Everywhere Else It's Called FOOTBALL...

Everywhere Else It's Called FOOTBALL...

Oh the joys of being a magazine art director during the summer months! Smaller issues, a less competitive dress code and editors who are so desperate to head to the beach for the weekend that the decisions just make themselves... Okay who am I kidding, I'm sure everyone is just as swamped as ever with vacation coverage, special double issues and of course iPad development. As a result there is a (VERY) slim chance that you where one of the few people who wasn't able to sneak out to the pub over the last 26 days and have missed what has been unfolding at the biggest sporting event on the planet down in South Africa: The World Cup. 

A few highlights so far: 732 players have represented 32 nations during almost a month of play, 30 teams are heading home with varying levels of pride and/or shame and as usual 60 million England fans are left scratching their heads about why their "stars" are in fact rubbish after all (sorry couldn't help that outburst but seriously, Wayne Rooney? WTF!!?). Here's a look back at some memorable world cup covers from the last few months, both from the US and overseas...where the sport is NOT called soccer because it is, in fact, a game played using your feet...and a ball! (NOTE: spot the cover curses throughout these issues and a special bonus point if you can spot the one cover star who has made it all the way to the final on Sunday!)

It makes sense to start in the US and this much talked about June Vanity Fair cover featuring Ivorian Didier Drogba (who broke his arm in a pre tournament friendly and who failed to carry his team out of the group stage) and Portuguese Winger Christiano Ronaldo (knocked out in round of 16). 


Photographer: Annie Liebowitz
Design Director: David Harris

Meanwhile in Italy! World Champions Fabio Cannavarro and Mario Balotelli (both went home in the group stage...ouch) where featured on a couple of VF Italia's covers



Design Director: Brian Anstey

Back in the US Siung Tjia and the staff at ESPN the magazine focused on the rise of the African game. Their cover featured Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o (also knocked out in the group stage)


Photo Illustration by Alan Clarke
Creative Director Siung Tjia
Director of Photography Catriona Ni Aolain

Over in the UK, GQ went all out with a portfolio of 5 covers. England captain Rio Ferdinand led the charge (injured and sent home after 1 TRAINING SESSION!!?) alongside England manager Fabio Capello, Drogba (again) Ronaldo (again) and Cesc Fabregas, (view outakes from Simon Emmett and Nick Wilson's shoots here and take a look at some layouts here)


1164635931.jpg  GQ-World-Cup-3.jpg

Photographers: Simon Emmett and Nick Wilson
Creative Director: Paul Solomons

Back in the US Time Magazine chose to avoid putting an athlete on the cover all together and instead chose this striking Doug Fraser illustration. Design Director DW Pine explains why: 
"As with most special issues at TIME magazine, we developed nearly a dozen cover concepts -- portraits, action shots and illustrations -- before landing on Doug Fraser's striking, and colorful, player image. I've always been a fan of Fraser's impactful graphic style. And with the 18 previous World Cup posters as our inspiration, he mastered the athleticism and action of the World Cup player. His image also enabled us to tout our more than 30 pages of coverage inside -- atypical for a us on a cover."


Illustrator D
Design Director DW

Still inside the offices of Time Inc. Sports Illustrated 
focused on team USA (also out in the round of 16...but good effort!)


Photographer: Simon Bruty
Creative Director: Chris Hercik

Nicklas Bendtner (out in the group stage) was featured on the cover of Denmark's Sportsfan (thanks to Niels Boje Ziegler of the Danish School of Media and Journalism for this one)


And finally...back in England...#5, a digital magazine run by the afore mentioned England captain Rio Ferdinand (yes a magazine produced by a footballer) featured this awesome portrait of England striker Wayne Rooney (whatever, at least we made it to the group stage...yeah I'm talking to you France and Italy... :-D)


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  • i woz ere

    The first game of the 2014 World Cup is gonna kickoff in just over an hour!
    A month long feast of football, started off with a Brazil game. What a treat.

  • David Zamdmer

    While on the subject of World Cup covers, check out these beautiful World Cup related album covers drawn by Siggi Eggertsson! Done as part of a collaboration between Nike Sportswear and Fader Magazine, the 6 mixes, representing 6 continents (boo hoo Antarctica), are truly the best sounds to have come out of this year's world cup. So if you're able to hear anything over the vuvuzelas in the coming days, make sure it's this!


    Go Spain! However, when it comes to these mixes, my personal favorite is South America by Maga Bo.

  • Robert Newman

    Great post Neil! The answer to your question is Spain's Cesc Fabregas.

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