Bird’s Eye View – Looking Down On Football Stadiums

Bird’s Eye View – Looking Down On Football Stadiums

Although they probably didn’t think about it in the beginning, London design studio Planning Unit scored big with a little idea. Originally conceived by the company’s co-founder Jeff Knowles, the plan was to put together a series of prints that represented a number of sporting arenas. The hook here was that the design would come from an aerial view of the venue.

English football stadiums were the first target and eventually all teams in the country – in all four recognised leagues – were produced. The process of recreating the designs is credited with Adobe Illustrator and includes piecing together images gathered from sources including Google Maps, Bing and Apple Maps. Each stadium was painstakingly reproduced showing the seating arrangements and most other details that set one stadium apart from another.


Plus, each print created was produced with each of the specific team colours. Talk about taking home field advantage to a whole new level!

What I really find so intriguing about this concept is that when you look at the finished product a lot of things become obvious. Well, at least to a graphic designer like me. I note that no two stadiums are exactly the same. Sure, the playing surface area may be the same dimensions from one field to another, but what surrounds each field is what gives a team its individuality.

The stadiums are actually architectural works of art. When you see how the seating arrangement is on one versus another, you begin to realise that real estate plays a role in the actual layout of your favourite team’s home field.

The Planning Unit project turned into t-shirts where very little is revealed about each stadium beyond the shape of the venue as viewed from high about centre field, maybe a street name but little else. True football fans should be able to recognise their home team simply with the t-shirt and print colours alone.

That translates into iconic in my mind.

I’m trying to compare this to branding for marketing purposes and as I have stated many times over, a logo or brand that can be identified with a glance is what every business should be striving for.

You can bet I can identify the Manchester Utd stadium t-shirt and print with little effort and that is the point where Planning Unit wins the match. There’s even an online presence where you can see all the present stadiums that have been documented.


But there is more.

Nike actually commissioned Planning Unit to go ‘stateside’ and create the same imagery for all of the NCAA college football team stadiums. These were used for t-shirts and other marketing efforts by the teams.


It’s a project that won’t be reaching the final whistle anytime soon as prints have been updated to show current stadium layouts – in cases where some have had renovations. There’s also a book in the works.

But for now, you can spend time during intermission searching the online database on the Tumblr page to locate your local football stadium.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Toni Marino. Award-winning Freelance Graphic Designer, writer and digital marketer. Forward thinking clients from various industries worldwide have enlisted my help to support the growth of their brands. Whether your part of a multi-national company, an independent business venture, or something in between, I would love to hear from you and together we can earn the trust of your future business prospects.