This week, the internet has found some time away from quarrelling with itself over GamerGate to try and figure out exactly what the logo for the next soccer World Cup is meant to represent. To hear it described by the Russian hosts and the Portuguese designers at Brandia Central, it's an amalgamation of the host nation's proud traditions in art, architecture, and space exploration, mixed in with some symbology about the human aspiration to reach for the stars. Those themes are subtly woven in by using Sputnik's shape at the top of the design and ascending human figures at its base. Perhaps too subtly. The immediate reaction has been to variously compare the new logo to Roger the Alien from American Dad!, the Powerpuff Girls, a three-headed electric shaver, or to Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream.
That response has obviously not been the one anticipated by the Russia 2018 organizers, who have gone to great lengths to give the new logo a grand reveal. It was unveiled by Russian astronauts from aboard the International Space Station and later projected onto the facade of the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Still, if there's been one consistent theme to big international sports tournaments in recent times, it's been widespread derision for their logos — and while Russia's effort might be imperfect, it looks a great deal better than the London 2012 brand that was draped like a bad suit over the most recent summer Olympics.