Trophies and relief models

How many trophies can you name that have a relief model globe in them?

I was passing through a hotel lobby last week and caught a glimpse of the Golf Channel, which I never watch. The sound was off. On screen with the commentators was a very large trophy of a golden lion with one paw on top a blue-green relief globe. It was on screen for only a few seconds and was not any trophy or award I recognized. After some image research, I was surprised to discover just how many famous awards and trophies DO have a relief globe incorporated.

Since many of the trophies are “world champion” awards, they might naturally incorporate a globe–but why add the relief texture to the continents?

I’ve written previously about the use of relief globes in film company logos. Incorporation of relief globes in film company logos signaled a modern knowledge of the world. The added relief was both aesthetically beautiful and technically advanced, displaying a cosmopolitan literacy, expensive tastes, and casual prowess. Likewise in global trophies and awards, rare technical skill and beautiful form combine to signal taste, prowess, and cosmopolitanism. If you win a global award, you are the ne plus ultra!


HERO Motorcycles World Championship Golf Trophy

HERO Motorcycles World Championship Golf Trophy, won recently by Tiger Woods.

Here is the trophy that I saw on the Golf Channel, the HERO Motorcycles Golf Trophy. They’ve since modified it to show golf ball dimples in the ocean bottoms.

The FIFA World Cup trophy. Most recently, it was broken on the filed by the German team after winning it.

The FIFA World Cup trophy. Most recently, it was broken on the field by the German team after winning it.

A few years ago USA Today featured the FIFA World Cup Trophy in an article that features a beautiful close-up of its relief globe and Atlas-like golden athletes–but USA Today called it the worst trophy in the world! “Relatively cool up close,” says the article, meaning the detail of the globe’s relief and artistic rendering of the struggling players, but “from a distance, it looks like a burrito from a food truck that uses gold-colored foil.”

The most beautiful, I think is the World Hockey Championship trophy (what Americans would consider field hockey). Other than a hockey stick perched on the north pole by a rather fragile-looking attachment, the trophy is quite scientific and beautiful.

The Cricket World Cup has a globe, an etched reticule and decorative simulated meridian (band), but I have to forgive them that the continents are etched boundaries instead of raised relief.  The globe and meridian design is mimicked on 2017 championship t-shirts, too.


Field Hockey World Cup, or called just the Hockey World Cup for those who aren’t in countries with English-style field hockey.

Image By Bingabonga1 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Cricket World Cup









Film and Music

The Golden Globes award is shown at the top of this article. A close-up view was used for a recent op-ed item pleading for documentary category in film awards.

World Music Award

World Music Award

The World Music Award has a relief globe as its centerpiece. In some years, the globe is replaced by a glass etched globe in relief, which is also compelling.

Emmy Award with 2 styles of globes.

Emmy Award with 2 styles of globes.

The Emmy Award has an open globe and a raised reticule base, which doesn’t fit the category but is worth including. The Smithsonian Museum Library, which used to be known as the U.S. Museum in Edwin Howell’s time when he supplied the best relief models to its museum exhibits, won an Emmy in the Graphic Arts category in 2011 for its work.



MTV Europe Music Award

The MTV Europe Music Awards has a irreverent relief globe with the MTV logo spiraling out of the Kamchatka Peninsula or Japan…can’t quite get a coordinate on it.

U.S. artist Lady Gaga performs during the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards (EMA) show held at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Britain Nov 2011

U.S. artist Lady Gaga performs during the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards (EMA) show held at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Britain Nov 2011

As an aside, in 2011 Lady Gaga won most of the MTV Europe Music Award categories and she performed ‘Marry the Night’ with a huge relief moon as a stage prop. Thinking back to my comments on what relief models signal in the way of timeless technical skill and realistic beauty, she was thinking strategically about her imagery!

Visual Effects Society trophy, image from 'A Trip to the Moon' (1902) The Visual Effects Society doesn’t have a moon relief globe but a smashed relief disc, imagery from the 1902 first science fiction film “A Trip to the Moon.”




Quiz: What’s the round object in the middle of the World Series of Baseball trophy?