Brazil’s logo for the 2014 World Cup was supposed to symbolise unity. But the simple green and gold design of hands joining together like the World Cup itself has had quite the opposite effect.
Brazilians have slated the logo for two main reasons. One, for the way it was chosen, by a closed committee and with no public participation. And two, because it’s ugly.
“It’s poorly done, unfinished, the curves are not well drawn, the hands are distorted and it’s childish,” was the damning indictment of João de Souza Leite, a leading figure in the Brazilian Association of Graphic Designers.
The controversy over the design and the lack of transparency is emblematic of the problems Brazil faces in preparing for the world’s biggest sporting event. With the South African tournament now just a memory, all eyes are on Brazil and it is having trouble adjusting to the scrutiny.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva promised preparations will be marked by transparency, but the head of the local organising committee, Ricardo Teixeira (a man accused of everything from tax evasion to organised crime by a Congressional enquiry), answers to no one and the government has done little to clarify matters.
Neither the Sports Ministry nor the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has released the official bid proposal three years after it was submitted and the government website set up to allow people to monitor spending hasn’t been updated since May.
Airports are particularly behind schedule and several of the 12 host cities have not started work on their stadiums. Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city has only just decided on a stadium to host the opening match, but it isn’t built yet and there are question marks over whether it will be ready in time.
One major annoyance was the names of those charged with helping choose the logo. In a country packed with world-renowned designers and architects, none were consulted. Yet questionable luminaries such as Paulo Coelho and Gisele Bundchen were given a say.
“These people represent society in one way or another but they are not technically competent,” Leite said. “I have no problems with them but only if there is also a group of professional designers involved.”
Leite lodged his protest in an open letter but the CBF is impervious to opposition and a public campaign to produce an alternative logo is unlikely to prosper.
The controversy, however, has served one purpose. Next month the Rio Olympic Committee is set to unveil its logo for the 2016 Games. It is the culmination of a six-month selection process that started when 139 design firms were given a presentation on Olympic ideals and history. If Rio gets it wrong, they can at least claim they tried.