’Twas the eve before FIFA World Cup, when all through the world, people were professing their love for the noble sport that is football (not soccer, my dear American friends, the players actually strike the ball with their foot, hence the name football). Let’s not dwell on the horrid, horrid official typeface Pagode Bold – the facepalm in the official logo accurately expresses the reaction of the collective typographic community to this train wreck. Well, let’s dwell on it a tiny bit, and compare it to the splendid Rio 2016 font by Dalton Maag for the Olympics in the same country. Point made. But I digress… I would like to take a look at a marvellous project by James Campbell Taylor of Pennarello. The artist behind the World Cup 1930-2014 poster project re-imagined iconic football players as pop stars and put them on album covers for LPFC (short for Long Player Football Club).
The premise for the LPFC gallery is simple: “What if the football heroes of the past fifty years had been pop stars?” Starting from this basic idea, James Campbell Taylor combined two of his two passions. On the one hand the British-born, New York-based graphic designers collects old jerseys, writes about football and lost his heart to this sport. On the other hand he loves vinyl. A few years ago his wife gave him a record player, and since then their New York apartment has been filling up with records. With the upcoming World Cup in mind, Taylor designed sleeves for fictional long players for 24 iconic players.
The football fan in James Campbell Taylor selected players with a high mythical value, while the music lover in him connected them to music genres and thought up fitting album titles. Finally the graphic designer created artwork in a style that was fashionable at the high-point of their careers and links to their nationality. The designs are smart and simply beautiful. Whereas many similar projects suffer in various degrees of inadequate typography, here Taylor hits all the right notes. Taylor’s attention for detail is impressive, from colour palette and typographic style to the logos of the record labels, catalogue numbers and the occasional signature. The wear adds the right touch of vintage to the two dozen designs. More than a stylistic exercise, it suggests that – just like the football players – vinyl always stays authentic, despite the wear and the lack of playing.