As the keener sports persons of you will know, the marathon is the only road running event that runs (no pun intended) at the world’s most coveted Summer multi-sport event, being present on the Olympic athletics circuit since 1896 for men and 1984 for women. With months of plagiarism accusations and a competition that saw four final logos be whittled down from 14,599 submissions, Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic logo design process has been perhaps reminiscent of the road event.
With the Organisers initially appointing Japanese designer Kenjiro Sano, his final design(s) became infamous more for their copyright infringements than their actual aesthetic, supposedly being intrinsically related to Belgian designer Olivier Debie’s Théâtre de Liège logo of 2013. If you view this comparison video, we think you will agree that there was certainly some weight to such accusations. Wanting to move swiftly on from the bad press, Tokyo’s Organisers launched an international design competition to welcome everybody’s and anybody’s input on the logo design for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games. With the Tokyo 2020 Emblems Selection Committee now facing a shortlist of just four possible replacement logos, rigorous checks have been made to ensure that the task they face continues without further non-confidence and with utmost transparency. With design experts involved, written ‘originality’ pledges from each of the designers, documents demonstrating each of their respective design processes and an anonymous selection process, who’d have thought such a graphic would require such tight security – the security and promise of confidence.
Lets consider the emblem options; by way of tradition, each design has two separate Olympic and Paralympic alternatives. Design A offers a harmonised chequered pattern, expressing sophistication and a refined elegance, and are both characteristics that we associate Japan with. Composed of differing regular shapes, the emblem expresses a message of ‘unity in diversity’ to connect the world. Design B has a more fluid approach, expressing the dynamism of the athletes, whilst also using shapes to signify harmony and peace. Encompassing speed and movement, emotion and respect, this design seeks to have a ‘connecting circle’ from spectators around the world. Design C is different once more, with this logo being inspired by the God of Wind and God of Thunder, conveying how athletes strive to attain their personal best at the games. With inspiration from such rich Japanese heritage, this highly cultural emblem is perhaps more to do with mental and physical strength than it is to do with world harmony. Design D, last but not least, is a bouquet of emotions, echoing how heavens greet everybody everyday, and how athletes are celebrated by the games’ spectators. With flowers signifying a sense of growth and unity, and being highly related to Japanese culture, Design D appears to be the most aspirational of designs, and is certainly the favourite of SATORI & SCOUT. You can voice your opinion and help decide which logo is chosen by visiting the official Tokyo 2020 website.
“The creators of each of the shortlisted designs have poured their hearts and souls into their designs, and we would like to ask you to provide us with your positive views on the designs, and particularly those design aspects that you feel are truly outstanding,” said the Tokyo 2020 committee members.
Interestingly, Tokyo 2020 has seen other controversy beyond the scope of just the logo design, with the late Zaha Hadid and her original plans for the Olympics Stadium being shelved due to lack of Japanese contextuality and support for local employment. As always, niggles occur, so here’s raising a glass to the future and we’re looking forward to four years time…it’s Rio De Janiero first, and their organisers have hardly had a plain sailing process either!
Discover news about the forthcoming Olympics are Tokyo2020.jp.