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World Youth Day Design Repurposed Cliché Elements, United Global Audience


When design works, it can unite people. At least that seemed to be the case at the World Youth Day (WYD) event as observed from the outside. The visuals of WYD, or Jornada Mundial de la Juventud (JMJ) as written in Portuguese, left a lasting impression on my mind when I visited Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the end of July (but no, I did not see the Pope!).

As a designer, I appreciate good branding and identity systems, and the JMJ event in Rio had just that. Aside from sporting events, I don’t recall ever seeing such a large group of people from all across the globe wearing similar shirts, jackets, hoodies, hats, necklaces, backpacks, water bottles and more – all consistent with the same branding.

WYD-brandingWhatever corner of the world these pilgrims came from, the branding was consistently used and stood out. The yellow, green and blue color palette and the heart-enclosed Christ statue event logo were clearly spotted all around the city. Even when I was at the Houston airport before taking off to Rio, the swarm of young people in JMJ gear was readily apparent.

I give props to the young, independent designer that created the logo by taking what we would normally call cliché elements and combining them to make a distinct identity that clearly branded the event.

All in all, the brand was well-executed and highly functional across international audiences. I hope this is just a glimpse of what’s ahead for event branding in Rio!


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