If you’re not getting excited for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup yet, then you’re simply not listening. With just over four months until the opening game in Australia, buzz is building as 32 countries prepare to send national teams to the world stage to battle it out for the gold.
We’ve been keeping our finger on the pulse of the design side of the tournament from the jump, starting with its vibrant brand identity and then reveling in the release of the official Adidas 2023 World Cup ball, OCEAUNZ. As the anticipation for the tournament itself mounts, so too has the design, which has culminated in the recent release of a new batch of six away kits by Adidas. The company created jerseys for the Argentinian, Colombian, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish teams with designs that are rooted in the natural splendor of each country.
To dissect these unique, boundary-pushing kits, I once again tapped sports design pro Todd Radom for his reactions. Check out his hot takes below!
What are your general thoughts about this collection of kits?
Adidas does storytelling well, and there’s no denying the connectivity to the natural landscapes of their respective countries, but there’s something about this that feels forced and inorganic, if you’ll pardon the pun. Sports is ultimately about rivalries, and the fact that these teams all look somewhat unified spoils things a bit for me. The mighty Adidas spin machine (HEAT.RDY technology! AEROREADY technology! The Official Match Ball—OCEAUNZ!) is firing on all cylinders here.
If I step away from that cynical viewpoint, I can see the beauty in these kits, and I can appreciate the fact that the Women’s World Cup has come a long way since its inception back in 1991.
Which of the kits do you think is most successful? Which leaves you wanting?
Colombia, Sweden, and Spain stand out for me. I like the vibrant hits of color in Colombia’s kit, I appreciate the natural and seamless nod to the Swedish national colors, and I enjoy the coral graphic and the framing of it on the Spanish kit.
Germany seems like it could have been more; it’s a big country with any number of natural wonders that could have been better leveraged, in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on the evolution of soccer jerseys and kits as evidenced by these gestural, nature-inspired designs? Are you excited about this new direction, or do you think elements of traditional soccer design should be held sacred?
The sport’s visual traditions are so deeply rooted, of course, and there’s no escaping that— in a sense, it’s similar to baseball, with its vestigial buttons on jerseys. Technically speaking, the advances in dye sublimation printing have really opened things up across the sports spectrum— we’ve come a long way since this technology was first widely utilized back in the ’90s. Patterns on sports uniforms can be tricky; too much can be way too much, and too little can look like a pointless mistake. That said, I can appreciate the theme and the execution, especially when combined with the more traditional application and scale of graphic elements atop the patterns. But spare me the market-speak, please.