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New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk

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Reviewed Aug. 14, 2018 by Armin

Industry / Sports Tags /

Celebrated for the first time this August, the European Championships is a new multi-sport event that will take place every four years. What makes it different than other events — say, the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games — is that each of the seven sport categories are organized by their respective European governing body (i.e., the Ligue Européenne de Natation organizes the Aquatics Championships). The sports for the 2018 edition were divided among aquatics, cycling, golf, gymnastics, rowing, triathlon, and athletics. All the events, except for Athletics that took place in Berlin, Germany, were hosted by Glasgow, Scotland. The identity for the European Championships has been designed by London, UK-based Designwerk.

The branding for this new event is based on the concept of the “Mark of a Champion”, and centres around a multi-coloured star logo, which looks to reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of the championships. The star symbol also looks to hint towards the shape of a human figure, he adds, as the event is “all about people”.

The name of the event appears underneath the colourful star, set in a bespoke, white-and-grey, all-caps, sans-serif typeface based on Greyscale, and the core palette includes bright shades of blue, green, red, pink, yellow and orange, with a dark purple used as a background colour.

Designwerk provided text

New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Logo.
New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Logo system.
New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Glasgow and Berlin logos.
The bespoke Greyscale-inspired typeface has been used as the main type throughout branding, and features letters that have been “shaped, recut and realigned” to sit within a 30-degree angle. This mirrors the angles created within the logo and sport pictograms, which looks to create a “synergy between them” and also signify sharpness, to symbolise a “competitive edge”, says Cook.

Designwerk provided text

New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Type detail.

I haven’t written a fully negative review in some time so I have struggled for the last five minutes on this paragraph. I am sure this was a hefty project with plenty of time, energy, and effort invested but starting with the logo, this is all a very awkward, heavy-looking identity. The idea behind the star icon is good — “mark of a champion”, “multi-disciplinary”-ness, yada yada — but the execution is very, very weird with a cheap chiseled construction that yields all sorts of awkward triangles and perspectives, all in a really bland and jarring combination of colors. When the icon goes monochromatic it becomes less discernible what’s going on in it. They get bonus points for asymmetry but unfortunately that asymmetry is poorly handled with the wordmark lock-up that leaves a huge gap under the yellow stick. (Side note: if this were the European Fencing Championships, it would be killer). And the wordmark, sigh, the wordmark.

I understand the financial appeal of a free font — Greyscale — but it’s not enough for an event that wants to position itself as a world-class competition. The font has been customized with 30-degree notches everywhere possible and, while yes, it matches the logo better, it’s not pleasant. The addition of angled areas of darker gray within the letters adds a lot of confusion and visual noise. The font itself is simply not strong enough in its design to carry the weight of an event like this — the tagline, below, for example has no presence or personality to it, even when drenched in color and angles.

New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Tagline.
New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Guidelines.
New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Color palette.
A suite of icons has been designed to reflect different sports, and appear in the same geometric style as the core star symbol.

Designwerk provided text

New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Pictograms.

The pictograms showed some potential. If they had managed to replicate what’s happening in the rowing and aquatics pictograms — with the tight counterspaces and a good visual rhythm — these could have been nice. The cycling and gymnastics pictograms are just not very good. I will hand out a compliment and admit that there is a nice thing going on in the lock-up of the pictogram, the wordmark, and the star icon sticking out on the right.

New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Environmental graphics, renders.
New Logo and Identity for European Championships by Designwerk
Environmental graphics, for real.

The applications to the competition environments look fine and the various angles of the graphics have a nice synergy with the athletes in action. But I think that part of the positive effect of the applications is their size and scale — to paraphrase Paula Scher, “If it’s ugly, make it big; if it’s big and it’s still ugly, it’s not big enough.” Overall, I appreciate the effort and difficulty of the task, but — and I think the seal mascot would agree with me — this doesn’t take the gold medal. Or silver. Or…

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