Currently in in its 17th edition and celebrated since 1951, the Pan American Games is a major sporting competition specifically for countries in the American continents. Taking place every four years in the year before the Summer Olympic Games, the Pan American Games have grown to attract over 6,000 athletes from 41 nations competing in 36 sports. While the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto have yet to take place this July, the 2019 host city of the XVIII Pan American Games — Lima, Peru — has already announced its logo (late last year) designed through a national contest that not only asked for the design of the logo but a set of 28 pictograms as well. The winning designers were Juan Diego Sanz Salas and Jorge Luis Zárate.
We chose the amancaes flower as a symbol of life, that flourishes despite the wildness that can be the surrounding environment. The flower grows in the winter, which will be just the time when the games are held in the city of Lima.
From the center of the flower come out three ribbons representing the three Americas. Lima becomes, just as it was in his time Caral, a gathering place but this time it will be for all athletes of the continent. In turn these ribbons are projected to expand, because the best athletes in various disciplines will qualify to go to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
These three ribbons representing three athletes. When we see them together in pairs athletes in diving and gymnastics postures. The elements representing their heads are trapezoid shapes to associate with the profile of the Temples present in the city.
The identity for the 2015 Toronto Games was also the result of a contest so this is clearly the Pan American Sports Organization’s modus operandi and they are getting the result they deserve. Most of this year we’ve had either really good identities Reviewed on Brand New or some that are not that well received but this is the first truly BAD logo. The only thing worse than the new logo is the bid logo, which is a shame because Lima has some amazing designers that could so easily elevate the standards of the Pan American Games.
Everything about this logo is so not right. The exaggerated “human” shapes that are both ribbons and parts of the flower, the trippy flower shape behind, the completely incoherent color palette, the unicase typography, and the amateurish shading and highlighting found throughout. Even the concept is weak: flowers as major sporting event? Pyramid heads? Sigh.
With the same ribbon idea the typography was designed for Lima 2019. The ribbons with movement take the form of letters and numbers. The chosen colors are yellow, which represents life; green for nature; violet for devotion, red for passion and blue for the sea.
No, no, no, and maybe yes if I had just won the lottery and I were in a who-gives-a-shit-anymore mood.
For the 28 pictograms we decided to use the flower as the basis to contain the silhouettes representing them with ribbons emblem. The figures are pretty dynamic and in the case of triathlon and pentathlon has sought merge representations using a single tape as far as possible.
The pictograms show a little more competence and manage to translate the idea of a ribbon with movement. Even the flower container shape sort of works (not on the triathlon, though, that’s just weird). But, still, these would all need to be handled by a better illustrator.
Following the election of this proposal as the winner in July, we explored how to create a visual identity based on forms of flowers, ribbons and the color palette along with pictograms and photos with sports theme. Along with Jorge we hope to remain part of the project during its entire development for the event to be held in four years.
And perhaps the sole glimmer of hope is in the above image where the flower shapes and ribbons come together to make some abstract patterns. The ribbon shapes kind of ruin it though as it looks like Gumby is photo-bombing the layouts. But the problem is that the colors are all wrong, the typography — the free Exo 2.0 — has nothing to do with anything, and because it’s the result of a contest this clearly lacks the rigor or commitment from both client and designer to create anything of value. Here’s to hoping that the 2023 Pan American Games do things right and create something that truly represents the visual richness and sophistication of the continents.