May 22, 2024

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The Rebrand of Swimming Organization FINA to World Aquatics

The Rebrand of Swimming Organization FINA to World Aquatics

The International Swimming Federation (Fédération Internationale De Natation, or FINA), the body for water sports whose mission is to help everyone in the world learn to swim, has changed its name to World Aquatics.

Husain Al-Musallam joined as president in the summer of 2021 with the agenda to drive change across all aspects of FINA including its sporting calendar, governance structure and commercial operations. Last December, he also announced the intention to rebrand the organization to be more representative of its sport.

“As we look to the future to ensure that we are both engaging our existing fans but also tapping into a huge audience of latent fans, sports fans, Olympic fans and aquatics participants, we needed to come up with a new visual identity, name and brand architecture that resonated with a much wider global audience,” explained James Moy, the organization’s marketing director. “It is trying to shake up the brand architecture a little bit.”

The organization’s new look

The name choice of World Aquatics echoes other sporting bodies such as World Athletics and World Rugby by reflecting its global status. U.S. marketing firm The Martin Group led the rebrand.

It’s the antithesis of what FINA was. It’s certainly a much more striking and visually impressive logo—very modern and very dynamic.

James Moy, marketing director of World Aquatics

“It’s important that the consumer knows who you are as an organization,” said Moy, who says the previous name failed to communicate what the organization does. He hopes this rebrand will last for at least “the next couple of decades.”

The circular shape of the logo has been designed to convey the global nature of the organization with the predominant color of blue used to reflect water. It also features five rows to represent each continent with the long bars resembling swimming lanes and each white dot representing its six disciplines: swimming, diving, high diving, artistic swimming, water polo and open water swimming.

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World Aquatics

“It’s the antithesis of what FINA was. It’s certainly a much more striking and visually impressive logo—very modern and very dynamic,” said Moy.

There are 209 variants of the new icon to reflect the national federations, adopting the colors of each of their flags. All federations will be given permission to incorporate their country’s version of the icon into their own branding and communications as they choose.

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World Aquatics

Short animated films have also been developed to convey the meaning of the logo and the vision of the organization at forthcoming events around the world.

Moy reveals that the organization’s commercial partners such as Nikon, Omega, Yakult and Hismatitsu were involved in the rebrand process and able to offer their own views along the way.

“We certainly didn’t want to just inform them that we were doing this after the fact,” he said, adding, “We wanted them to be part of this process and be able to at least say what they would like to see considered.”

A new tagline

Another change will see a departure from the organization’s motto “Water is our world” which Moy admits caused “much debate” internally but that there was a need to complete the process with another change there to “United by Water.” This aims to communicate the new vision which is “a world united by water for health, life and sport.”

“We want to be putting on elite aquatics events on an annual basis and we want to be teaching the world to swim and also we want to be the architects for helping developing nations in their own pathways and their own development programs. This is a little bit more all-encompassing in its approach,” Moy said.

The rebrand will roll out over the coming months and will ladder up to a more comprehensive brand campaign in Q1 of 2023 ahead of the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan in July.

The federation’s portfolio of digital assets has also been refreshed, including the adoption of @worldaquatics on social platforms and the launch of a new website in conjunction with the World Aquatics Championships next summer as well.

The new brand and marketing assets will be made visible at the association’s events starting in February alongside amplification of the “We Are World Aquatics” messaging.

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World Aquatics

Other elements include merchandizing opportunities, the design of new pictograms to represent each of the six sporting disciplines and a two-minute hero video that will run during a launch event taking place at Melbourne digital gallery The Lume, where athletes and partners will gather ahead of the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships this month.

“We want this rebranding as a federation to be something that the athletes feel part of. They each focus an incredible part of their careers and their time and their lives on participating in our events. Certainly, we want this to be understood, and that they feel as though it resonates with them that we are inclusive to their needs, their development and their goals,” Moy added.

Al-Musallam has offered his own seal of approval.

“Our new vision and mission also reflect how World Aquatics and our members have already begun expanding our work beyond competition and swimming as a life skill, to include sustainability, environmental advocacy and wellbeing,” he said. “Our new brand and visual identity will also enable us to connect with new audiences and encourage new generations of athletes across our disciplines to be united by water, safely, fairly and sustainably.”