Tschutti Heftli puts the “beautiful” in the beautiful game
By now, American soccer fans have long grown accustomed to collecting the obligatory headshot stickers produced by Panini before each World Cup. But if you are looking for something more artistic to add your collection, consider scouring the Internet for Tschutti Heftli stickers from Switzerland.
The stickers were originally created by a group of friends in Lucerne, Switzerland prior to the 2008 European Championship as an antidote to the more commercial offerings that collectors had available to them. Tschutti Hetfli’s stickers are made from artists’ renderings of the world’s greatest football players. What you see is the artist’s interpretation of each player. Every two years, a new album is created prior to the European Championship or the World Cup. Though the stickers are mainly sold in Switzerland and Germany, they are also available through the company’s website and occasionally on Ebay. One of the group’s original masterminds, Silvan Glanzmann spoke to us from Switzerland about how Tschutti Heftli came to be.
What was the inspiration behind Tschutti Heftli?
We did our first album in 2008 when the European Championships were located in Switzerland (and Austria), We noticed there was a lot of commercial action, and we wanted to do something more cultural. We wanted to show that football isn’t just about money and business but about passion and having fun.
How easy or difficult was it to find artists to participate?
Because I’m an illustrator myself, we had a lot of contacts to that scene. It was quite easy to find them. Most recently, we found them by doing an international contest (Artists had to do a portrait of Diego Maradona to show us their style.), and we had a jury (including Alexi Lalas) that did the selection. It was quite hard, because we got more than 500 entries from all over the world. and most of them were high quality illustrations.
Can you explain the process of how the sticker set is made? For example, how do you choose the players? What do you have to do once the artist submits their work?
As soon as we know the artists and all of the teams that will participate in the World Cup, we set up a list of 11 players that could possibly be in the starting squad of each team. That’s quite hard, because a lot can happen before the summer. In 2014, for example, our album matched the starting squad of Brazil exactly in the first game. The artists will have until end of January to create all the portraits, and then we start the production so we have everything ready by April.
Do you give the artists any guidance?
We just give them guidance if they need or want it. We just tell them to do their work in the style of the winning portrait from the contest, because we also tried to select as many different styles as possible.
Have you heard from individual players about how they feel about the project or their image?
We had some of the Swiss players post their stickers on social media but not many other responses so far.
How difficult is it for someone to complete an entire set?
It shouldn’t be too difficult if you live in an area where there are other collectors. We set up a lot of swap meets in Switzerland and Germany. If you just collect them via online shop without meeting other collectors, it’s a bit more difficult. But we always give collectors the opportunity to complete the set after the World Cup by selling single stickers on our website.
What happens to the original artwork that is used to create the sticker?
We have done some exhibitions before and during the World Cup. This year we will also cooperate with an online art platform that gives the people the opportunity to buy the original artworks from the artists.
What are you most proud of about the project?
That’s difficult to say. I am very happy that it worked out for more than 10 years already (6th album this season), and that we could spread our message of a less commercial more cultural view on soccer that far, (To the U.S. and your readers apparently!) and also to give our artists a platform to show and promote their work. I’m always happy when our artists are getting assignments because an art director or a company has noticed their work in our album.