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New Logo for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games by Kenjiro Sano


Reviewed Jul. 27, 2015 by Armin

Industry / Sports Tags /

Not much by way of introduction: The 2020 Summer Olympics, aka the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, will take place in Tokyo, Japan. This past Friday, exactly five years before the start of the Olympics the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee unveiled the logo for the Olympic and Paralympic Games designed by Kenjiro Sano.

When the world comes together for Tokyo 2020, we will experience the joy of uniting as one team. By accepting everyone in the world as equals, we will learn the full meaning of coming together as one.

The Tokyo 2020 emblems were created to symbolise the power of this unity.

The black colour of the central column represents diversity, the combination of all colours. The shape of the circle represents an inclusive world in which everyone accepts each other. The red of the circle represents the power of every beating heart.

Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee press release

Logo introduction.
New Logo for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games by Kenjiro Sano
Logo detail.
New Logo for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games by Kenjiro Sano
In comparison with the other twenty-first century Olympic logos.

Few Olympic logos and identities will ever match the simplicity of Yusaku Kamekura’s work for Tokyo 1964 — certainly not any of the most recent Olympics, be it London’s frenetic and angst-y logo or Rio’s density of curves. Of all recent Olympics, this comes the closest. That is not to say it’s equally good but it’s surprisingly minimal and abstract. Without the introductory animation — that sets up the logo as living inside a circle, perhaps a direct (or perhaps unintentional) homage to Kamekura’s logo — the logo is confusing in that, yes, it’s “T” but also, unfortunately, there is an “L”. If it weren’t for the animation I would still be scratching my head about it but we’ll assume that the logo will appear animated enough times on people’s various screens to establish its structure, in which case the logo is quite good, at least in animated form. The potential for the Look of the Games with all the squares and circle corners is positively vast and engaging but a lot can happen in five years, so I’ll reserve my comments on that. (Still, the geometric patterns are kinda hot).

The Clarendon-esque typography feels awfully American and it doesn’t pair well with the logo. While I do appreciate that the designer resisted (or avoided) the use of a Latin-Kanji-Hiragana-Katakana hybrid there is something off about the choice of type.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic emblem is inspired by = the universal sign of equality.

Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee press release

New Logo for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games by Kenjiro Sano
Paralympics logo.

The best part of the animation (at the 1:36 mark) is the transformation from the Olympics logo to the Paralympics logo, with the range of shapes scrolling inside the logo to rearrange. Again, without the animation, the logo is hard to decipher, even after the press release states that it’s meant to evoke the equal sign which, you know, is typically horizontal.

Overall, this is an unexpected aesthetic in its minimalism and color palette, and stands highly in contrast with the much more literal and colorful approach of Rio 2016 so, for now, I am optimistic that this could be a very memorable Olympic identity when developed with the thoughtful and delicate touch of Japanese design.

Thanks to Mitch for the tip.

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