Did the Rio 2016 Olympics Steal Their New Logo?

Sure it’s been more than a year now, but we here in Chicago are still feeling the sting of losing the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janerio after a long, tough slog. That said, there’s a certain, subtle pleasure we’re experiencing due to the controversy over Rio’s just-released new Omypics logo. Like the London 2012 debacle before it, the new identity was launched to much fanfare, unveiled on New Year’s Eve on Rio’s Copacabana Beach, reportedly in front of nearly two million people. However, unlike London, since the big reveal the attention hasn’t been so much on the look and feel of the logo itself (or how it’s making people have seizures), but instead, if it was stolen. Comparisons have been made between the new Olympics logo and that of the non-profit, Colorado-based Telluride Foundation, both of which feature bright, uni-colored silhouettes holding hands in a circular formation. The Brazilian branding firm behind the new identity, Tatil, has denied that it had stolen the idea, or had even seen the other design. We’re inclined to believe them, given that a) it seems unlikely that the Telluride Foundation’s logo would have floated all the way down to Rio, b) that the new Olympics logo seems to be a continuation of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup identity (which had also come under fire, though not for theft), and c) if the similar concept is the issue at hand, then one could easily argue that both groups stole their logos from those “circle of friends” candle holders you’ve seen at every single neighborhood street fair or terrible gift shop since the beginning of time. So as much as this writer, as a curmudgeonly Chicagoan who won’t let things go, would like to see Rio have all sorts of egg on all sorts of faces this early on, we think this whole buzz might be a serious reach.