“When you say ‘Toumba’ in Greece, it is like someone saying ‘Anfield’ for Liverpool FC”, explains the Thessaloniki-based designer Dimitris Papazoglou. For the past five years, the designer has been collaborating with his ardent love, and renowned football club, Paok FC. Starting with the design of its Matchday Program, Dimitris’ collaboration with the club began with a 48-page, quarterly publication which documented the most important matches of the Greek league. Consequently, the Matchday Program formed the foundations for a new magazine, Toumba, alternatively based around the football club’s concept, style, philosophy and content.
Situated in the heart of Thessaloniki City, the Toumba stadium is named after the ancient Greek term that “refers to a particular kind of grave found in the hillsides.” And though Paok FC and its beloved grounds are not known on an international scale, like Liverpool FC and Anfield, Dimitris tells us that, “when you say Toumba in Greece, eight out of ten people think of Paok football club and not the area.” The designer explains how the concept of the magazine is “not only a tool to strengthen the club’s relation with its dedicated fans – it is much more than that. We consider the publication as a powerful medium to celebrate the beauty of the game.”
The cultural project aims to go beyond documenting the club’s latest news by capturing the “passion, drama, joy or disappointment” through elegantly-crafted graphic design and art direction. To mark the release of the first issue, Paok FC and Dimitris have created a special edition divided into two major sections. The first celebrates Paok’s triumphant win of the Greek Cup in 2018, while the second focuses on the promise of the ongoing 2018-19 season.
Dimitris uniquely designs each spread to read similarly to a comic book. The designer reveals how “the aim of the book is to put the reader into the game, as if they are close to players when the real action happens, capturing the speed of the game in real time.” After painstakingly editing over 5000 images, the creative whittled down the best 1500 for the purpose of providing the reader with firsthand experience of the game from on the pitch itself. The design hopes to render the experience of being “close to a player when he passes an assist, or when he prepares for a free kick.”
As Dimitris is a self-proclaimed Paok fan “since the day [he was] born, til the day [he] dies”, the project comes from a place of emotive passion that is “the key factor throughout all stages of the design process.” He goes on to say, “I have even refused a lucrative offer by Olympiakos FC (Paok’s main rival) to design for them.” And though the book may seem as if it is designed intently for Paok fans, in fact, the book is intended for everyone: football and graphic design fans alike. Some of the latter have even addressed Dimitris to say: “Hi, I am not a Paok fan and I don’t even like football but I’ll start supporting Paok FC for sure just because of Toumba.”
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.