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Inside the branding story for Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics


By Natalie Mortimer, N/A

February 18, 2016 | 3 min read

When Brazilian design agency Tatil won the brief to create the brand for the Rio 2016 Olympics in 2011 it beat of competition from 139 agencies, all vying to claim the high-profile prize.

“The brand is so strong and inspiring… it is a dream project and the most complex visual identity in the world,” said Fred Gelli, creative director or Tatil, speaking at Design Indaba 2016 in Cape Town.

“You need to dress the whole city. It’s funny to imagine that this year we will have our brand on 5th Avenue [New York] and at the same time printed in a newspaper in a small village in the Himalayas.”

But before the work is draped around the globe Tatil had to create the brand and for the first time involved all of staff in both its Rio and Sao Paulo offices, from the IT department to the agency’s receptionist, to give everyone a place in the creative process and exchange opinions.

Over 50 different iterations of the logo were created until the agency settled on a 3D image that included 12 different attributes to reflect Rio and resonate globally, Gelli explained.

“The challenge of the briefing was huge. There were more than 12 different attributes to put in one symbol. The first is to reflect the local culture but at the same time be universally understood, sometimes it’s difficult to do it together and establish the balance. It also had to be dynamic, to be innovative, to be happy, and reflect the carioca way of living, our enthusiasm, and our energy.”

Gelli said the agency took a risk with the 3D logo, which is based on three people connecting hands in green, blue and orange to reflect the land, water and warmth of the Rio people. The decision to choose a 3D based image came from the fact that Rio is a “sculpture city” with its mountainous back drop.

After completing the branding Tatil was then invited by the Paralympic Committee to devise the branding for the 2016 Paralympic games, also in Rio. The brand builds on the Olympic logo and feel given the games’ close ties.

Gelli and his team are now working on the opening ceremony for Paralympic Games which takes place on 7 September 2016. The Olmpic Games opening ceremony takes place on 5 August at the city’s Maracanã Stadium.


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