Olympics Logos: The Winners & Losers

It’s the ultimate brief; create a logo which summarises an era, our culture, and heroes of the sporting world… oh, and it will be seen by millions of people all around the world for many years. For some, this brief has cemented some timeless and iconic design; but for others, perhaps the pressure was too much. So when aesthetics meets athletics, who are the winners and losers?

The Winners

Mexico ‘68

Absolutely timeless design, courtesy of Lance Wyman. The gift of the number’s counters lend themselves to this funky, 60s pattern, which rolled out across the Mexico wordmarque, signage, and iconography.

London 2012

There was an immediate lashback with petitions to change the design, and unfortunate suggested connotations involving members of the Simpsons family, and Tiswas; but ultimately it got people talking about design. It’s striking and contemporary, coupled with a fitting bespoke typeface, but the ‘London’ and ‘2012’ never quite felt comfortable within those letters. 10/10 for controversy, 6/10 for aesthetics - let’s call this one a winner.

Rio 2016

We’re excited to celebrate to the Olympics design this year, which is dynamic and feels energetic. The logo celebrates the vibrant culture of Brazil, and has a lovely movement to it, successfully incorporating figures into the marque, which is difficult to do in a stylised way. This year, there’s a clear and consistent visual language threaded through everything, from the torch, to the iconography and motion graphics.

The Losers

Barcelona ‘92

With a primary colour palette, clipart-esque style and Times New Roman typeface, you’d be forgiven for thinking this year of the Olympic Games was sponsored by MS Paint. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, you can’t deny that it executes a true 90s look and feel, and the accompanying iconography is actually more dynamic than some of the more recent, modern styles.

Tokyo 2020

Although we think this logo is strong and unique, we can’t forgive the shambles of a process it’s been through! As you may remember, the Olympics committee decided upon an unpaid design competition and Facebook voting to settle on a winning design, after the original version was called out for copying an existing marque. Not a great start to the Games, but kudos to the winning logo, which actually looks great - you can read about it in more detail here.

We don’t envy the pressure that’s associated with creating such an iconic piece, but it’s clear to see that a great Olympics logo is one that embraces the era, the culture and the people involved. This year, we’re happy to see orange, green and blue plastered across everything, and really excited to continue watching the fantastic events!