Rio 2016 logo
Rio 2016 logo, unveiled on Jan. 1

Isn’t it a bit early in the year to be talking Olympic logos? Not so, according to the authorities in Brazil who unveiled the logo for the upcoming, but still faraway, 2016 games in Rio de Janiero. Not wasting any time, the blogs grabbed hold with both eyes. Creative Review and Brand New both feature in-depth looks at the logo unveiling and the few graphic materials available. Tátil, the firm responsible for the design, has posted an online case study about the project.

London 2012
London 2012, not exactly the most popular Olympic logo of memory

In the wake of the London 2012 logo, unveiled in 2007, the design community and sports-watching public at large are in search of some rock-solid validation for any design decisions which may be initially perceived as wacky or unconventional. Apparently, though, we are getting just that.

Rio 2016 logo
Based on the profile of a mountain

The logo for Rio 2016 is made of three abstract human figures, joining hands in harmony and cooperation — a fine notion for a global games. But the shape of the logo is also based on the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain which overlooks Rio. Finally, if you look hard enough, you can see the word “Rio”, although this one is a stretch, even for those who work with type and shape on a daily basis. A custom script rounds out the offering and sets the stage for the larger visual style of the games. The strength of this logo is that it is organic and flowing, perhaps in deliberate contrast to the angular and sterile look of London’s offering. With 3D applications in mind, the logo is already beginning to come alive.

Rio 2016 logo
3D applications taken into consideration from the start

Olympics logos are no longer simply a matter of stamping a city name and year on a bunch of crappy merchandise. The challenge in these modern times is to create an all-encompassing graphic language that is applied to signage, clothing, on-screen graphics, merchandise, websites, advertising, packaging, architecture, and virtually every other form of mass media or design. To this end, we have yet to see how the hosts will expand their logo into more of an experience. Considering these are the people responsible for Carnival every spring, they’ve got their work cut out.

We will watch this one with great interest.

Rio 2016
Rio’s candidate logo

It’s also worth noting how different this was from the bid logo, pictured above. London’s too was quite different.

London 2012
London 2012 final logo (left) and candidate logo