To anyone who followed the Preliminary Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, it would have been hard to miss the lively colours and animated designs that decorated the stage behind presenters Natalia Vodianova and Dmitry Shepelev.

While the Preliminary Draw marked the first official event in the build-up to the 2018 World Cup, it also provided the debut of the official event branding from the first broadcasted appearance of the Winner’s Trophy to the intricate designs that will visually bring to life every element of the tournament for the next three years.

While many may take these designs for granted, we wanted to give you a look into what is behind the official event branding: the bright figures and colours, and what the images represent.

For the 2018 World Cup, Russia and world football will come together in a magical way. The host country’s rich heritage, vast landscapes, fairy-tale architecture and pioneering space innovation all play their part in creating this unique brand.

Official Emblem
The first introduction to the 2018 FIFA World Cup branding took place in October 2014 with the presentation of the Official Emblem, which was unveiled to the world from the International Space Station. The shape of the Official Emblem takes on the universally recognisable outline of the FIFA World Cup Trophy, while the bold use of red, gold, black and blue was inspired by centuries-old techniques seen in world-renowned Russian art dating back to the earliest icon paintings. On top of the emblem, the magic ball puts the world’s love of football into the spotlight.

Official Look
The Official Look is best described as the environment where the brand lives and its primary role is to “dress” the tournament in a vibrant and exciting way, visually telling the story of this historic event: from the streets of the host cities and FIFA Fan Fests to the all-important stadiums where the main action will be played out. Closely following the design of the Official Emblem, the Official Look gets its inspiration from traditional Russian fairy-tale architecture and natural and historical elements, as well as folk and football icons. The magic ball has been extracted from the Official Emblem and can be seen flying across the different design scenarios, taking the fans on an enchanting journey of discovery across this wide country, revealing its wonders at every turn.

Finally but just as importantly, there is no way you missed the Winner’s Trophy showcased on stage. This gold-plated beauty has a great destiny ahead as it will be kept by the champion of the 2018 World Cup in three years’ time.

All these brand elements will be seen across every possible aspect of the World Cup: from stadium banners to licensed products; pins, key rings, footballs, and of course on screen and on the pitch during qualifying matches, official broadcast of the tournament, press conferences and city decorations, to name just a few.

Russia is getting ready to welcome the world and the official brand intends to reflect the country’s enthusiasm for hosting the biggest sporting event in the world with an open heart. There is even more to come for the 2018 FIFA World Cup brand, with the Official Slogan and the Official Mascot still to be unveiled, so be prepared to see more inspiring elements come together to complete the story for Russia 2018.