Favorites Friday: Olympic Logos

Just recently, the logo for PyeongChang 2018 was released. And it's, well...

Interesting. I, personally, think it looks sort of unbalanced and unfinished. But the figures are apparently significant in Korean, and this video convinced me that there's tons of really cool design potential. Ideally, the logo of the Olympics is about building a cohesive brand, and this one could end up being really good.

This all got me to thinking about some of my favorite Olympic logos in the past. So what better reason to re-start Favorites Friday than the excuse to wax poetic about some awesome design work? :) (Let's pretend I posted this on Friday, when I originally meant to, and not 2:00 am on Saturday, 'kay?)

Mexico City 1968. This is, without a doubt, my favorite Olympic logo of all time. I love the way the rings are integrated into the 68, and it's done in the style of early Mexican folk-art. The bright colors used in the rest of the design scheme are wonderfully representative of both the 1960s and Mexico, and the colors and the logo are incorporated beautifully, both with each other, in the city, and on merchandise. Click here and be amazed at the flawlessness.

Lake Placid 1980. I like this logo because it's really unique. There's always been a general sort of format; before, logos were either circular or rectangular with the rings and images centered; and after, everything was sort of stacked -- image, city/year, rings, one above the other. This one follows neither; rebellion for the win! I'm also a huge fan of the symbolism. "The chevrons on the right represent the mountains around the Olympic region. These join the vertical lines of the modified Ionic column on the left, which recalls the predecessors of the modern Olympic Games. The serration on the top of the column turns into the Olympic rings, making them look as if they are emerging from the top. This serration symbolizes a double Olympic cauldron, to commemorate the Games already held in Lake Placid in 1932." (source)

Moscow 1980. Logos are designed to represent the games and the country hosting them, and it really doesn't get more Soviet than this logo. It's incredibly representative: if you looked at this logo without the text or any previous knowledge, you would assume it's Soviet, correct? Between the red and the star that matches the one on the USSR's flag, there's really no room for error. The lines look like both a track and a podium, so it's also unmistakably for the summer games, and the star at the top symbolizes reaching for excellence.

Los Angeles 1984. As glaringly, obnoxiously American as Moscow's logo was Soviet, and therefore a very appropriate reaction for the next Olympiad. While I might not love these two logos aesthetically, I have a huge appreciation for what they managed to accomplish. They're probably the two most indicative of their host nation. I also love Los Angeles' design scheme; it's really similar to the funky colors of Mexico City and perfectly represents L.A. Not only that, but it was America trying to distance itself from the seriousness of the Cold War and the previous Soviet games, telling the world to relax and have fun.

Calgary 1988. Calgary is a logo I love almost purely for aesthetic reasons. It's a stylized snowflake as well as a stylized maple leaf (O Canada!) formed of interlocking Cs, which stand for both Calgary and Canada. It's also just really clean and simple and attractive.

Atlanta 1996. This logo is just awesome. It doesn't get more appropriate than a torch when it comes to the Olympics, and the base is made of the Olympic rings and the number 100, for the 100-year anniversary of the modern games. The rising stars symbolize athletes reaching for excellence, the gold coloring represents gold medals, and the green is for Atlanta's reputation as a green city as well as the laurel wreaths given to winners in the ancient games.

Nagano 1998. Kind of strange that the logo for a winter Olympics is a flower (since, y'know, snow and ice and all), but I absolutely love that each petal is an athlete participating in a different winter sport.

Athens 2004. This logo is another that makes sure that you can't possibly wonder about which country is the host. It's blue like the Greek flag and the oceans that are so important to the Greek islands, and the wreath of olives represents the traditional prize given to winners of the Olympics. It also somehow looks simultaneously ancient and modern.

Beijing 2008. Beautifully Chinese. The dancing figure is a stylized representation of the word "jing," which means capital in Chinese and is the second word (obviously) in the capital's name. Red is synonymous with the Chinese flag, and the figure makes the whole thing playful and fun. Also, perfect font is perfect, yes?

Am I missing any good ones? :)

1 comment :

  1. Love your analysis/interpretation/description. Makes the logos so much more interesting. You rock!!