The Gold Standard


At a glance

For the past 30 years, Visa has been an official sponsor of the Olympic Games. It wanted to celebrate the magic moments of its relationship with the world’s great sporting celebration. So we created a beautiful bespoke timeline to launch with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Decades of data

The firsts. The records. The new events. There was a ton of Olympic Games sporting data for us to sift through to find the most significant milestones.

And we didn’t just focus on the Olympic Games. We included all the Paralympic Games data we could find, too.

Memories and milestones

To give a sense of Visa’s long history with the Olympic Games, we wanted to remind people just how much happens over 30 years.

Visa had special landmarks for us to include, such as the issuing of its one billionth credit card. We also researched major global events and cultural moments to add eye-opening context to the timeline.

For example, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the introduction of the Euro currency and the release of Jurassic Park all helped to paint a bigger picture.

Visualizing Visa

As we’ve worked with Visa before on ‘A day in the life’ and a variety of other projects, we knew the brand well. We started with its existing strong colour palette, with blue-and-gold livery for the background.

Then we brought in a secondary palette of bright colours to clearly define different categories of data and markers within the viz.

Responsive design

We kept the design pared back to let the data take the stage. We put our primary data – like the location of the event and its year – to the left of the page. That way, it would stack to the top on mobile.

The main section to the right was reserved for other data sets, including enough room for information-packed hovers for each point.

Finishing line

We made sure the piece powered to a strong finish. A summary section pulled out five interesting stories from the data, such as the boost in percentage of females compared to all athletes, the change in number of medals won and rising average temperature of the Olympic events.