Last week, Team GB revealed its maximalist rebrand in anticipation of the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The bright and beautiful identity has been created to help add more versatility, interest and longevity to a sporting organisation that is only in the mind of the nation every two years.
With the Summer and Winter Olympics rearing its head every couple of years, it was important for Team GB to help people understand the work they do between each games, helping to unite and inspire the country by telling the stories of the extraordinary athletes that Great Britain helps to put centre stage.
At the heart of the identity is an updated and expanded colour palette, as well as a range of patterns inspired by the athletic attributes of Team GB, such as speed, precision, flexibility and power. These patterns help to give the brand a broader range of assets they can use to add interest to an ever growing list of digital outputs that businesses, brands and organisations now have at their disposal to attract their target audience. The expanded colour palette also allows them to create unique content for different sports, athletes, and sectors of the organisation.
The new identity is a wonderful example of how you can give a toolkit to a large organisation that allows them to appeal to an audience as broad as a whole country of sport loving citizens such as Great Britain.
When major organisations such as Team GB or The Olympics develop an identity, it can often be a challenge to strike a balance between unique and interesting, or all things to all people. We can see these different approaches taken up by the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the UEFA 2024 Euros due to be hosted in Germany.
The identity for Paris is a delightful and uniquely Parisian approach to the Olympics. Straight off the bat you’re faced with a logo that combines a medal, the olympic flame and Marianne, the figure that represents the French republic. This is then paired with a unique typeface that takes its visual cues from Metro stations and the art-deco movement that originated in France in the 1910’s. The logo feels elegant and stylish, full of movement and fluidity.
The overall identity when applied feels distinctly Parisian and according to Julie Matikhine, the Paris 2024 brand director, “Combining sport and style is the graphic signature of Paris 2024”, and it’s hard to disagree with her. The colour palette feels slightly adjacent to the usual bright and primary colours associated with the Olympics, and the symmetrical, human-less pictograms aim to do more than simply state what sporting event you’re watching.
This wonderful approach to a major sporting event identity is however in stark contrast to another major event being held in 2024, the UEFA Euros in Germany. The identity used for next year’s competition are quite similar to some of England’s campaigns in major competitions. Close, but not quite good enough.
Whilst the logo plays some neat tricks, with the icon and typography taking cues from the Olympiastadion Berlin, the colours aim to represent every country, but end up feeling like they don’t really represent any country, not even the host nation itself. The typeface, whilst bespoke and taking in all the different languages of Europe, feels bland. Pair these colours and typography with very safe and very flat illustrations, and you’re left with an identity that feels faceless and a major sporting competition which doesn’t feel as though it’s tied to its country. Which is a great shame as with an individual identity and strong brand, fans will find it easier to associate incredible memories of sporting achievements and national pride with your country. Events such as Italia 1990 and London 2012 both benefited from having identities which were individual, visually engaging and having strong links to the host nations.
This goes to show that making your brand have a distinct look and feel that is true to your values and who you are, will always be more effective than a logo and identity that tries to appeal to everyone and everything all at once.
Looking further into the future. We can see how two major sporting events across the pond are taking the idea of a distinct, location based identity into consideration, with both the 2026 World Cup being held in Canada, USA and Mexico, and the 2028 Olympic Games located in Los Angeles, implementing graphical elements that help their identities be more than just your average sporting logo.
This year the 2026 FIFA World Cup Brand was revealed, featuring a strikingly minimal logo. For the first time ever, an image of the infamous trophy is being used, placed in front of an abstract and bold 26, which form is used throughout the identity to create colourful and contemporary patterns. The new logo already feels like a mark of its time and of its location, ready for a digital world, and contrasting to the identities of world cups from previous decades.
Whilst the identity came under fire for its simplicity, it’s worth noting that the identity needed to have a solid and adaptable foundation on which to reflect the three countries that are hosting the tournament. With colour palettes and patterns that symbolise and identify the 16 different host cities in Canada, USA and Mexico.
We can see already from the applications on the world cup website and also on their social accounts, that the 2026 brand identity is going to be one filled with bright colours and bold patterns. It might take some time to get used to, especially if you go off some of the unsavoury comments on their Instagram. But I think it’s a strong look, that uses colours and patterns in a way that World Cup identities haven’t had for a long time.
Staying in the US, the 2028 Olympics Games, this time being held in Los Angeles, revealed their ever changing logo. With the A in LA appearing differently in each use. Over 35 and counting designs have been created by athletes, actors, artists and pop stars. With each letter representing what Los Angeles means to them and their story. It’s a unique approach and a first for the olympic games. This approach allows the games to stand out against those who’ve gone before, but it also helps to relate back to the core values of the olympics and how they unite an incredibly diverse world, allowing them to compete and showcase their talents.
Do want your brand to feel unique and represent your values? If so, get in touch.
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