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The Branded Spectrum

24 Mar

Expressing Culture in a Brand: The Rio 2016 Logo

Few logos receive the scrutiny that an Olympic logo does. Released five years in advance of its respective games, an Olympic logo is the first visual glance the world gets at an Olympiad. It needs to weave together story, culture, athleticism, movement and spirit, and do so in a way that is good looking enough to please the people, yet evocative enough to make them want to talk about it.

 

In light of the design travesty that was the London 2012 logo, it was clear that the Rio 2016 logo had to get it right. Brazilian design team Tátil presented a graphic highly rich in story. It's a stylized rendering of the word 'Rio' as well as a loosely topographic tracing of the physical city itself (with a high and a low mountain visible). It alludes to the shape of a human heart and depicts a celebration between three cariocas, native inhabitants of Rio. (I might add that this celebratory sense does feel a bit exclusionary, as if the three are celebrating themselves, rather than the achievements of the rest of the world.) Beyond the line work however, is the single most effective element to the graphic – its colour.

 

It was the Brazilian government that stipulated which colours had to be included here. Green, they said, would represent native forests and a sense of hope. Blue would convey the fluidity of their water and their easygoing nature. Finally, yellow would speak to the sun, and to the warmth of the Brazilian people. The brief essentially asked for the colours of the Brazilian flag, but for this logo, they've been modified and refined to be elevated above the expected, overt patriotism we might see from other countries. These are green, blue and yellow with life breathed into them, as if they actually move and swell in the Brazilian heat. They're deeper, sexier versions of their platitude flag basics.

 

I used to be a member of global forecasting agency, Color Marketing Group, and was always taken by how forecast palettes from various regions of the world differed from each other, yet respectively retained definite qualities from year to year. North American palettes were often geared toward popular consumerism; Asian palettes had a refined dual sense of art and industry instilled in them; and European palettes were often fashion-y; they were about taking chances. The South American palettes, however, were unlike any in the world because they almost always looked to their surrounding nature. These colours, year after year, felt like a walk through the jungle, or along the water. Rich vegetative greens; hot yellow-oranges; the cold call of cyan – they were colours that were specified in a humid climate, by people who lived under the sun.

 

It's the same sensibility that framed the colours of this logo, which in my opinion, are the real stars here. They communicate more about the Brazilian culture and story than the graphic line work does. They speak very clearly of a place and a people, and whether or not you go to these games, I suspect part of you will wish you did.

 

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Color Objects encourages you to get a better eye and appreciation for colors and characters. To get a special selection of pics and info for you, we find designers and artists that make colorful work from all over the world. There's a lot of character in colors, and having a closer look will change your view of the world and people around you. So we share a host of pics and info from design, art, cultures and the natural world. All about colors.

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