The organization that keeps athletes honest gets a facelift

The World Anti-Doping Agency is modernizing its brand identity to become more approachable and "athlete-focused."


The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is getting a new visual identity and brand positioning to make it more human, approachable and athlete-focused, according to the shop responsible for its image overhaul.

WADA is the global regulatory body initiated by the International Olympic Committee to “lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport,” and has been based in Montreal since it was founded in 1999. It worked with Cossette on the rebranding, which also includes an optimized web platform that’s a more user-friendly, intuitive digital experience.

A big challenge for a body like WADA, which most often comes into public view when its investigations reveal wrongdoing, was to identify a unifying idea that would streamline and modernize the brand, without losing the essence of its mission.

WADA’s latest strategic plan identifies being “athlete centred” as a key priority, and singling out vulnerable athlete groups to connect, support and recommend appropriate interventions. It was with that objective in mind that Cossette’s design team shifted the focus back to the love of sport and fair play, using a field/turf colour scheme to pay homage to athletes.


Richard Bélanger, VP of design at Cossette, tells strategy that WADA’s new look better reflects its mandate, but also brings the human element out, which had been lacking. 

According to Bélanger, one of the major changes was to the organization’s black square logo, which represented a circumscribed field of play and rules, and which Cosssette made more accessible and streamlined, changing the colour scheme to a vibrant green.


The agency also redrew the “equal” sign, which was core to the group’s logo to represent equal chances for athletes to compete against one another absent performance enhancing drugs, making it more efficient and even, according to Bélanger.

Cossette also contemplated changing WADA’s “Play True” catchphrase, which is linked to a day dedicated to raising awareness among athletes about clean competition. However, it instead gave it a treatment to appear more playful look that marrying the lighthearted with the serious in its new aesthetic.

While WADA was initially funded by the IOC, Bélanger says the organization’s mandate to educate people about the dangers of doping so they can make the clear, right choice extends beyond the Olympics. International governing bodies for most sports, including the likes of FIFA, are signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code. And now, Bélanger says, with a modernized brand platform, it’s better equipped to come to market more broadly than it has previously, which has mainly entailed social marketing.