This new envelope-pushing poster series is one of the finest examples of how design can shape how we experience the game.

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There has been a steady influx of creative work in football in recent years—so much so that we started a blog just to cover it. Many MLS clubs have done their part to participate in this creative space, and the New York Red Bulls 2015 match posters are one of the finest examples of how design can shape how we experience the game. The series, ranging from illustrations to collages and sculpture, is being produced by the Brooklyn-based creative agency Doubleday and Cartwright. They’ve lent their cultural expertise and creative ingenuity to make this one of the best and most unique poster series we’ve ever seen. To find out more about this series, their process and inspiration, we stopped by their studio to get their thoughts on football, design, and more.

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Eight by Eight: How did this collaboration with the New York Red Bulls come about?

Doubleday: Like many good things in life, it came through a friend of a friend (you know who you are). That aside, we’ve had a really positive working relationship with Red Bull going back to our first work on Red Bull Music Academy, New York in 2012.

What was the overall strategy or approach taken for the project?  

The fact that the team is playing extremely well this year has definitely helped inspire us, but the core idea wasn’t to speak as much about current play as their unique identity and history. The New York Red Bulls are the senior MLS franchise, have a rich history and an incredibly passionate fan base. Our goal was to draw on all of that with a unique tone and style for each of the 17 home games.

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Have you worked on other football related projects before?

The first issue of our publication Victory Journal was devoted to the 2010 World Cup with focus on the Brazil and U.S. teams. The most recent issue has an amazing story about Ukraine’s Shakhtar FC, and in between we’ve covered the Liverpool Derby, Sao Paulo’s Museu Do Futebol and Boca Juniors’ academy.

How do football and design interact in your eyes?

There’s a shorter and less developed history of football interactions in the U.S., but a deep history around the world from England to Brazil. In some ways having less inherited systems of language and iconography here gave us more room to play, which was fun.

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What other football creative and design work have you been impressed with?

Kingsley, the new Partick Thistle FC mascot by David Shrigley. The idea was to embody the fan, the intensity, and the emotion. A lot of people hate it, but we have love for Partick Thistle.

What were some of the influences you pulled from for the Red Bull poster series?

We made an effort not to pull anything recent that was soccer-specific. Everything was vintage and mainly from South American leagues; memorabilia and anything that documented the history of the game from a fans perspective.

Outside of football, we took inspiration from everything that we were personally excited by in a contemporary sense. Conceptual art; whether it was sculptures, a collage or digital renderings, we tried to channel that spirit into a language of sport.

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What was the process for each poster?

We wanted to push the envelope conceptually with each poster, telling the story in a way that hadn’t been told by anyone here, or in European leagues. Some of the posters became more cryptic than others, paying homage to those who know and insider moments. But each was a tribute to the team’s 20 years, and a celebration of Football’s rising culture in the U.S. We also brought in collaborators from around the world – Argentina to Australia, The UK to Venezuela, who helped us achieve an overall creative point of view that wasn’t just defined by a historical or local aesthetic. 

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The Red Bull vs Real Salt Lake statue was very unique and easily one of our favorites.  Can you talk us through how the concept and sculpture came together?

This poster was a nod to the MetroStars winning the La Manga cup in 2004; a winter football tournament in Murcia, Spain that hadn’t previously been won by an American team. Bringing the hardwear back to America was the cornerstone to the concept.

We thought about how a team goes on parade through their home city after a championship and liked the idea of the trophy taking that journey; gathering souvenirs along the way.

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Photography by Ahmed Klink.

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