2024 will usher in the next Olympics Games, and with that, new branding for Team GB. Branding for events of this scale is no easy task! Considerations must be made to apply the brand style to a multitude of assets and design collateral, from clothing to various merchandise and official documents. This requires careful thinking and a versatile branding system that’s able to sit alongside commercial partners.
In this article, we’ll explore the new Team GB brand style, and take a look at the history of design through the Olympics.
What is Team GB’s New Olympic Branding?
When it comes to what your country’s Olympians are wearing, you’d expect the design to feel tied in with the brand you associate with your nation. And that’s exactly what Thisaway have done when collabing with Team GB on their brand for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“The brand needed to evolve strategically and visually. To develop a clear and compelling purpose and promise that could maintain the DNA of what has made it so successful, but also resonate deeper, across multiple channels, with athletes and audiences alike. It also needed to facilitate content that would engage and inspire the nation, not just during the Games, but every single day.”– Thisaway
Our very own digital designer Jon Francis shared his thoughts on the new brand style and assets:
“Team GB’s branding reaches further than just design alone, with an updated branding system and assets. I really appreciate that the agency behind the branding considered the voice of the team too, inviting athletes to discuss topics such as mental health and wellness that reflect the message of the team’s new slogan ‘Everyday Extraordinary’ and evolution from their existing ‘Believe in Extraordinary’ slogan.”– Jon Francis
All in all, it’s a modern take that hits the mark and catches the eye, while still feeling quintessentially British.
A Brief Look at Team GBs Olympic Identities
Fashion has come a long way, particularly over the last 20 years, and the evolution of the Olympic kit is certainly no different. From 1908 kits featuring petticoats, to the modern, yet quintessentially British kit designed by Thisaway this year, it’s no secret that designs have changed, and styles come and go. Let’s delve a bit deeper into the evolution of Team GB’s look over the past 10 years.
With the pressure on for the games to take place at home, we needed something different to inspire the country. Stella McCartney was employed to create something iconic for the team to wear.
Image from The Daily Mail
“I wanted the kit to be British, but understated, not ridiculous,” said McCartney, whose designs featured a blue hue rendering of the Union Jack intended to highlight ‘what makes Britain British’… I have so many incredibly proud memories from 2012… I remember every single newspaper front page, and how incredible the athletes looked in the kit.”– Stella McCartney
With this kit still considered iconic, it seems – at least to us – that she hit the nail on the head with this one!
Making a comeback from the 2012 Games, McCartney returned to create yet another stunning look for Team GB which featured a coat of arms that considered the four nations making up Team GB, whilst also incorporating innovative technology and cooling fabrics in the clothes.
“The coat of arms is all around us in Britain. It’s so much a part of us that we barely even notice it, but it is so distinctively British… I believe we have one of the greatest flags in the world, so I wanted to use the flag as much as possible.”– McCartney
This kit perfectly showcased a united team and the year’s corresponding motto that translates to ‘Joined in One’.
How the Olympic Rings Have Evolved Over Time
Of all the brands in the world, The Olympic Games have one of the most recognised brands out there. Publicly presented in 1913 for the first time, five coloured connecting rings sat on a white background. These five colours, blue, yellow, black, green and red have remained the foundational colours to the brand, but over the years these have expanded to allow for better digital application across brand assets, including pastel alternatives. The new Olympic design system is due to be in full swing by Paris 2024. You can find the new identity packaged up neatly below.
Colour is one part of a brand identity, with typography holding equal importance. To bring a strong typographic voice to the forefront of the Olympics, three exclusive typefaces were introduced. Olympic Headline was created for use as their display typefaces for use on punchy headlines, Olympic Sans for body copy and Olympic Serif for matters requiring a sense of tradition and elegance.
A History of Controversial Designs at the Olympics
Crafting the Olympics logo and brand can carry risks, despite such an exclusive client being at the top of most agencies’ bucket lists. All eyes are on the Olympics, and onlookers who love to pass judgement will air their thoughts on social media. The 2012 London Olympics evidenced this nicely, facing significant criticism on how well it reflected – or didn’t – the spirit of the Olympics.
Akin to cheating in sport, plagiarism won’t gain you any credibility in design. Japanese organisers scrapped their official logo following plagiarism claims against designer Kenjiro Sano. For a branding exercise this large, it’s only a matter of time before someone notices similarities in other design work.
So what can we take from all of this?
As you can see, there have been wins and fails throughout GB’s olympic participation, all underpinned by a designer or design team who have drawn on what it means to be British and how the vernacular and complexities of life can influence design.
If you’re looking to increase your brand awareness or create branding that truly captures who you are as a business, contact us today and chat to one of our friendly branding pros! We can help with all aspects of your brand awareness strategy and in the spirit of The Olympics we’ll ensure we help you beat your competition!