With the Euro 2020 tournament fast approaching, UEFA needed to develop their brand extension efforts.
Whilst they’d previously done a lot of work on their brand identity, their extension was lacking a coherent strategy. They wanted a style guide that not only helped them unlock licensing opportunities but that had the wow factor. The Ronaldo of style guides. And they picked us to lead the team out.
The formidable opposition
But the opposition was no pushover. They’d lined up with a formation of 3 key challenges. The first was the vast range of different demographics. On one hand, the die-hard football fans, the ultras, the people there through thick and thin. They wanted their merchandise to be design-led, not overly promotional, but still brimming with the heart and soul of their team. On the other hand, the new joiners - people who were happy to get caught up in the celebration and atmosphere of the Euros. They wanted their products to be more playful, and less about the team’s heritage. Throw in kids and family ranges, and you have a lot of different people to cater for.
The second challenge was similar, in that the very nature of the Euros meant a plethora of different nations coming together to play the beautiful game. Each of these countries have their own rich history and strong identity. This meant having to design assets that could be adapted to each of them seamlessly.
And finally, UEFA were keen to have every design decision backed up by research and testing. We’re no stranger to that, but the timing of the turnaround and the need for product-ready assets meant the pressure was on.
Beautiful designs for the beautiful game
And so we started with that all-important research. UEFA had already made some headway, identifying their various demographics. We then built on that research, converting their through ball into insights that gave us plenty of directions to explore. We also conducted a thorough historical analysis of graphic design in football, so that we could build on what had come before.
In terms of assets, we went all out on the attack, eventually creating 6 collections with well over 100 different designs. This included a smörgåsbord of original illustrations that UEFA could take ownership of and license out as and when they needed. It also included a range of applied graphics, instantly ready for action in print, on badges, lanyards, and more. Add to that the packaging design we created, with full retail kits for licensing partners to use in store, and it’s safe to say we were busier than England’s penalty coach.
Our work culminated in a gargantuan 150-page style guide that brought all the collections and designs together in one accessible location. This was everything UEFA needed to communicate with manufacturers and retailers when it came to their brand extension. But as a parting gift we left them a lookbook, packed full of design ideas to inspire licensing partners.
Taking all the nations that had won the Euros previously, we then produced a series of designs that celebrated those victories, giving fans a sense of pride and communicating the vibrant history of the teams.
Back of the net
In terms of results, the England team finished a very respectable second-place, bringing the nation together and… oh… you mean results of our work… right.
Well, our designs were adapted and used by some of the world’s largest brands, including Jules, Sports Direct, and Kiabi. Multiple SKUs were developed using the work we’d produced, showing that licensing partners were able to see what a great opportunity they had to work with UEFA.
And this isn’t the end of our journey with IMG. We’ve now been asked to switch sports and work with them to develop designs for the Rugby World Cup in 2023. We’ll certainly be giving it a good try. Ahem.