Riot Games Europe
Unleashing a new era for esports
Since 2006, Riot Games been at the forefront of helping esports explode into the mainstream. They’re responsible for developing one of the world’s most successful games – League of Legends – as well as broadcasting and running global competitions where die-hard fans can participate simultaneously around the world.
Our relationship with Riot Games began with the LEC (League of Legends European Championship) in 2018 and over a period of five years has led to work with several other Leagues – LCK (League of Legends Korea), LPL (League of Legends China), LLA (League of Legends Latin America) and VCS (League of Legends Vietnam).
Riot’s European League had accumulated a huge community without really understanding what they were about. In the nascent esports world, they had defaulted to the tropes of traditional sports broadcasting – anchors, suits, desks. Our goal was to dismantle these clichés and create a unique brand not only built for their community, but by their community. A strategy and identity flexible enough to take them into any exciting direction the future pushed them in.
Understanding the community
We immersed ourselves in pro-gaming culture, and met a hugely diverse community from across Europe, united by their love of gaming. Beyond competitive play, the meme-packed humour of both the fans and shoutcasters made tournaments wildly entertaining.
To help us create a brand that embodied this lively, passionate spirit, we defined a proposition that reflected the attitude of the people who are part of it, rather than its organisers. Putting the fans front and centre, and capturing their attitude in a bold statement: “Unleash Together”.
Alongside a new name: ‘League of Legends European Championship’ (‘LEC’ for short), we created a fresh new identity and broadcast package, influencing the roadshows and set design.
The logo captures the spirit of ‘Unleash Together’, an explosion of triumph and celebration. Two sides representing the two competing teams, coming together in one arena, for one crown. Every element in the wider graphic language is inspired by the clash of teams, fans and cultures within the league.
From digital to physical
Our collaboration with the LEC has stretched across films, stage design, immersive events and trophy design. In every case, our flexible design system helps bridge the gap between stadium and screen, with motion, sound design and multi-sensory experiences playing a huge role in how and where these brands live.
Changing the game
From 2018 to 2019, LEC overall viewership hit 1.5 million unique views, equating to 50% year on year growth. Concurrent viewership reached around 300,000 views, equating to 40% year on year growth.
Over the last five years, we’ve helped create a fully experiential brand for LEC, with the breadth to translate across all touchpoints, however functional or whimsical. It’s been our mission to continue helping LEC find new ways to engage their fans — from the broadcast toolkit to season finals identities, from films to bizarre memes, from epic stage design to easter-egg filled digital events.
With so much conviction behind it, LEC has moved beyond a brand to become a cultural icon — becoming an entertainment experience parallel to world class events.
"It’s hard to put into words how awesome it was to work with DesignStudio on this project - this brand is the result of what a meaningful collaboration looks like, and consequently helped us shape the future of our sport."
Senior Brand Manager, Riot Games
Five years on
Following the initial rebrand, we’ve continued to work with LEC on the concept, identity and experience for each year’s season finals event. Using each host city’s characteristics and history to create exciting narratives, our finals aren’t just sporting events, they’re transportive experiences.
Athens 2019 imagined the LEC as an underground rebellion, taking over the city with protest graphics and immersing fans in a technological finale at the arena. In Malmö 2022, we brought 15,000 fans back together for the first time after a worldwide lockdown, with an experience inspired by the Land of the Midnight Sun, and its optimistic summer sunlight.
Most recently, we created an extra-dimensional finals paradise, reimagining Montpellier as a convergence of realities – mashing together ancient stone columns, LEC madness, and of course, a flying crab.