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    #RWC2023: The Rugby World Cup 2023 logo - the font that speaks French

    Trigger warning, the Rugby World Cup 2023 corporate identity could cause intense emotional responses, such as increased heart rates and excitement levels for viewers with heightened aesthetic sensibilities.
    Source: Rugby World Cup 2023
    Source: Rugby World Cup 2023

    This weekend was your last chance to marvel at the tricoleur tableaux marking the 10th Rugby World Cup and 200 years of Rugby tournaments unfurling across France for the past eight weeks.

    The distinctive möbius ribbon seen looping inside the logo, was designed by Australian strategic brand consultancy, WiteKite, to ‘resembling an unbreakable bond, as infinite and as strong as a beating heart, inspiring people to connect with each other.’

    "A natural extension to the identity is the beautiful and characterful Mobius font. Now the signature of the event, the custom typeface was designed in collaboration with the amazing Paris based typographer, Mathieu Reguer and provides multiple glyphs for each character, to enable a rich variety of unexpected combinations”, enhancing the name of every country, region and player with the good fortune to be typeset in its

    Inspired by the shape of a rugby ball and the movement of the game, the letter system has done way more, providing a subliminal reminder to the world why the French nation is renowned for qualities such as savoir-faire, chic, elegance, etiquette and finesse, terms which they invented, reinvented via a visual vocabulary as covetable as the custom-made Louis Vuitton case which houses the coveted Webb Ellis Trophy.

    If a font could speak French

    From the ‘love-at-first-download’ app, the squiggle outlines of participating countries, to the looping ribbons that accompany the players from the changing room to the field, the achingly crafted numerals that seem to add prestige to winning scores and solace to the losers on the scoreboard, the consistency of application and colour that somehow asks to be read in French pronunciation, the identity is as eye-watering as it is eye-catching.

    Perhaps even more important is its contemporary relevance - anticipating in its loopy, gloopy forms, legible but not too legible, not underestimating the reader’s intelligence, via a choice of at least three different a’s and e’s and a melange of upper and lower case letters, a nod to the craft of handwriting that is our shared human legacy, the font is ingeniously pre-digital and post-futuristic.

    All said, a textbook example of 21st-century graphic design and a benchmark in national branding.

    After the titanic battle that will see our Springbok countrymen take on The All Blacks in the final, the winner of the Rugby World Cup 2023 Player of the Tournament title, must surely go to the font that has held it all together.

    The Title Sequence

    In the interests of connecting and uniting, Bizcommunity’s search to find out more about the identity, extended across the globe to Auckland based creative design agency, Ignite, who had been selected to design the animated title sequence you might have seen flashing across your screens for the duration of the Rugby World Cup.

    The agency says that the sequence, which also incorporates the red ‘mobius line’ mnemonic, depicts the story of the host nation passing the ball across France. Created in collaboration with Brazilian animation house, Factory, the concept was aimed at a “broader, younger and more global audience and present Rugby in a more playful, innovative and celebratory way.”

    The sequence went live on Friday, 8 September in Paris, when the All Blacks took on the host nation, France, and closed with the same team narrowly losing to South Africa in the historic final on 28 October 2023.

    Reuben Thorpe, senior creative director at Ignite says, “We were thrilled to work with World Rugby for a second time on this prestigious tournament.”

    Steve Jamieson, executive producer TV & live content at World Rugby says: “We are delighted with Ignite’s unique design package for the Rugby World Cup France 2023 world feed. We predict this World cup will be the biggest and best yet, and we look forward to engaging with new and current fans around the world.”

    Ignite was recently purchased by AE Live, global provider of data and broadcast solutions, in 2020. Along with the Rugby World Cup, AE Live’s portfolio also includes Premier League Productions, BBC, ITV, Sky Sports, WTA Tennis and Fox Sports.

    New case for the Webb Ellis Trophy

    Also noteworthy was the unveiling of the new case for the Rugby World Cup, hand-crafted by artisans in Louis Vuitton’s historic workshops in Asnières, France, and built with the house’s meticulous savoir-faire.

    Cast in France’s blue, white and red, the exterior is decorated with LV monogram canvas, while the front panels feature a ‘V’ – for victory and Vuitton and the Roman numerals XV – 15 – are painted on the side of the case, representing the number of players in a rugby union team.

    The exterior is finished with lozine trimming and the same brass metal hardware that has been used on Louis Vuitton trunks since the 1860s. Inside, the Webb Ellis trophy will sit snugly on soft Louis Vuitton leather, alongside a Rugby World Cup 2023 logo patch.

    “With this new official Trophy Travel Case, Louis Vuitton is both happy and proud to continue its long-time partnership with rugby, highlighting its 160-year tradition of creating remarkable trunks,” says Michael Burke, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton. “It is a great opportunity to bring our savoir-faire to one of the world’s greatest sporting events, and once again to prove that ‘Victory Travels in Louis Vuitton’.”

    “We are honoured by this partnership with Louis Vuitton,” says Claude Atcher, CEO of Rugby World Cup France 2023. “It is fitting that the tournament has such a beautiful symbol of French skill and forward-looking heritage to hold its trophy.”

    A unique blend

    The France 2023 logo is a unique blend - different, powerful and modern.

    It is a new take on the blue-white-red of the French tricolour flag, a balance between the authenticity and modernity that are characteristic of France.

    World Rugby chief executive, Brett Gosper says, “The distinctive Rugby World Cup 2023 logo symbolises the unity between World Rugby and the organising committee and embodies the vision, passion and unity of a tournament that brings France and the world together through rugby and its character-building values.

    “In a year that marked 200 years since the birth of rugby, France 2023 was the perfect celebration of that milestone – a record-breaking celebration of rugby on and off the field that will further the reach and growth of rugby around the world.”

    About Terry Levin

    Brand and Culture Strategy consulting | CCO at large. Email az.oc.flehsehtffo@yrret, Twitter @terrylevin, Instagram, LinkedIn.
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