Video Credit: Decathlon
Video Credit: Decathlon

Decathlon: Redefining Sports for a Diverse World!

How Wolff Olins Transformed Decathlon into a Global Sports Brand for All Ages and Abilities.

It is estimated that over 3 billion people around the world participate in sports and physical activities, regardless of their age, abilities, backgrounds, and motivations. However, most of the stories and messages we hear about sports tend to focus on outstanding achievements, victories, and perfection, which are often promoted by a handful of well-known brands.

Decathlon is the third-largest sports company globally, with over 2000 stores worldwide and a revenue of over $15 billion. It was founded in 1976 and has always believed in making sports inclusive for everyone, from seasoned professionals to amateur enthusiasts. Despite its impressive size and reach, Decathlon hasn't had much impact on younger demographics in the realm of sports.

Wolff Olins was approached by Decathlon with the task of redefining its identity from a conventional retailer brand to a globally recognized sports brand. The objective was to create a brand that could effectively cater to the diverse needs of consumers across 70 markets. With Decathlon's extensive portfolio covering 85 sports and addressing four distinct practice levels, Wolff Olins aimed to position Decathlon as a leading player in the sports industry. The goal was to transcend traditional boundaries and engage with consumers through a combination of online and offline channels.

Wolff Olins's team asked themselves a simple question: what is the role of sport in our lives?

The research found that people love sports for the enjoyment and wellness it brings, rather than just for winning. They combined this insight with Decathlon's commitment to accessibility and developed a brand strategy that centres around the idea of wonder. Wonder amplifies all the emotions of sport: enjoyment, connection, adventure, and everything in between. It invites people to play on their own terms.

The new symbol, L’Orbit, represents the new North Star: 'move people through the wonders of sport.' It conveys movement and circularity inspired by the iconic wordmark and a peak that represents its connection to outdoor sporting activities. It will feature prominently on all products, from beginner to pro, signaling a new narrative for sport that celebrates movement, participation, and progress.

A total of 85 brands were merged into a single unified brand, Decathlon. The team at Wolff Olins created a new voice, art direction, motion, iconography, and even a custom typeface named Decathlon Sans.

Designed by Grilli Type, this clean grotesque typeface is intended to create an impact by utilising alternate characters that add movement and dynamism. These characters are intentionally disruptive to make a statement.

They also reinforced Decathlon’s innovation and sustainability credentials by integrating design elements, such as iconography and colours, that highlight product features and services which benefit both the customer and the planet. 

Transforming a brand of this scale and ambition, with such deep cultural attachments (the brand is regularly voted people’s favourite brand in its traditional markets) was a challenge, says Wolff Olins team. Throughout the project, the Wolff Olins partnered closely with Decathlon’s CEO and business stakeholders to ensure the transformation was as collaborative and impactful.

Creative Gaga