2016 Olympic Applicant City Logos :: No Wonder Rio Won

Olympic logos from the 2016 applicant cities.

Olympic logos from the 2016 applicant cities.

Every four years, cities from around the world vie to be the host of an upcoming Olympics. Beginning in 2007, cities began their campaigns for the 2016 Olympics. As you probably know by now, Rio was chosen to be the host for the 2016 Summer Olympics and it will be the first time it’s been held in South America.

If you ask me, it’s no wonder Rio was chosen. Just look at their applicant logo! Design-wise and aesthetic-wise it is clearly the winner. They integrated the typography in a clever way and were clearly unique in their decision to not use the five standard Olympic colors. (Keep in mind these are the applicant logos and as applicants, they are not entitled to use the Olympic rings in their logos.)

Yes, I know. All of the logos were conceptual and tied in nicely to their city’s culture. But for me, Chicago’s use of a star seems like, well, it’s been done before. Madrid’s welcoming waving hand is cute, but not enough (even with the hidden M for Madrid). And Tokyo’s blessing knot is a nice concept, but a weak execution (IMHO). Rio’s abstraction of their landmark mountains with unique colors is sophisticated and classy. And the clever way they tied in the “i” in Rio with the “1” in 2016 used as an exclamation mark is conceptually exceptional and truly ties it all together. (More about each logo’s meaning.)

Of course, I’m not on the voting committee. And even if I were, I clearly would not have voted based on the aesthetics of the logo alone, but it would have been difficult to ignore. Even Rio’s applicant website trumps the other three.

Sure, all of these logos are well designed, but Rio’s is clearly the strongest. And nothing could ever be as bad as the 2012 London Olympic logo in solid magenta with hard-to-read, doodle-like lettering. How did that ever get chosen? We’re going to be seeing way too much of that awful, 80’s inspired logo in just a few years. We’ll blog about that one soon!


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