Olympic Logo through the ages

Olympic Logo through the ages

Bjorn Karnebogen Olympic Logo As I scrawled through the news this morning, and desperately tried to ignore any further Brexit gloom, I found myself rather impressed with this article on the recent work of German art director Bjorn Karnebogen. Previously not the most famous name, Bjorn has captivated the public with his recent take on the Olympic logo.

Inspired by the number of Russian athletes found guilty of doping he cleverly adapted the five ring logo and transformed the symbolic circles into test tubes.

Provocative, witty and extremely relevant is the type of art work that makes me immensely proud to be a graphic designer. So immensely inspired, I have decided to dedicate this week’s blog post to some of my favourite Olympic logos through the ages. So here –for your viewing pleasure are my absolute favourites.

Calgary - Winter 1988

Calgary Winter Olympics 1988 LogoHolding the first ever Winter Olympics really put this Canadian town on the map. However, what I think is truly phenomenal is the intricate logo that managed to combine Canada, winter as well as the iconic circles all in one tidy snowflake. Using some pretty nifty techniques and clever designing the snowflake/maple leaf design is formed of five large and small letter “Cs” to symbolise Canada and Calgary, on a double take could also be the Olympic circles – pretty impressive for one simple image.

Sydney – Summer 2000

Sydney Olympics Summer 2000 LogoThis logo offered a fabulously personal touch to the Olympic logo, and a proud portrayal of all that Australia has to offer. The strong earthy tones, with suggestions of the sun and rocks together a strong reference to the stunning Australian landscape with its awe inspiring beaches and outback. The boomerangs and koala footprint stamp this logo as uniquely Australian, and hark back to their proud Aboriginal heritage. The blue image at the top that could resemble either the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the blue Olympic touch which wonderfully blend Australian culture with the Olympic heritage. And, as if all that wasn’t enough if you cock your head to the right and squint your eyes it all merges together to resemble an athlete running. A truly fantastic union of Australia and the Olympic games.

England – Summer 2012

England London 2012 Olympics LogoUnsurprisingly given our British preoccupation with moaning this logo was not without controversy. In fact, on its release in 2007 a petition was signed by over 48,000 Brits to have the logo scrapped and redesigned. Nevertheless design agency Wolff Ollins held firm and defended their logo and, particularly, its ability to engage youth. Their hope was to play on the more Vivienne Westwood-y Britain, the quintessential quirkiness that has produced characters like Sherlock Holmes. And boy did they do quirky, bold and brash colours and jagged edges were all wrapped into one edgy design. Hoping to exude energy, vibrancy and youth it certainly made a statement. Impressively, it was also the first logo in history to treat the Paralympics’ on equal footing.

However, it had many many detractors – some said it looked like Lisa Simpson engaged in a naughty act that I will shield my readership from, the Iranians read Zion and thought it was a Jewish conspiracy (naturally) and others said it bore a worrying resemblance to a Swastika.

If you have any thoughts on any of these logos please feel to drop me a line and, of course if you or anyone you know is involved in organising the next Olympics and would like some help with the design I charge significantly less than the £400,000 fee of Wolf Ollins.

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