The XXIII Olympic Winter Games in 2018 will be hosted by Pyeongchang, South Korea after successfully winning the bid against Munich, Germany and Annecy, France and it will follow the 2014 Winter Games played in Sochi, Russia. In early May, the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee introduced the emblem for the Games. All of the work is presented in a video included in this post (with some screen captures of the highlights for quick browsing) and a decent press release is available here.
The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic emblem is an abstract motif inspired by Hangul, the alphabet of the phonetic Korean language.
It is composed of the first consonants of the name of the host city, PyeongChang.
The ‘?’(P) is the first consonant of the first syllable, Pyeong.
It also symbolises the open square where the celebration of athletes and winter sports will take place.
The ‘?’(Ch) is the first consonant of the second syllable, Chang. It symbolises the natural environment of snow and ice, and the stellar achievements of the athletes - the stars of the Games.
The colours reflect the Olympic Flag, and they also represent the five traditional colours of Korea.
Taken together, the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic emblem embodies the harmonious synergy between the sky, land and people. Set in a majestic setting of snow and ice, athletes and people from around the world come together in an open square in PyeongChang to celebrate the finest winter sport athletes and the greatest winter sport festival.
— Emblem explanation
The first impression is that this is a very unlikely Olympic logo, either for Winter or Summer Games: way too simple and pared down. Almost like a placeholder. And it’s not really that attractive, neither the two elements on their own, nor the two elements together, and the sans serif is abysmally generic. BUT when you look at the video and see the way these same lines transform into clouds and trees and fireworks and the sports icons there is a very interesting visual language that starts to develop, unlike anything previously done in any Olympics. It’s playful and energetic. A friendlier, simpler iteration of the original London Olympics visual proposal. At this point everything seems to be prototypes and suggestions with a few years left to finesse and develop but there is clearly potential for a remarkable Look of the Games here. The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee just needs to hire someone to do better videos.
Plans are in development for coming back to Europe in Spring of 2018 with the current top contender host city of Barcelona.