Alright, alright, alright, here’s what we think about Tokyo’s 2020 Games Emblem.
The organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have unveiled the new official logo that won over some of the designers around the world, while others felt let down by its checkered pattern, which they felt did not reflect the Japanese culture.
I enjoy open sushi nights just as much as the next girl, but I certainly cannot judge whether this logo expresses true Japanese spirit and traditions. As a non-Japanese, it is a moot point, especially since every culture interprets shapes and colors differently. We need to look for the explanation of this emblem and the story behind its creation in order to condemn it.
For those of you who did not have the chance to read it, the explanation is simply put by the creator of this winning logo, Asao Tokolo, who describes the design as a pattern of several rectangular shapes interacting with each other and representing the different cultures participating in the games, all in an acclaimed Japanese color: indigo blue.
Indigo or royal blue was originally used by the Heian Imperial Court in Japan, approximately 1400 years ago, but gained popularity during the following periods when it became the dye of the common people.
We have been using shapes to represent ideas and concepts ever since we learned to visually communicate with each other. Visual signs have been our unified language, as it proved itself to reach an international audience easier than any other form of interaction.
Furthermore, as designers, we give meaning to any shape or form we want. In our world, triangles can represent pixels, as much as circles can represent solidarity, and spikes embody rebellion. We write the concepts; we make the stories.
While Asao Tokolo did a beautiful interpretation of the Games’ event, all under a tamed Japanese umbrella, we cannot but have a personal penchant or taste towards the design.
I think that the overall outcome looks a bit too corporate for the occasion in question. A little too much “world bank”, rather than Olympics’ logo.The dynamics and visual illusion in the logo are brilliant, but the overall feel is a bit bulky and heavy on the eye.
With that being said, I leave you with some Bob Dylan wisdom:
“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand.”
Rebecca Mourani Associate Creative Director