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Type Tips

World Cup Typography: Yomar Augusto

After Paul Barnes, designer of the Crepello and Olembe custom typefaces for Puma, we now focus our attention on Yomar Augusto. This Brazilian designer currently living and working in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, is the creator of Unity, a custom alphabet he designed for Adidas. Yomar emerged from a new generation of designers and graphic artists in Brazil. Born in Brasília, raised in Rio de Janeiro, and initially trained as a graphic designer, Yomar went on to study photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, before starting his own studio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He then went on to complete a Masters in Type Design from The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, The Netherlands between 2004 and 2005.

Yomar Augusto presenting at Don’t Believe the Type, Shanghai, on May 18th.
Yomar Augusto presenting at Don’t Believe the Type, Shanghai, on May 18th.

Yomar presented both commercial and conceptual projects pieces in solo exhibitions in Japan, Europe and Brazil, and designed for a host of brands such as EMI, MTV & Warner music in Brazil, 180 Amsterdam, Adidas Football World Cup 2010 & Icon Network in The Netherlands, Fur Fur & Graniph in Japan, Random House in New York City. Since 2002 he has been running experimental calligraphy workshops in Brazil, Russia, Portugal and The Netherlands. He recently guested on Don’t Believe the Type, a one day typographic festival initiated by Dutch design agency Trapped in Suburbia. The second edition was held in Shanghai on the 18th of May during the World Expo 2010, and focused on the typographic excellence from The Hague.

Unity numbers on Argentinian shirts.
Unity numbers on Argentinian shirts.

Unity numbers on a Spanish shirt.
Unity numbers on a Spanish shirt.

How did you land this job?

Y O M A R A U G U S T O | “I designed and produced this typeface whilst working at 180 Amsterdam. Their main client is Adidas, for whom they work on global projects. At that time the design team were developing a comprehensive visual language for the Adidas Football range for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This custom typeface was an integral part of this project. Unity ended up being used across all products and packaging, in retail, advertising, film, and digital communication – in fact on any Adidas project relating to the World Cup in South Africa.”

Announcement of the Jabulani, the official 2010 FIFA World Cup match ball.
Announcement of the Jabulani, the official 2010 FIFA World Cup match ball.

Where do those peculiar character shapes come from?
Where do those peculiar character shapes come from?

Y O M A R A U G U S T O | “Adidas had a vision that every element of their football identity was to be linked and unified by one basic shape. This shape can be found as a design element on the official match ball of the World Cup, so the first drawings came from the product designers at Adidas. We at 180 had the task to bring it to life and inject its personality into the whole alphabet.

The core concept of the Unity project was to make the shape which is at the very heart of the world cup – the official match ball which was referenced throughout the whole identity – an essential part of this typeface, as you can see in the numerals 6, 8, and 9. So the same shape that is found on the ball, a rounded triangular form, is also at the heart of the font. That basically was the brief: keep the energy of the shape and build a typographic system around it, inspired by the Jabulani football itself.”

Unity typeface specimen.
Unity typeface specimen.

Was it a smooth process, or did the design go through many revisions?

Y O M A R A U G U S T O | “There was a lot of refining and crafting, but since the basic drawing came from Adidas the partnership was really good, also because we collaborated so closely. Originally the typeface was only meant for the shirts. Only afterwards was it decided to implement it as well for all communication – print, film, and screen. This meant we needed to create different character sets, a lower case version, and all the required glyphs. The project grew and grew, both in size and ambition, to become the fully featured digital typeface it currently is.”

Unity numbers and players’ names on German shirts.
Unity numbers and players’ names on German shirts.

Unity numbers on shorts.
Unity numbers on shorts.

I guess you must be mighty proud to see your work on the television screen, being broadcast in literally hundreds of millions of homes.

Y O M A R A U G U S T O | “It’s difficult to describe how good it really is to see the type printed on the national football shirts, on the backs of great players – and even on the ball they play with. It’s a great feeling, because as a designer I used to only see my custom types on flyers and posters and so on, and now one of my typefaces is seen by a cumulative audience of almost 30 billion all around the world. In fact it’s so fantastic that I can die happy now! : )”

If you like this type of faces, have a look at Greg Thompson’s Clicker, and Simon Schmidt’s Monolith, amongst others. And if you don’t mind angular corners there’s also Tobias Frere-Jones’ Armada.

Source: recovered from FontFeed

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