After struggling with drug addiction following his retirement from professional football in 1991, former FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid player Julio Alberto Moreno decided to dedicate his life to tackling the issue through his charity, the Relife Foundation.
To bring attention to the cause, Moreno launched a charity football match to take place annually between legendary players from FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atlético Madrid.
Partnering with London- and Paris-based graphic design agency Yarza Twins, the initiative needed an enticing identity to help bring the cause to life, and attract the interest of some of the world’s biggest clubs as well as football fans.
The designers handled the naming, Roja a las Drogas (meaning Red Card to Drugs), as well as the design, creative direction, and motion design.
“We aimed for a tone that’s passionate and impactful,” say the agency’s founders, Eva and Marta Yarza. “Think of it like waving a red card – a strong and clear message. The design and campaign tone had to be serious about the cause but also capture the excitement and energy of legendary football matches and the sports’ visual language.”
In keeping with the name, the branding for Roja a las Drogas juxtaposes shades of black and white with a bold red hue, emphasising the messaging while nodding to the fight against drug addiction that it represents.
This primary colour is further contrasted against black and white photographs of past and present footballing legends, highlighting the calibre of the players participating in the special match while speaking to the fact that addiction can challenge even the most elite of athletes.
“From a designer’s perspective, balancing the serious nature of the cause with the celebratory feel of a football match was a bit of a tightrope walk,” the designers tell us. “We wanted the visuals to shout about fighting drug addiction while still keeping the spirit of those iconic football teams alive. And, of course, getting these three major clubs on board for the first time ever and coordinating everything was no small feat!”
Eventually succeeding in their mission, Roja a las Drogas took place on 30 December 2023 after a gala dinner in Madrid. The match was a success, with 13,000 tickets sold to watch iconic players from the three Spanish clubs coming together to support the cause.
“It’s not just a match, it’s a movement,” they add. “Relife, under Julio’s lead, is doing some real work in the fight against drug addiction.
“The success of Roja a las Drogas is more than just the game; it’s about making a lasting impact and showing that everyone, even football legends, can face tough times. Together, with fans and these amazing players, we’re making waves against addiction.”