The winning championship trophy by design agency, D3 Design has been hailed as a future icon for football around the world. Football Federation Australia had gone in search of a winners’ trophy for the Hyundai A-League competition, inviting Australian design agencies to submit concepts for the trophy.

With so many iconic footballing trophies in existence around the world, from the FA Cup to the World Cup, the federation decided that design agency D3 broke the mould with their concept.

The winning design was chosen based on the votes of thousands of fans across the country, as well an exclusive panel of expert judges.

John O’Neill, chief executive officer, Football Federation Australia said he was pleased with the standard of all entrants.

“All the designs we received were of the highest standard and thanks must go out to each of the five agencies for the time, effort and creativity they put into their submissions. In the end, the panel of judges felt the D3 design best reflected the brand values of ‘new Football’ and could easily become intrinsically and enduringly linked with the Hyundai A-League.

“The aim has always been to develop a trophy that is both prestigious and enduring, but also differentiates the Hyundai A-league competition from the other sports. We have a new national league and we feel it is important to re-define the conventional view of a trophy to reflect this.”

Clive Solari of D3 design said the agency wanted its trophy concept to embody the historical significance of sport in a contemporary design.

“We looked to history to see how great achievements have been rewarded across all types of games for thousands of years. The winners of the world’s original sporting competition, the Olympic Games, were presented with a laurel wreath on their heads. We used this model as a basis for a unique, cutting-edge design – our trophy is a modern and versatile translation of the wreath.”

The brief

Football Federation Australia recognised that the Hyundai A-League needed an appropriate trophy to place the national competition among the great sporting events around the world.

The federation also identified that the development of a trophy also brought an opportunity to create a sporting icon that could become a symbol of the league and the code itself.

With the support and assistance of the Design Institute of Australia, a brief went out to design agencies for concepts.

“Your challenge is to create an iconic trophy that is not only coveted by players and clubs, but also becomes a symbol of the league and the code itself,” the brief said.

“This trophy will become a reflection of the values and attributes associated with the A-league and the new football brand. For many years to come, teams will vie for the opportunity to bask in its glory and young enthusiasts will dream of one day being held aloft on the shoulders of their team-mates, trophy in hand, as the fans cheer.

“We need to find the balance between creating something that is contemporary in its design and reflects the attributes of the A-League, but also holds a degree of prestige and will stand the test of time from a design point of view.

“The core essence behind our brand is to re-position football with a fresh, youthful attitude that instills a new energy into the game and helps separate ‘new football’ from the negative baggage still linked to old ‘soccer’ in Australia. Essentially we are looking to hit a sweet spot within ‘Australian youth culture’, but in a way that is not exclusive to our existing fans and families.”

The brief went on to list characteristics such as creative, instinctive, irreverent, streetwise, expressive, welcoming and eclectic. There were a number of technical specifications and mandatory requirements.

D3 Design

Choosing which concept to put forward was probably one of the hardest things for us to do. We had concurrently developed our two preferred concepts in a hope that one of them would stand out as the best one to enter the competition with. 

It was a split decision within the studio, so we presented both concepts to members of a local football club.

We scrutinised the design brief again and came to the conclusion that our second concept didn’t move far enough away from a traditional trophy feel – an absolute requirement of the brief.

The winners can hold the wreath-like trophy above their heads as a symbol of success and they can also wear it around their necks as they complete their lap of honour after the award ceremony. The trophy is easily passed from player to player with each one
in turn ‘wearing’ the trophy. 

When displayed in a cabinet, the trophy will sit on a glass football which, when illuminated, will radiate red and orange light shining from the translucent inner ring. Light would also shine through a three dimensional representation of the A-League logo that we have created and embedded into the body of the trophy. 


The ‘staff’ has long been an icon of leadership. This distinctive form is an effective method of achieving the A-League’s desire to separate itself from the image of ‘old football’.

Extracting the trophy from its rest will become an iconic new tradition. Handcrafted from a combination of machined aluminium and fully welded sheet steel. The ball is spun sheet metal and held via a threaded 25mm solid metal rod. A leather handgrip, and stone-like base.

Surface finishes include chrome plating, etching and metal polishing.


The shape of the trophy reflects the dynamic airflow and speed of the football in full flight, with the frosted glass orb in the centre being the football.

The ball in the centre of the trophy would be constructed from either a frosted glass or chrome metal, and would be supported in the centre of the trophy by the seven lobes.

The seven lobes represent the current and future teams of the A-League arching for the ultimate prize. The lobes would be made from aluminium using a lost wax casting method. Each lobe would then be painted, and then the outside edge finished and polished. The lobes would be fixed together using a metal bracket to be located at the base of the trophy.

The base would be turned from a solid piece of timber, and then have a high quality gloss black finish with appropriate logos pad printed to the front.

The shape of the lobes reflect the letter ‘A’ of the A-League, and the trophy when viewed from the top reflects the A-League brand mark.

The materials and colours of the trophy reflect the ideals and aspirations of the A-league.


This concept embodies the rise of two teams from a common base, through the season, reaching the finals and then to playoff in the grand final.

The golden core of the trophy represents the heart and soul of the players, coaches and all of those who have worked hard all season to create these two winning teams. The focus is on the journey to playoff and the quality of the contestants rising to the top.

It is at once a trophy, a cup, a coat of arms, precious jewellery, a sculpture of the intensity of the contest. It is a frozen moment in time, capturing the tension just seconds before kick-off on grand final day, and reflecting upon the effort to arrive there, perhaps to win.

The sculptural qualities convey expression and creativity, it brings together an eclectic mix of materials and forms with the irreverent splotch ball graphic etched on the trophy ball. It is streetwise in its hotrod finishing and the FFA logo underneath is clearly where the rubber grips the road.

Form Designs

The shape and direction of the arms of the trophy are indicative of the path one may take to reach the level of the A-League. With all arms starting at the same base level, they then separate on their journey forwards, with the same goal in mind, many different paths can be taken. Once reaching the highest level, the arms then oppose one another in direct competition for the ultimate prize.

The appearance of the Southern Cross gives the trophy a feeling of heritage and history. The location of the stars on the trophy, at the end of the arms, represents a goal to be reached at the end of a journey. The stars also represent the individual brilliance of some players in the A-League.

The glass hemisphere on the top is at the highest point of the trophy. The pentagonal shape of the trophy base is related to the number of stars featured.

We believe a trophy is a symbol of achievement not a physical prize, so many elements are symbolic of all the aspects of greatness, heritage, skill and the competition of a journey. 

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