UK Petition Launched to Address Geometrically Impossible Soccer Ball on Signs

The Register and other news outlets reported on a petition to change the soccer ball symbol on signs such as this in the UK.

The ball depicted on the sign is made entirely of hexagons, but it is impossible to construct a sphere solely from hexagons. Actual soccer balls solve this problem by adding pentagons into the pattern, so it is a little odd that this hexagon-only solution was chosen.

As the petition notes,

Changing this to the correct pattern of hexagons and pentagons would help raise public awareness and appreciation of geometry.

At this point, I’m genuinely curious as to how the hexagon-only pattern was adopted. Was it created by a designer who had never seen a soccer ball? Was there some visual reason that made more sense to ditch the pentagons? Was there an office bet to see if anyone would notice the error?

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