Founded in 1565, Rio de Janeiro (or Rio to friends) is the second largest city in Brazil (behind São Paulo) with more than 6 million people. From its favelas (slums) to its ritzy beaches, Rio is a diverse and complex city and is having quite a decade, with the World Cup coming this year and the Olympics in 2016. In between, the city will be celebrating its 450th anniversary in 2015 and the Prefeitura da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro (Municipality of Rio de Janeiro City) has been preparing for a big, fifty-year-long shindig. After running a contest to find a logo, the organization introduced this week the winning proposal, designed by Rio- and São Paulo-based Crama.
The brand’s 450th anniversary is an expression that, beyond the face of Rio, is the face of the celebration of this feast. A proposal to bring playful reflections on who we are and how much we love living where we are. It was designed to rescue the pride of belonging, through a simple and straightforward idea: if Rio is multicultural, multiethnic and multifaceted, the brand must reflect all this.
From this idea, we created a brand that identifies the people of Rio and makes fun of her way; a brand that represents what the carioca is most essential, showing the profile of who is proud to be what it is. Composed of 3 numbers of the celebration, the brand is the profile of our character: Marcos, Paula, Robson, of Helena, Peter, of Kylvia … and everyone who is part of Rio, whether by birth or By choice.
The previous logo, created on the occasion of the 400th anniversary, was designed in 1965 by Aloisio Magalhães, a successful corporate identity designer. (Google him!). Being such a simple icon, the logo has become, well, iconic and there is plenty of equity and nostalgia built into it. It was a nice logo, for sure. The new logo is also quite nice, just on a different wavelength. At first, all you see is a slightly odd “450”, which makes for an intriguing mark on its own. Then it goes all FedEx-arrow by revealing that it’s a nose, eye, smile, and chin that you can add hair to. The static images above don’t quite do it justice as those are crudely generated by an online script but the more stylized and considered animation directly above shows the real potential of the logo. In contrast to the 400th anniversary logo this is far too playful but in the context of 2015 branding and the desire for social engagement this is quite successful. The secondary “Rio 450” descriptor could be better; it’s not different or similar enough to the “450”, it could have been pushed more to one extreme or the other.
In application, it’s all prototypes for now and there isn’t much to be excited about — particularly not by the supporting “hand-drawn” typeface chosen. But the 450 mark has enough strength on its own to carry the spare layouts and bold blocks of color. Overall, it’s a charming mark that needs to find a more enduring visual ecosystem for the next 50 years — so at least it has time to find its groove.