In the northwest corner of Italy, roughly 50 miles from the Alps and the borders of France and Switzerland, is Torino. Home to Italy’s only cinematic museum, il Museo Nazionale del Cinema (the National Museum of Cinema), and il Salone del Gusto (the Fair of Flavors), one of the world’s largest food and wine fairs, Italy’s first capital is a quiet, elegant city criss-crossed with arcades and covered passageways. On February 10, when the 2006 Winter Olympic Games inhabits the city for sixteen days, Torino will host the world.
Unlike a corporate identity that unfolds over a number of years, successfully branding the Olympics is a short sprint that peaks during the event. It’s one of the most comprehensive design projects imaginable, with thousands of components that come together to ensure an integrated message during a global broadcast.
This six-year-long pursuit is one that the president and founder of Iconologic, Brad Copeland, knows well. Since being tapped, along with four other local firms, to develop the Look of the Games for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Iconologic (formerly Copeland Hirthler) has developed Olympic bids for four cities. It’s also played an advisory or design role, on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in the development of every Olympic Games image since Atlanta.
Despite the studio’s impressive involvement, the Olympic Games in Torino is a first for the eighteen-person studio: Iconologic is leading the design development of Torino’s Look of the Games—something that no company outside the host country has ever done.
In partnership with the Image and Identity department of the Organising Committee for the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games (TOROC), Iconologic has been preparing an integrated design pro-gram for the crowds that will pour into the region. Thanks to broadband and the Internet, the collaborative process has proceeded virtually 24/7 for almost two years.
Pulling the look together and making it local Branding the Olympics incorporates three principle elements: the Olympic rings, the host city emblem and the Look of the Games.
Ultimately, it’s the Look of the Games that provides the visual backdrop for the competition and extends the host city identity and the Olympic image, in print, broadcast and on the Internet. It becomes the cohesive visual environment for all of the diverse graphic and thematic elements; from medals, podiums and uniforms to tickets, maps, banners, fences and mascots, the color and design elements of the Look of the Games are seen everywhere—by everyone.
Copeland eloquently summarizes its importance, “What you show the world on television and what you show the spectators when they arrive is a lot of what they remember about the Games. The Look is an opportunity for the host city to present their cultural values in a visual form.” And, the diversity of the audience is staggering. Says Copeland, “We have several audiences for which we try to create an experience: number one, of course, is a global broadcast audience; number two is the spectators; and number three is the athletes. The Look of the Games brings things together emotionally, visually and thematically.” ca