Silvan Glanzmann originally created an alternative sticker book as a cultural project to celebrate Euro 2008 in Switzerland: ten years later, and it’s a global phenomenon
Silvan Glanzmann has created an alternative World Cup sticker book
Football looked quite different in 2008. Pep Guardiola had just taken charge of Barcelona’s first team, but in Lucerne, Switzerland, a different kind of footballing project was under way. Tschutti Heftli’s alternative sticker book began when the Euros visited founder Silvan Glanzmann’s native Switzerland, and was originally a cult project for his town. Fast-forward a decade, and 2018’s sticker book is truly international, with this year’s edition promising to be the best one yet.
We caught up with Silvan to ask all about the project, and how this latest edition came to fruition.
How did this project begin?
The idea was born in 2008, the year the European Championships were held in Switzerland and Austria. The Swiss ministry of culture had planned some national cultural projects during the tournament, but a few months before the championship started they cancelled it all because of financial reasons. We were just a couple of friends in the city of Lucerne and we were unhappy with this decision. In our opinion, the competition had become about money, about sponsoring, about brands – but not about fun, not about real passion. So we decided to do our own cultural project.
Do you have a background in the design field?
I studied at the Lucerne School of Art and Design – the oldest college of art and design in German-speaking Switzerland – and at the University of Art and Design in Halle/ Germany. [Because of this] I therefore had a lot of contacts for graphic designers and illustrators in Switzerland and Germany and in 2008, I asked some of them if they would be interested in drawing or painting the members of a football team that would be participating at the Euros.
The rest of our group has no explicit background in design, though – they work in marketing, education or journalism. Having
said that, they all have an affinity to art, illustration and design.
So how did you assign each artist to a team?
For the first issues (2008, 2010 and 2012) we asked personal contacts. For the 2014 edition, we started an international contest and promoted it via media, blogs and Facebook. A jury then elected the best contributions. We’ve done the same for 2016 and now 2018. This year the participants had to draw or paint a portrait of Diego Maradona. They were no rules about the style of the portrait, but we expected a certain genuineness.
Is there any discussion with the artist before they start creating?
No, not normally.
Do you have a favourite team we should look out for this year? In the book of course…
Well that’s a difficult question. As a designer I’m always impressed with the variety of styles and techniques from the artists. Peter Bräms’s Spanish portraits are very impressive, for example. He worked by hand with a white scratchboard to make the players look like old Spanish nobles in the style of copperplate portraits. But I also like the digital portraits of the English and Australian squads. I think one of the project’s big qualities is that it shows how different portrait illustration can be.
And you even open the competition to children, too
Yes. It is very important for us to have the kid’s section. When we were children we all collected the Panini stickers, and we remember exactly how important these stickers have been to us. We think it’s a great thing for children to participate in our contest and to have the chance of drawing a sticker that will be printed and collected by other people. And besides, we receive great pictures drawn by kids! Sometimes they can be really funny or really impressive.
What’s the feedback been like on this project? It seems to have taken off on social media a lot more this year
In 2008 our plan was to do something for the local scene, for our friends, for people who were interested in football and also in arts or comics. We printed 100,000 stickers and packed them by hand, about ten of us, night by night. It was just for fun, we never thought of doing a big thing. But then the local newspaper discovered our stickers. They wrote an article, national newspapers did the same and our project got quite famous in Switzerland. So we got bigger year by year. This year we printed 7.5 million stickers. We have distribution partners in Switzerland, Austria and Germany – and this year also a co-operation with Mundial in the UK. But the idea has not changed: we want to do stickers that are cool and funny. Our goal is to make a contribution to football culture that goes beyond the mainstream.
How can someone reading this contribute to a future book?
We will start an illustration contest about a year before the next album, likely spring 2019. Artists can follow us on social channels.
Can you tell us what other projects you have worked on that you’re most proud of?
I have created some still-life photos recently with simple elements like flowers, miniature toy cars and old lanterns in an outdoor setting that I’m really proud of. I used to work indoors but I had this opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. Taking my props outdoors, shooting in front of people was always scary to me but I have overcome that fear now by creating those images. I have created a few travel cinemagraphs during my recent trips to India and Nepal, which was a long-awaited dream for me to create since I started shooting cinemagraphs.