It wasn’t until the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver that I started paying attention to the logos for the Olympic Games. This was probably because I’m Canadian and since the 2010 games were held in Canada, I was interested in what our country could produce for an Olympic identity. I can imagine that creating one identity to encompass the spirit of the entire Olympic games would be a challenge. How is one symbol supposed to equally represent global unity, national pride and sportsmanship?
Rivera Design Group met the challenge for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and created the humanoid inukshuk emblem that ended up on everything from bottle openers and cookies to rain gear for dogs. Wolff Olins, the design firm responsible for the 2012 London Olympics logo, described their asymmetrical pink “2012” symbol as “unconventionally bold, deliberately spirited and unexpectedly dissonant.” This logo really caught my attention, as did all the online discussion reacting to it. Most initial reactions that I came across were negative, and I agreed. I can’t say that I’ve become any more enamored with it as the games has progressed over the last week and a half. I understand the purpose of making it more dynamic and youthful, but I find it abrasive and distracting.
With that being said, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the history of the Olympic logo. It’s interesting how some of them still look surprisingly modern. My favorites? I love the repeated lines in the logo for the Mexico 1968 Summer Olympics. I love the simplicity and the volume created in the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics. I really dig the color palette and the Native American inspired snowflake for the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics logo. Finally, I love the hand painted texture and illustration created for the Athens 2004 Olympics logo. What are your favorites?