5 Minutes with... Euro 2012: flags with a twist


by Ashley Morrison


*As Euro 2012 draws to a close, and while we lick our wounds and I am constantly reminded that being called 'Ashley' is not exactly a blessing right now, thanks to Messrs Cole and Young you may find some artistic Euro 2012-based enjoyment here.

Dave Williams is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Liverpool. To celebrate this summer's European Championships in Poland/Ukraine, he has illustrated 16 magic moments from past and present tournaments using each of the 16 finalists' flags to recreate some of the most iconic moments in the sport.


The designs immediately caught my eye. They're original and engaging, inventive and clever, so I was delighted to ask Dave to expand a little on his thought processes.

Hi, Dave. First of all, give me a bit of background about yourself.
I'm a graphic designer based in Liverpool, working for a small studio that produces a wide range of printed material for clients including Littlewoods, Asics, Fulham Football Club and many others. I also freelance under the name DaveWill Design, specialising in illustrating movie posters as well as the usual flyers/brochures/logos etc.

What methods and techniques have you used? Is it the same technique for all of them?
I illustrated everything directly in illustrator. The aim was to use a limited palette and I found inspiration from the illustrative style of things like the 'Incredibles' and 'Catch Me If You Can' opening credits. When each piece was finished, I dropped them into Photoshop to add the background texture.

Did you have a particular motive or inspiration for the project as a whole?
The motive behind the work was originally to create a poster based on the current England team to celebrate the euros. After sketching some ideas, the work evolved into a poster for each of the 16 teams, and then as time went on, the idea came to try and work each nation's flag into the design. This meant simplifying each design as I felt it worked best when kept to a minimum amount of detail. Obviously this was easier said than done for some nations (cough *Croatia* cough!)

Were you inspired by another artist's work or style?
I'm a huge fan of Saul Bass, and that's something I've never hidden in my work. I love the simplicity of his work and the abstract shapes and streamlined contours are so iconic. I wouldn't say this set of Euro 2012 flags is in the style of Saul Bass, but there's definitely an influence there.

Did you design these for your own pleasure, so to speak, or for a client/brief?
Yes, purely for my own enjoyment, really. I'd be happy to see the images used in other ways (T-shirts, wallpapers, printed postcards, etc) but they were never designed to be sold. It was just a bit of an experiment, and once I'd started, it was a personal challenge to finish it!

Which images took a bit more head scratching than the others?
Croatia was definitely the hardest. The shield at the centre of their flag made it difficult to know what to do. I also struggled with some of the smaller nations like Poland and Ukraine which didn't have many magic memories to choose from.

What's next for you, workwise?
I'm currently working on an officially licensed DreamWorks movie poster to be sold as a limited edition screw print. It's the first time I've been involved in this kind of project so I'm very excited!

What's your dream brief?
I'd love to work with Nike. They are constantly evolving their style but always seem to retain their core brand identity. I'd love to collaborate on some of their T-shirts or trainers.

But now, without further ado, here are Dave's Magic Moments from the European Championships, each with commentary from Dave.

The most difficult of all the illustrations, the Croatian flag features a chequered shield that proved particularly difficult to fit into a design. Davor Suker's goal against Denmark at Euro 96 seemed the obvious Magic Moment, but it proved to be a real challenge to make that work within the constraints of their flag. Suker's iconic celebration lent itself well to the design and is one of my personal favourites.










Czech Republic:
One of my favourite European Championship moments came in Euro '96 as Karel Poborsky produced a sublime chipped goal against Portugal at Villa Park. It was recreated in school yards and parks for months afterwards.











Denmark famously won the '92 tournament after being called up at the last minute to replace [the then] Yugoslavia, who dropped out due to a ban from the UN. John Jensen scored a dramatic strike against Germany in the final which sent the Danes to their only major tournament trophy to date.











Football came home in 1996. David Seaman's save during the penalty shootout against Spain was one of the few times we English have managed to win a shootout and progress to the semi-final of a major tournament. There was plenty of choice for this illustration with Gazza's goal and celebration against Scotland, Stuart Pearce's penalty, and the 4-1 win against Holland all tying for a close second to Seaman's save.











Michel Platini's free kick was one of the standout moments from Euro 84 as the midfield maestro scored 9 goals in 5 games to power France to their first major tournament victory. Unfortunately, Mr Platini was a much better footballer than he is President of UEFA, but nobody's perfect!











There aren't many Englishmen that need reminding of the summer of 96 as England looked to be on course to win a trophy for the first time in 30 years. Sadly, the Germans put an end to our hopes and dreams and went on to score the first ever Golden Goal that won a major international tournament. Oliver Bierfhoff wrote his name in the history books with his winning goal at Wembley.











Winners of Euro 2004, Greek took plenty of flak from negative football fans who disagreed with their defensive philosophy. Central to the Greeks' success was their devastating success from corner kicks and set pieces, which led to this piece being christened "Corner Kick Conquerors."











One of Europe's great sides, the Dutch oozed style, class and sophistication which culminated in Marco Van Basten's iconic volley at Euro '88. Probably one of the best Euro goals of all time.











As we found out all too well recently, Italy have a history of progressing through tournaments. Buffon produced a stunning save to ensure their progress to the final of Euro 2000 after winning a nail-biting shootout against Holland. But France put paid to any hopes for the trophy, defeating them 2-1 in the final via a David Trezeguet golden goal.











This was one of the more difficult illustrations as the Polish side had only played in one previous tournament, and only scored a single goal. The goal was a controversial one as the Pole's goal was given, even though it should have been ruled offside, so it seemed like the obvious choice to use for their Magic Moment.











Republic of Ireland:
Underdogs in every tournament they enter, the Irish make up for their lack of skill with a huge following and a great attitude. Ronnie Whelan's over-head scissor kick against USSR at Euro '88 is one of the nation's proudest moments.











Based on the last tournament in which Andrei Arshavin of Russia became a household name and earned a big-money move to Arsenal. The pinnacle of his performance came against the Dutch in the quarter-finals as he inspired them to an unlikely 3-1 victory.











Winners of the 2008 tournament, Spain seem to have taken football to the next level in recent years. They are so good that it seems they don't even need a striker on the pitch to win games. They will go down in history as one of the great teams of international football.











Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a player who divides opinion amongst many football fans, but his back-heeled flick against Italy at Euro 2004 is a personal favourite of mine. It really sums him up as one of Europe's most enigmatic strikers.











Another tricky illustration, the Ukraine had never featured in European finals before, but as joint hosts for Euro 2012, they had a big part to play in this year's tournament. Recently renovated for the finals, the Olympic Stadium in Kiev has become synonymous with this year's tournament.










Contact Dave Williams:
Follow Dave on Twitter @davewi11
Visit Dave's blog: www.davewilliamsdesigns.blogspot.co.uk
portfolio: www.behance.net/davewill

Interview by Ashley Morrison

Ashley Morrison is a blogger, copywriter and editor.

Twitter: @Ashley_Morrison



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