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Craig Ward’s Custom Typeface for England’s 2018 World Cup Kit

A new project by Craig Ward, a New York–based, British-born art director, is getting a lot of attention, and not just because it’s about as high-profile as a project can get in the world of sports. His beautiful bespoke typeface for England’s 2018 World Cup kit pays homage to English iconography and classic English typefaces.

“I was honored to be asked to create a custom typeface for England’s 2018 World Cup kit. Commissioned by Nike, the type was modeled in 3D to feature the St George’s cross and create a dynamic, twisting design, which features inline, outline, and fill weights along with a complementary numeral set for use at larger sizes.”

“I began by looking at the clarity and geometry of classic English typefaces (Gill, Flaxman, Johnston, et cetera)—particularly when condensed, as that was also a requirement. I noticed how they lost some of their implied geometry in these instances and decided to create something that didn’t buckle like that. Parts of the type actually quote aspects of other fonts to feel a little more familiar—the W in Railway Sans in particular, and the flare of the alternate R is a nod to Gill. I also included a perfectly circular O should they want to use it.

“I really wanted to create something dynamic that hinged on the cross icon, so I modeled and animated the core of the type in 3D software. I created a simple grid, drew single line paths for the letterforms, and added a cross as a sweep around the path, which went on to inform the inline aspect and the twists in the letters. I’m hoping that the movement that went into creating the letterforms comes through in the final pieces.”

See more of this project, including 3D animations demonstrating the creation of some letterforms, on Ward’s Behance page

Craig Ward’s many awards include ADC Young Gun (2008), the Type Directors Club Certificate of Typographic Excellence (2009, 2014, 2015, 2016), and the Communication Arts Award of Excellence (2014, 2015). His work has also been shown, awarded, and documented in countless books, magazines, and exhibitions. (Learn more about Craig Ward.)