With the Olympics upon us and so much having been said about the current London Olympics logo created by our peers over at Wolff Olins, our team was inspired to tackle a quick charrette covering not only this summer’s London games, but also the impending games in Sochi, Russia (Winter, 2014); Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (Summer, 2016); and Pyeongchang, South Korea (Winter, 2018).
Our team of designers — including Christopher Goodhue, Alan Finch, Jon Dicus, Valentine Sanders, and Justin Vachon — dove into the cultural fabric of each city, building dossiers detailing potential points of interest capable of providing a foundation for a scheme. These origins were tested in the trenches, as the team developed hundreds of iterations of dozens of approaches, with each avenue subjected to rigorous critique by the studio at large.
We responded to the rambunctious energy of the Wolff Olins logo by intentionally heading in a different direction. The result combined the 30 St Mary Axe (aka Gherkin) tower’s iconic architecture with the olympic torch to capture the aspirational nature of the games, the blending of cultures, and the sense of tradition that represent both the games themselves and the modern city of London.
After initial pursuit of solutions emphasizing this resort town’s location on the coast of the Black Sea in the shadow of the Caucasus Mountains, the team focused on abstractions rooted in the floral patterns found in Russian iconography and embroidery. The final distillation retains the sense of linework and balance and is ripe for extension to pattern applications across media.
The team’s explorations of Rio de Janeiro and Brasil’s culture opened a pandora’s box of vibrant options alive with color and sensual form. But our winning solution takes a different tack, presenting an elegant merging of the olympic rings and the letters of Rio. The subtle and clear form lends itself to application as an anchor to a broader campaign and a collaborator with those bright colors and organic shapes.
Viewed as a system from day one, this scheme uses shapes inspired by the human body — speed skating, figure skating, ski jumping — and a confident color palette to imply motion. The focus here is on athleticism in its myriad forms, and the concept accommodates a host of variations per-sport or per-venue. The result of pairing the varied distilled forms yields a series of elegant ‘snowflakes’.