Monday, January 3, 2011

Plagiarism line over 2016 Olympic logo

Organizers of the Rio Olympics are on the suspicious after similarities between the logo for the 2016 Games and a Colorado-based charity foundation were discovered.

The logo, which was released on New Year's Eve at a huge celebration at Copacabana beach, depicts figures acceptance in a circular motion. It was soon noticed that the design resembles the logo for The Telluride
Foundation, a Colorado charity chaired by Norman Schwarzkopf. 

Take away the legs and the red dancer from the Telluride logo and you have Rio's. It's unquestionably similar. But is it plagiarism?

The director of the Brazilian agency that created the logo says no. Fred Gelli admits that there are similarities between the two, but guaranteed that his design was original. "For some reason, we missed that one," he said.

I posed the plagiarism query to Dan Levy, a graphic designer who also hosts a popular sports podcast. He said it's common for the logos of small businesses to partly cover but that it's unforgivable for a major international sporting event to come up with such an unoriginal design. If the Brazilian press could discover the resemblance between Rio 2016 and Telluride, then surely a research and development team could have done the same.

"These logos are way too close for my liking," Levy wrote in an e-mail. "Even the color dispersal is nearly identical. Somebody got ripped off."

The Telluride Foundation, which has yet to comment on the matter, may not be able to protest too loudly though. It seems that the generous organization did some design-borrowing of its own when it made its logo.

Some have noticed its similarity to "The Dancer" by Henri Matisse.

If simulation is the sincerest form of flattery, Matisse would be satisfied.

My biggest problem with the Rio logo isn't the similarity to Telluride's or the similarity between Telluride's and Matisse, but that the logo itself is dead and boring. Organizers say the design is supposed to stand for "contagious energy, harmonious diversity, exuberant nature and Olympic spirit." I must be missing something.