No one consumes content as voraciously as football fans. Whether it’s following your favorite club’s official IG page for the latest signing or devouring pre-game stats, it’s important to lock down your game on social media.
But behind the brilliant match day schedules and sleek edits, there is a behind-the-scenes team working tirelessly to get those messages out. One of those unsung heroes is 27-year-old Najwan Noor. He is a graphic designer for the local football team Lion City Sailors FC, the defending Singapore Premier League champion.
This talented maestro is the creative force behind the gorgeous designs you may have seen on the Sailors’ Instagram and Facebook pages. He also competed in the recent AFF Suzuki Cup in Singapore’s race to the semi-finals, where he designed a number of match schedules that were sold at the national stadium.
But Najwan’s biggest claim to fame has been being kicked out by Liverpool FC in December to design a pre-match post as part of their #WalkOn streak. Yes, the Liverpool, the most successful club in English football and one of the greatest teams in the world.
Najwan’s design for Liverpool vs Newcastle game passed to Reds 34.7 million followers. It has been well received by LFC fans around the world. Comments on the post include ‘Supreme Edit’, ‘Who made this design is 🔥’ and ‘I’m not a Liverpool fan but almost reposted😭.
Talk about advertising. It’s well deserved for one of Singapore’s most talented graphic designers. We caught up with Najwan ahead of the Sailors’ next season to get his thoughts on this life-changing moment.
Congratulations on showcasing your work on the IG Liverpool page. How did the collaboration come about?
Thank you! I was invited by Dave Will Design to be part of Liverpool’s ‘Walk On’ matchday series, which features a different designer for each match day. I registered with the sailors and the club gave their blessing for me to give it a try.
Dave and I know and follow each other via #smsports, a sports design community on Twitter. It’s an active group of designers and design enthusiasts from all over the world, and it serves as a forum for us to test designs, get advice on what’s new in the industry – essentially a safe space to experiment, learn and connect with like-minded people.
What was the brief given by the LFC marketing team regarding the poster design and what was your inspiration for the assembly?
It was honestly a fairly open brief. I had to include the ‘Walk On’ brand and the match details, but other than that there were no creative restrictions.
Right off the bat, I knew I wanted to do a mandala-style piece. The 3D elements of the mandala were directly inspired by the Shankly doors, which definitely have cultural value for the club and its fans.
What was your immediate reaction when the post went live and how did you feel knowing that your design was going to reach over 30 million followers on LFC’s social media page?
It was a very surreal feeling, to be honest. I had no idea what time the post would go, so I kept updating Instagram. I finally saw the post about 15 minutes late, and by that point it had already garnered 73,000 likes. That your work is seen and appreciated by so many people, is it just wild, and it really was? kind of moment for me.
How was the feedback from fans and family?
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from everyone. I was overwhelmed by the many messages of support from my friends as well as fellow sports designers. I’m glad fans liked the design as well and ultimately it’s the best thing a designer could ask for.
Tell us about your work with Lion City Sailors. What assets do you usually work on?
I joined the club at the end of October so everything is still quite fresh for me. I will be working on anything graphic design – even for club merchandise – but I think the work that everyone will see the most will be the match day graphics that are posted on the club’s various social media platforms. .
One thing fans may have already seen was the match day schedule for the Sailors’ final game of the 2021 season, when the club won the league title. It was an enjoyable experience, and I can’t wait to do more next season.
LCS branding and social media play has been excellent so far. How important is that when it comes to promoting the club?
I think it’s extremely important for any club to be on top of social media marketing. It is the best way to interact and interact with the fans. The club did a great job with him before I even joined him, and I think you can see the results with the increased fan attendance towards the end of the season.
I have known you personally, of course, since you photographed for the Singapore wrestling scene. How has this experience helped you in your current career? What are the biggest similarities and differences between filming and designing for professional wrestling and football?
The last few years spent in the professional wrestling scene in Singapore have been very important in improving my skills as a designer and photographer. Personally, I don’t think there is too much of a difference in design between the two sports.
When it comes to shooting on the other hand, I have the impression that football is more unpredictable. You can kind of predict the sequence of movements when shooting pro wrestling especially if you’re a big fan (which I am), but you can’t do that with football, so you’ll just have to stay on your toes and react quickly to events as they unfold. It takes a little getting used to, but I’m learning as I go.
How has your NS experience been and how has it influenced you in your design journey, if at all.
I was in Media Resource when I was at SAF MP Command, so I was fortunate enough to be able to continue working on graphic design and photography during my shift. I think not being able to conceive during this time would have been detrimental to my progress, and I’m grateful for this opportunity – to be able to serve our country, while still pursuing my passion.
What do you hope to accomplish in your designer career and what advice would you give to other aspiring designers?
I really wish I could design for more Premier League or European clubs, or even for big pro wrestling promotions. I think the biggest goal for me now is to set the standard for visuals in Asian football.
My advice to aspiring designers is to keep working and publishing your work. Earlier this year I started a project to do one design per day. I think it definitely helped my skills progress in a short period of time and it also drew a lot of attention to my work.
This article first appeared in Wonderwall.sg.