Futurebrand has created the visual identity for the Rugby World Cup 2019, which is currently being held in Japan. Inspired by “cultural cues” from the country, the design features a rising sun motif and a stylised version of Mount Fuji.

The London-based design studio began working with the global rugby governing body back in 2013, when one of its first projects was to rebrand the organisation from the International Rugby Board to World Rugby. As part of that project, it developed a visual identity featuring a shield device, which resembles a rugby ball positioned vertically on the pitch ready for kick-off.

The identity for the Rugby World Cup 2019 references this parent identity, in a move to create greater ownership over the event. Futurebrand design director Adam Savage tells It’s Nice That: “We were keen to use the design principles developed for World Rugby to create a greater thread between the governing body and the World Cup itself.”

Given the “significant moment” of the cup going to Asia for the first time, Futurebrand wanted to harness the “character-building value of world rugby and the rich cultural values of Japan” in the new identity, says Adam. “Growing audiences in a new region like Asia is something very exciting to the sport. We wanted to tap into some of the cultural cues more obviously connected to Japan.”

Futurebrand worked on a number of concepts, including the use of cherry blossom (used by the Japanese team in their emblem), working with the organising committee to find resonant ideas. The final design features a bright red “rising sun” within the World Rugby shield, which peeps out behind a graphic depiction of Mount Fuji. Futurebrand also created a full visual system to accompany the logo, which can be seen across the players’ jerseys, on the rugby ball itself, in stadiums and on TV.