The Special Olympics unveils its 2018 logo, courtesy of Publicis Seattle

A water drop to honor the city, a flame to commemorate the Games' history

The Special Olympics will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018 in Seattle, and Publicis Seattle has crafted a Seattle-themed logo and a tagline, "Rise With US," to commemorate the occasion. 

On Thursday, Special Olympics USA Games announced that the creative agency will be responsible for all the branding for the 2018 games. In addition to the new logo, the agency will be producing work for print, TV, social, digital and outdoor. Microsoft will be the official sponsor of the games, with Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Bank of America and KPMG sponsoring as well. 

Because the event is taking place in Seattle for the first time, Publicis designed the logo to pay homage both to the city by the water and the games themselves. The blue, green and purple logo resembles a water drop, and the shape recalls the traditional Olympic flame. 

According to Scott Fero, the creative director of Publicis Seattle, the single image captures the duplexity of the games — rivalries within a supportive atmosphere. All the athletes cheer each other on and help each other out. "It’s all about rising up and intertwining together, just like the games," he says. "Yes, there’s the torch for the competition, but there’s also the water drop symbolizing purity." 

To Publicis Seattle, winning this account was very personal. Several creatives at the agency have volunteered at the Special Olympics and care deeply about the cause, according to Fero. With this branding opportunity, Fero says the agency is working to change the stigma behind the word "special" and replace it with a positive association. So the tagline "Rise With Us," is a rally cry to "change what the word special means." 

The athletes are already exemplary individuals, says Fero. "They have to persevere in their personal lives and still train for the games," he says, "The athletes are already up there, and we have to rise up with them."

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