and award it 5 big ones before I noticed the lions were blowing raspberries and, inexplicably, the flowers have fried eggs on them. Shame.


Score - 3/5


France


Now, this is classy. I love the detail of the cockerel’s plumage and the decision to go with such muted colours. The ‘FFF’ looks pretty cool too, although admittedly that was handed to the designer on a plate. One minor drawback is the demeanour of the subject - what a pretentious cock.


Score - 4/5


Germany


Full marks (pun intended) for the effort that’s gone into making this crest look like the goldest thing ever. Pity though, I do like Germany’s usual yellow, black and red. A quick mention also for the first eagle appearance in this list (there'll be many more).


Score - 3/5


Ghana


To me, this design looks a bit cheap. I’m not a huge fan of the font; the typography feels like a bit of an afterthought. Also, the ball just looks odd without a black outline to go with the inner 'stitching'.


Score - 2/5


Holland (that's right... Holland)


I love how hairy this lion is. I also like his Nike 'tick' tongue (unintentional? Who knows - their kit is made by Nike). Also, the shield's shape gives Brazil's a run for it's money, aesthetically.


Score - 4/5


Iran


This one’s a bit… literal. The Iran flag is replicated exactly, above a football with the name ‘Iran’ on it. It has all the exuberance and poetry of a certificate of good conduct from the police. Where’s the joy? This is The Beautiful Game! Come on, Iran, you can do better than this.


Score - 1/5


Japan


Oh, this is more like it. An absolute beauty. The mythological East Asian three-legged crow clearly has an excellent first touch, and isn’t afraid to hold onto the ball, even when the ball is a 10,000 degree bundle of hot plasma (for the slower readers, we’re talking about the Sun, as seen on the Japanese flag). I love the crow’s hyper-focused expression, as if he’s waiting for his fall-back to arrive on the overlap. The red, black and gold trim really pop against the white. Excellent stuff.


Score - 5/5

Mexico


Mexico's Eagle looks like it’s having a hard time balancing one-legged on the ball. Why is it balancing on it? Who can say. Some positives - it does make a nice change for the country’s name to be displayed at the bottom, and the Aztec pattern is rather pleasing.


Score - 3/5


Morocco


This rosette-like little number is rather unusual, and unlike any other crest on this list. That alone wins it a second point, but I'm afraid there isn't an awful lot to get me excited here. The Arabic adorning the roundel is quite pleasing to the eye but the lettering on the vertical bars feels suffocated by the gold trim.


Score - 2/5


Poland


I mean, that bird is bloody hilarious. Look at the state of it! It’s ragged as all hell and in desperate need of a good meal. It looks simultaneously terrified and depressed. I have so many questions. What’s with that posture? And what’s that thing between its legs? Is it being launched into space? Very odd. But you know what? I like it. It’s got character.


Score - 4/5


Portugal


I question the very thick black stroke, but apart from that, it’s not bad. It’s pretty baffling though. I’m getting the religious reference, but what are the blue dominoes for? And why are they all worth five? I do enjoy how it looks like it’s halfway through a transformation from a football crest into a robot warrior, though.


Score - 3/5


Qatar


Hmmm. I know they are the hosts, so it would be nice to say something polite, but I really am struggling with this one. There’s just too much detail on that ball considering it's just one element of a small crest. And I have to say, I’m not big on the gradient, either. Avoids a 1 score though for being so… different.


Score - 2/5


Saudi Arabia


Well, well, well. It seems the Saudi’s have the biggest graphic design budget of all the Middle Eastern countries. This is slick. Eagle? Check. Football? Check. Palm tree? Erm… check! It’s all there, and it all flows seamlessly. Excellent colour work, too.


Score - 5/5


Senegal


See, this is exactly the sort of disaster that Ecuador avoided. Garish, over-complicated and, in the end, a visual mess. Sorry, Senegal! I’ve got to tell it like it is.


Score - 1/5


Serbia


Gold seems to be very popular doesn’t it? Not a lot to say about this one, to be honest. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t particularly exciting either.


Score - 2/5


(South) Korea


No-nonsense Siberian Tiger. Oblong framing. Name underneath in bold capitals. Bosh. Job done. Angular and symmetrical, it just works.


Score - 4/5


Spain


Well, this is different isn’t it? I like the detail here, and the fact that they’ve avoided all the obvious clichés; no football; no country name; no eagle; no stars! It’s a little hard to look at though. I fear staring for too long will damage my retinas.


Score - 3/5


Switzerland


First prize for doing something different (deliberately and well) goes to the Swiss. The funky typography resembles a big ball of cartoon violence, from which a player is escaping with the ball. I’m sure that is in no way what the artist intended, but it’s all about interpretation, and that’s mine.


Score - 4/5


Tunisia


I don’t mean to be rude but a lot of these Middle Eastern crests appear to be the results of primary school design competitions.


Score - 1/5


USA


A very minimalist approach from the USA and, like the Spanish effort, it avoids any football crest clichés. It's not going to win any awards here, but it's nice.


Score - 3/5


Uruguay


If the brief was to create the most inconspicuous crest then Uruguay’s would take top spot, no questions asked. It’s a strangely subdued piece of work, as if the designer had been sedated for the duration of the commission. Take a closer look at that football - it’s wonky for God’s sake! Also, note the four stars, despite the fact that Uruguay have only won two World Cups. The first two stars represent wins at the Olympic Games, before the World Cup was even a thing. Controversial if you ask me…


Score - 2/5


Wales


It’s Wales’ first outing on the biggest stage of all in 64 years, so they really ought to have a solid crest for the occasion… and they have. This is superb. Simple and striking, it also features the one and only dragon on this list. Even Australia didn’t have one.


Score - 5/5



And the winner is...


Well, I guess I have to pick between the 5's (it would be weird if I didn't), which were: Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Wales. It's a tough one, but I just cannot resist that three-legged crow. Japan it is.


Japan takes the title!



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