Could there be a better start to your budding career than designing the Official Mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™? Well, that is the opportunity that Russian design students are being offered as part of the mascot’s design development campaign.
Since World Cup Willie represented England in 1966, the Official Mascot has come to play an increasingly important role in the FIFA World Cup™, acting as a country ambassador and the face of the tournament locally and internationally.
After an online survey run in May this year, ten characters were identified by the Russian public as the preferred options to represent their country at the historic tournament which is set to take place between 14 June and 15 July 2018. Now the time has come for the creative minds of Russia to take the development to the next stage by bringing one of these characters to life.
As of 15 September 2015, Russian students currently enrolled in design schools across the country will be able to register online at www.fifa.com/talisman to take part in the high-profile competition, with the brand design requirements defined by FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
“The objective is to give the young talent of Russia the opportunity to shine and experience first-hand a brand development process for a global event such as the FIFA World Cup,” said Thierry Weil, FIFA Marketing Director. “The competition represents a unique opportunity for students to develop their careers, experience a professional design brief and have the chance to submit their ideas and put their talent to test.”
During a kick-off workshop organised by the LOC, marketing, design and media experts gave design students an introduction into the process, explained the expectations of the design, global trends and the main considerations they should take into account when developing the creative concept of the Official Mascot.
“We are very happy to see many creative young people, students and football lovers from 57 Russian universities answer the call of the Local Organising Committee to help with the mascot’s design development,” said Russian Sports Minister, LOC Chairman Vitaly Mutko.
“For the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup we make this process open and public from the start,” he added. “The mascot is the main symbol of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it must be interesting, easily recognisable, representative of Russia and associated with it. It must be iconic for the FIFA World Cup that unites millions of people across the world.”
Recognised Russian designers gave advice to students during the workshop. “A dream of any artist or a designer is to have his creation viewed by as much people as possible, and the size of the FIFA World Cup audience is not to be beaten,” commented Mikhail Gubergrits, the creative director of the LINII design studio. “The mascot should have charisma, so that he is perfectly recognisable. Watch animations, read Russian fairy tales; it's there that you can find some hints.”
“For a student such a task is a perfect chance, it is more than just a mascot design, it is about creating a story and telling it,” said Igor Lutz, an independent expert. “This character will not just run across a pitch, he will live on TV, in the web, on social media.”
The Russian students will have until 15 November to submit their work, which will initially be reviewed by FIFA and the LOC to identify the strongest concepts. The best shortlisted designs will then be presented to a jury panel for their individual assessment.
Only three mascot designs will make it to the next phase, consisting of a public vote across Russia in September 2016, which will lead to the final crowning of the character that will become the Official Mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.