Top Spot of the Week: Publicis Seattle, Oscar Winner Rayka Zehtabchi Team On Documentary Short For 2022 Special Olympics USA Games


Robert Goldrich
Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019


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The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games Organizing Committee has unveiled its original and unprecedented logo for the 2022 USA Games which was, for the first time in the organization’s 50-year history, inspired and designed by nine artistic and talented Special Olympics athletes. Athletes from across the country gathered for a three-day workshop in Orlando, where they joined forces with professional designers from creative ad agency partner, Publicis Seattle, to provide the vision for the 2022 USA Games logo, as well as the primary color palette that explodes with life. The mark represents the natural elements of Florida culminating in a fiery spark of the Special Olympics spirit.  

“It is an honor to be part of the team that created the logo,” Special Olympics athlete Lee Savage said. “This was so important to us because Special Olympics is such an important part of our lives. We are proud of the logo and hope it can be an inspiration to society.”

“This logo tells a story of how a combined passion for sports, perseverance and art can literally come to life on a blank canvas,” said Joe Dzaluk, president & CEO of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. “These incredible athletes used their unique talents to inspire and design an iconic image for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games brand, and it proved to be more meaningful than any of us could have ever imagined.”

Additionally, Iranian-American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi, who is best known for her 2018 Academy Award-winning documentary short Period. End of Sentence., directed a mini documentary that was filmed during the three-day workshop. This unique approach to developing the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games logo served as the perfect platform to unlock the creativity and confidence of the Special Olympics athletes. Zehtabchi’s film beautifully captures the positive impact of the process and the undeniable spirit and talent of the athletes.

Pete Kearney, executive creative director, Publicis Seattle, added, “We’ve always felt this was never our logo to create--it was the athletes’. We embraced that idea and empowered the talent, vision and passion of these spirited artists. We’re in the business of changing perceptions, and with this work, we’ve shown that creative power exists in each and every one of us.”

The nine athletes included: Aarushi Pratap of Special Olympics Florida (fashion design), Andrew Weatherly of Special Olympics New Jersey (abstract painting), Caroline Shin of Special Olympics Florida (web design), Coby Fineran of Special Olympics Iowa (tattoo artist), Haley Waggoner of Special Olympics Nebraska (cake decorating), Lee Savage of Special Olympics Florida (drawing), Mariah Gilbert of Special Olympics Washington (drawing), Marta Páramo of Special Olympics Florida (painting) and Patrice Jetter of Special Olympics New Jersey (graphic design).


Client 2022 Special Olympics USA Games Agency Publicis Seattle Melissa Nelson, president; Chris Campbell, Earl Wallace IV, creative directors; Chad Ford, sr. art director; Michelle Billings, sr. designer; Kai Nedderson, copywriter; AJ Karim, head of production; Jen Allen, executive producer; Grace Gutierrez, assistant producer; Nina Searnici, Kurt Hartwig, project managers; Ricky Fisher, studio director. Production Rayka Zehtabchi, director; Sam Davis, DP. Editorial Sam Davis, editor; Tim Deters, assistant editor. Design & Animation Company Laundry PJ Richardson, Tony Liu, executive creative directors; Reza Rasoli, creative director and design & animation; James Sweigert, managing director; Matthew Primm, head of production; Dean Marchand, producer; Yoojin Seol, design; Teppei Maki, Anna Parez Lipez, design & animation; Ramzi Hogan, Samantha Maurer, animation. Audio Push Button Productions Yeosh Bendayan, Jon Ruhff, producers/engineers. Mix/Sound Design Bart Radio Bart Smith, producer/engineer. Performers Caroline Shin, Haley Waggoner, Lee Savage, Aarushi Pratap, Marta Paramo, Coby Fineran, Andrew Weatherly, Patrice Jetter, Mariah Gilbert, Special Olympics athletes/artists.

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