Hours after unveiling a new logo for Rio 2016 Olympics, organizers were denying charges of plagiarism & similarities to the Telluride Foundation brand design.

Organizers of the 2016 Olympics, to be held in Rio, Brazil, trotted out their new logo as part of an elaborate beach party on New Years Eve, and Brazilian media were quick to claim that the design looked remarkably like the logo for The Telluride Foundation, based in Colorado. Fred Gelli, director of Tatil, the Brazilian agency that created the logo, denied any accusations of plagiarism, telling newspaper reporters his company did extensive research to guarantee the design was unique. Gelli acknowledged a “similarity” with the foundation’s logo, but said:

“..the general concept of people embracing each other is not novel.”

rio 2016 olympics logo telluride foundation
He’s got that right.

Update: The plot thickens.

As the controversy about the Rio logo spooled out over the Internet, some are pointing out similarities between the design and the painting The Dance by Henri Matisse (below).
The Dance by Henri Matisse
If you ask me, the Telluride Foundation cribbed their concept from Matisse’s painting.
telluride foundation logo
Nothing wrong with that per se, but when you look at this little pearl, you gotta ask the question “who copied who?”
carnival brasil 2004 logo
For what it’s worth I don’t think it was the Rio guys. Not by a long shot.

Update 2: Chicken or the egg?

Thanks to Robert Muller, who in the comments, corrected our assumption about which logo came first by directing us to the 2001 version of the Telluride website, courtesty of The Wayback Machine. Looks like our long shot was wrong and the Teluride beat out the Brasil Carnival by at least 3 years, give or take.

(Hat tip: Travel to Rio)

[Footnote: This article was originally posted on our (now) Legacy Blog and moved to its current location for consistency and database functionality. While it was accurate at the time of publication, it is currently posted as part of our historical record and details may have changed.]