Designers Gordon Reid and Callum Stephenson’s World Cup beer mat project began, quite fittingly, whilst celebrating the end of a full on project together by watching football in the pub. “We were laughing about various absurd moments that have happened [in the World Cup] over the years — the Zidane head butt, Lineker shitting himself etc and decided there was definitely something in it for a project.”
“We wanted to develop the idea further and just make the whole tone of the project a bit tongue in cheek. Like, commission a heap of our favourite artists and ‘exhibit’ their work on beer mats and have their work shown off in pubs whilst people were watching the games,” Gordon tells us. The branding concept around the project is firmly “retro” and inspired by the World Cups of the 80’s and 90’s. “We really wanted to do something nostalgic,” Callum explains. “The World Cup is enjoyed by almost everyone. We wanted to do a project that reminded people of moments they loved in previous World Cups.”
“The idea to have a range of designers responding to the brief was critical because every designer has a different favourite moment and a different design approach and I think that is felt throughout the collection,” he puts forward. The idea to exhibit these designs on beer mats was a no brainer to Callum and Gordon, “watching England and having a pint go hand in hand so a beer mat is the perfect medium to spread the artwork and pubs are the perfect location.”
The criteria for selecting the twenty illustrators, designers and creatives was simple, “we wanted to get people in who’s work we absolutely loved, who would each have something completely different to add to this.” Naturally, the chosen designers all use a lot of humour in their work, but, most importantly they wanted designers from all over the world to come together on the project.
“It didn’t matter to us whether the people absolutely loved football or not, just whether they saw the humour and goal (no pun intended!) in what we were trying to achieve,” Gordon explains. From Jack Renwick’s playful depiction of Suárez biting Giorgio Chiellini during the Brazil 2014 cup to Yarza Twin’s representation of Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ and Hey Studio’s expressive vuvuzela piece, the project is as diverse and inclusive as the audience of the World Cup itself.
As for personal favourites from their project, Callum and Gordon are almost at a loss, “We’ve been amazed at what’s come back, we’ve had purely hilarious submissions, great bits of type and moments that really meant something to someone but to pick a few examples, I think for the right look and feel of our project, I love Mason London’s Zidane Headbutt — a really iconic moment mixed with him headbutting the Football Italia mascot, it’s just so funny and beautifully illustrated.”
“Biff’s type for me was also really on point, I’d been trying to convince a few people to do a piece on the absurd John Barnes rap and I was beginning to think it wouldn’t happen and then Biff blew us away with his brilliant piece,” Gordon tells us. “Also the first one to come through from Ben Tallon is still making me chuckle now. He picked up on such an obscure moment which was the fact that every time Roy Keane got kicked out of the Ireland squad in various tournaments, then next day he was filmed walking his dog and looking very pissed off. It’s just brilliant. And this is what we’ve both really loved about this is how obscure and surreal some of the moments people have picked up on and remembered are.”
These playful pieces of World Cup art have been printed on to limited edition beer mats, with all the money raised going to charity Football Beyond Borders. You can purchase your pack here.