Tokyo 2020 logo shortlist revealed

Ben Moss.
April 08, 2016
Tokyo 2020 logo shortlist revealed.
It’s just four years until the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics, and while the eyes of the sporting world may currently be set on Brazil, attention will turn to Tokyo once the torch is (literally) passed in 5 months. For any city, even bidding to host the biggest sporting event in the world is a huge expense. To justify the investment, a city needs the event to showcase it to the world, and at the center of that process is the games’ branding. After the original logos for Tokyo 2020, designed by Kenjiro Sano, were — probably unfairly — dropped amid claims of plagiarism, the Tokyo 2020 Emblems Selection Committee decided to hold a public competition that any Japanese resident could enter. (To protect the event from further potential accusations of copying, entrants have signed guarantees that their designs are original, and have had to submit working documents to show their creative processes.) In the grand tradition of crowd-sourcing, most of the 14,500 designers who entered the competition will get nothing; the winning designer will only receive $9,200 (approx) and tickets to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It’s especially galling when designs commissioned for events such as these are often billed well into six-figures. The competition has however, produced some interesting designs: shortlist Design “A” is a checkerboard pattern that references the Ichimatsu Moyo pattern popular in Japan in the Edo period between the 17th and 19th centuries. The denim-blue it uses is also considered to be traditionally Japanese. Graphically it’s very strong, but the type has a distinctly European flavor. Design “B” is a circle, and a swirl, designed to represent both “mental and physical strength” and “dynamic movement and speed”. They look very much like a traditional Olympics logo, and this safe option may swing it for the committee who have already weathered enormous criticism over their handling of the original logos. Design “C” represents the gods of wind and thunder. More figurative than the other entries, this design shows athletes breaking the tape at the end of a race, or perhaps someone running away with 5 gold medals. There is something Olympic about it in spirit, but it’s very close to the Rio 2016 branding. In this instance the type feels far more Japanese. Design “D” is the most distinctly Asian. Inspired by the morning glory flower which was popular in the Edo period (again) it represents athletes striving to attain their personal best. It suggests growth, development, and optimism. In this case also, the type has a distinctly Japanese feel. The overall winner will be announced later in the Spring, once the committee have sounded out public reaction to the designs.

Ben Moss

Ben Moss has designed and coded work for award-winning startups, and global names including IBM, UBS, and the FBI. When he’s not in front of a screen he’s probably out trail-running.

Read Next

20 Best New Websites, May 2024

Welcome to May’s compilation of the best sites on the web. This month we’re focused on color for younger humans,…

Exciting New Tools for Designers, May 2024

This year, we’ve seen a wave of groundbreaking apps and tools. AI is reshaping the industry, enhancing productivity,…

Using AI to Predict Design Trends

Design trends evolve at a blistering pace, especially in web design. On multi-month projects, you might work on a…

15 Best New Fonts, April 2024

Just like web design, type design follows trends. And while there’s always room for an exciting outsider, we tend to…

3 Essential Design Trends, May 2024

Integrated navigation elements, interactive typography, and digital overprints are three website design trends making…

How to Write World-Beating Web Content

Writing for the web is different from all other formats. We typically do not read to any real depth on the web; we…

20 Best New Websites, April 2024

Welcome to our sites of the month for April. With some websites, the details make all the difference, while in others,…

Exciting New Tools for Designers, April 2024

Welcome to our April tools collection. There are no practical jokes here, just practical gadgets, services, and apps to…

How Web Designers Can Stay Relevant in the Age of AI

The digital landscape is evolving rapidly. With the advent of AI, every sector is witnessing a revolution, including…

14 Top UX Tools for Designers in 2024

User Experience (UX) is one of the most important fields of design, so it should come as no surprise that there are a…

What Negative Effects Does a Bad Website Design Have On My Business?

Consumer expectations for a responsive, immersive, and visually appealing website experience have never been higher. In…

10+ Best Resources & Tools for Web Designers (2024 update)

Is searching for the best web design tools to suit your needs akin to having a recurring bad dream? Does each…