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World Chess Championship 2018

World Chess Championship 2018 | World Chess | Shuka Design
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Industry: Culture, Recreation & Sport
Media:Design & Branding
Style: Minimalism

In 1997 world chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov was defeated by a computer — IBM’s Deep Blue. Chess lost its heroes, spectacularity and most of the audience.

The brief for 2018 World Chess Championship branding had three main objectives:

- to make chess attractive and contemporary again;
- to increase media coverage, Pay-Per-View broadcast sales and merchandise sales;
- to make all media and digital platform connected and consistent.

We made the design, in which the returning of human to the center of the game reflected, so as the radical shift from boring to cool. And the effect was viral.

Describe the creative idea (40% of vote)

Logos and branding for the World Chess Championships, historically were chess pieces with the name of the event or its place metaphor. No one has approached chess championships as a visual experience, and we have decided to make it the best-designed sporting event, but also to represent the human side of chess — that it’s about one-on-one communication, interaction, being close to each other. Chess is a very intimate and social affair. The result — a very provocative logo and visual envelope. Two people sitting across the chess board in a close body and mind interlaced position. The risky and provocative design was so unusual for a chess event that it became the most talked-about chess design in history.

Describe the execution (40% of vote)

Branded was all media, so as the digital platform. The exterior and interior of the astonishing The College in Holborn at the center of London was decorated with key visual patterns. The patterns were also applied to the costumes of actors, who performed during the opening ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which connected the graphics to art. Playful illustrations and design of the online broadcasting platform (including the portraits of players, the chat, the schedule, and the results tables) made watching the difficult game easy.

November 2017
Release of key visuals.
March 2018
First rebranding commercial use during World Chess Grand Prix Series in Berlin. Broadcasting platform is opened. Online presale of merchandise.
August 2018
Start of venue branding at London’s The College in Holborn.
8 November 2018
World Chess Championship opening ceremony
9 – 28 November 2018
World Chess Championship 2018

List the results (20% of vote)

Following the “Pawnagraphic” campaign, the 2018 World Chess Championship became the most covered chess event since 1972, with the reach of 1,9 bln contacts (Metrica), 21000 articles and over 100 mln in online traffic. It was covered by all major media outlets, including an above the fold front page feature by the Financial Times. Media called it one of the most important sporting events of the year.

Thanks to the resulting coverage, the event increased its Pay-Per-View broadcast sales by 251%. Merchandise sales increased by 140%.

The sport has taken the risk by going outside its comfort zone, the message was amplified by the media, which loved the idea that the most conservative sport in the world used a provocative visual language.

In chess, the consumer is also a chess player, and the campaign allowed them to be associated with something that finally was considered cool.
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Design
Rebrand / Refresh of an Existing Brand
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