Now that Brazil has recovered from the World Cup — the organizing part not the getting-their-ass-whooped part — the country can focus its energy on caring about the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in 2016. Yesterday, marking the two-year countdown, the organizing committee unveiled the Look of the Games, designed by their in-house team.
Inspired by Brazil, Brazilians and Rio de Janeiro, the look is multicolored and vibrant as the harmonic diversity of our people. The look is organic, enveloping like an embrace, inspired by our lush nature and warmth. Bring fluids and energetic features, as well as our art, our identity.
More than a “Look” or a kit of parts like we are used to seeing, this is almost a secondary, giant logo. It’s fun to look at, it’s colorful, it ties in to the more recognizable brand asset that is the Rio 2016 typeface, and it has some landmark references hidden in it, but… it’s kind of very weird and ambiguous as well. As a single piece of design and illustration it’s enjoyable but as a basis for what is usually one of the most complex identity programs in the history of things it seems like an odd place to start.
Developed by teams of design and management of the Rio 2016 brand, the project took about a year to complete. For its development, studies of historical-cultural and identity present in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro and a photographic immersion in the landscape aspects of the region were performed, in addition to four other cities Soccer - Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Salvador.
According to the team responsible for the project, which was developed internally, Rio de Janeiro is present in the scenario through your icons, in which is recognized throughout Brazil and that inhabit the imagination of every tourist. The look is organic and immersive “like a hug”, inspired by the exuberant nature and warmth.
The above icons show the positive potential of this language, though. They focus on a landmark and then apply this kind of stained-glass-meets-carnaval graphic filter to it that yields rather interesting compositions.
Where things start getting wobbly and not too exciting is in the larger applications, with what appear to be tight crops of the main graphic superimposed with the pictograms. Obviously these are early renderings and proof of concept — things tend to look far cooler in reality. Still, it feels flat. The Rio 2016 look reminds me slightly of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games look but with warmer colors and less ambition (for the time being).
It’s too early to be so harsh on this, as there is more than a year to nail it down and make it applicable to the actual structures and allowing it to evolve but unlike other unveilings — I’m particularly thinking of the Sochi 2014 look — there isn’t a “wow” moment yet for Rio 2016. My main hope is that they don’t underuse the beautiful typeface which, so far, takes the gold in their brand efforts.
Plans are in development for coming back to Europe in Spring of 2018 with the current top contender host city of Barcelona.