Snap judgement: Hotfoot on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo

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As part of a new series on this blog we sat down with Hotfoot’s Creative Director Charlie Haywood to get his initial thoughts on the just unveiled logo for Tokyo 2020…

So Tokyo 2020 has a logo. What’s your snap judgement?
I’m always very aware there’s often a complicated design process here so I’m careful when making an instant judgement of a logo. There’s so many things a designer/design agency have to take into account – even before you have a written brief. But here goes. On face value alone, I’m not totally struck by it – it lacks vibrancy, energy, impact and fun – everything, in my opinion, an Olympics logo should include. However, I’ve not seen how the logo works across a broad range of branding materials or particularly what it represents. It’s interesting to see it working as a motion graphic – this is when it can be quite clever and you think “Ah that’s why they designed it like that’. I got that feeling from the London 2012 logo. There’s often much more to a logo than meets the eye. At first glance though, I can’t see it.

What do you like about it?
I like the simplicity and I like the iconic red dot from the Japanese flag which adds a bit of heritage and personality. It’s vintage looking – which is very ‘now’ but maybe wasn’t the intention. The use of negative space on the Paralympic version is nice.

OK, what do you dislike about it?
Just going back to my earlier comments – from what seen I’ve it lacks vibrancy, energy, impact and fun. It’s a bit dull. To me it has more the feel of a fashion label. Harsh perhaps.

Do you think this has the potential to be a classic Olympic logo?
Personally I think this one is not entirely memorable to be honest.

Which Olympic logos have you liked best from the past?
I loved the London Olympics logo. Different, fun, energetic and memorable. It was also very agile – you saw how it easily adapted to suit sub-brands, colour and shape variations, sponsors.

As always it’s very subjective. One thing is for sure and that is they are designed to create a talking point – positive or negative it all gets the name out there and I guess that’s part of great branding too.

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