2016 Olympic logos head to head

The International Olympic Committee has taken bids to determine which city will host the 31st Olympic Games in 2016. Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo are going head to head and are doing everything they possibly can to win the prestigious spot as an Olympic host. And of course, they all went the extra mile and each city already has an official logo ready.


Today, the IOC released the report of the Evaluation Commission. The final decision will be announced one month from today. Who will emerge as the victor?

Based on these logos alone, it is even hard to make a choice. But let’s see what they have to offer on q quick assessment. All four have been executed so well. The Chicago logo, the most refined of the bunch, suggests height and light. Gothic Olympics?

The Madrid logo is the most playful one. It’s reminiscent of finger paintings, and the Olympic colors covering the hand (same as each one of the rings) suggest world unity and a summation of individual parts in order to complete a whole, and the colors reinforce the Olympic theme. My wife thinks it looks like Thanksgiving turkey drawings made by 5 year olds by tracing their tiny hands. Playful, yes?

I have to admit that the Rio de Janeiro logo has something going against it. What is that shape other than a heart? Mountains, sea and sun? Chances are that it is those things. It didn’t reveal itself so quickly. I had to really look and think about it. Now, I don’t mind, but the casual user doesn’t invest the time and effort into deciphering logos. A logo such as this needs to communicate on a global scale instantly. The typography is very nice and so is the graphic icon. But perhaps not hitting the mark as well or as quickly.

The Tokyo logo is… well… let’s see. We have looping motion with the swooshing around of lines in the colors of the Olympic rings forming a knot. Again we have world unity by way of the colors of all the strands, a reinforcement of the Olympic theme, and strength in numbers. Very representative of a collectivist culture such as Japanese culture. Finally, we have the Japanese flag represented by the red circle between the name of the city and the year of the games.

We could probably take more out of these upon further examination, but that’s the basics in a few sentences each. All very nice, all very unique. No matter who gets the hosting spot, we’ll have a nice Olympic logo in 2016. Don’t you think?

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