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Olympic Design Review

shoutOut on 27/7/12 by travis.lyle1 in peeps

BOOM! The five big circles are hanging from Tower Bridge, there are apparently thousands of tourists wandering the streets of London with their wheelie suitcases because they can't figure out how to use the Tube and the price of hotel rooms has rocketed by 63% on average...and beer is at an all-time premium. Yep, it's the Olympics, alright!

In the spirit of Olympian history - and for the full lowdown, go here - we're doing a bit of a review of the Olympic designs of the past century. Each and every Olympics - and we're talking both Winter and Summer games here - gets a fresh design identity, from a field of designers. Sometimes the results are awe-inspiring. Sometimes...well, let's just say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, shall we? 

OK, first up we go way back all the way to Paris Olympiad, in 1924. As you can see, the design sense is classic, and draws on the idea of the Games being an ancient pursuit: 

Next up, we have the legendary Mexico '68 design, created by US designer, Lance Wyman. This is arguably the most-admired Olympic design of all time (at least, by many graphic designers and design lovers) and has ever since enjoyed sporadic revisits in the form of retro lines of athletic apparel by Adidas. You can't really argue with the clean, eyecatching design, which makes great use of a simple colour palette and paralell lines:

Following on from this iconic design, the next couple of designs would almost seem to follow in the same vein, taking a tip from the clean, minimalist style of Wyman's 68. In defence of Montreal and Moscow's logos, you have to agree that they're accomplished designs in their own right: 

Next up we shoot forward in time to have a review of figure-based logos, which have both supporters and critics. Some absolutely love these for their movement and bright colours, while others tend to think that their design style is quite specifically dated to the 1990's and 2000's:  

Say what you will about these figure-based logos, but it's important to dig a litle deeper before slating them and relgating them to the scrapheap of history. Each has a background rationale which informs the basis of the design, and some of them are quite interesting, like the Vancouver 2010 design, which draws on native North American tribal iconography. Equally, the Beijing 2008 design displays a strong reference to Chinese historical art: 

Though critics of the Sydney 2000 logo are quick to point out that the winning design makes no reference to Australia. Lastly, we have this year's London 2012 logo, a design which has earned more than its fair share of slings and arrows from many quarters. Say what you like about the design, and the mascots, but the fact is that THE OLYMPICS ARE UPON US and, as with every Games's designs, it will now be added to the long list of designs that have graced the Olympics since their modern reincarnation has gripped the world every four years. 


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