Branding and graphics agency DesignStudio has worked with UEFA to rebrand the entire Champions League visual identity, using light as its core design device. Working with the icon of the football association’s existing branding, the “starball”, DesignStudio has adapted its aesthetic to appear as if it’s “crafted from light”, making it luminescent, translucent, and gradated in tone. This device has then been rolled out across all the identity’s details and applications, using a gradient of light as a unifying design system in all TV graphics.
In video, the new “starball” appears as a frame to highlight exciting and vital moments from matches. In this instance, DesignStudio says the movement of the motion graphic “is inspired by iconic moments and thrilling performances, such as Mario Mandžukić’s overhead goal from the 2017 final.”
“The behaviour and qualities of the ‘starball’ influence every aspect of the brand. Light is the catalyst for movement and inspires our approach to motion principles across the broadcast graphics.”
The branding agency has worked with Fontsmith to create a new light weight font of UEFA’s existing Champions typeface, originally created by the foundry. This new version, Champions Light, is centred with wider tracking, aims to “express the grandeur and scale of the competition.”
DesignStudio also developed the brand identity’s colour scheme, maintaining the existing dark blue – “a distinguishing feature of the brand” due to matches taking place in the evening – but adding “contemporary, vivid highlights inspired by the shifting tones of a European night sky”. These include bright blue, cyan, magenta and white. “These bold accent colours allow the brand to flex into digital, social and merchandising worlds much more effectively,” UEFA tells It’s Nice That.
DesignStudio and UEFA also redesigned another key icon of UEFA’s branding: the so-called “ultimate stage,” an imagined, utopian CGI stadium and surrounding city, used in all TV coverage since 2006. The new “ultimate stage” and its sprawling metropolis takes inspiration from the European cities that host the competition, the design team explains. The “starball” canopy over the stadium, originally inspired by the UEFA logo, hasn’t changed, but “the design expression has changed dramatically,” says UEFA and DesignStudio, “and is now created from light, similar to how the 3D ‘starball’ has been redesigned. The stadium walkways are drawn from a five-pointed star, and the architectural features are inspired by the iconic curves of the trophy handle.”
Overall, DesignStudio says the rebrand aims “to amplify the brand and signal a bold step forward,” for UEFA Champions League, with a visual language that “underlines the brand’s prestige with a renewed focus on elegance and understated confidence”.