The Paris 2024 Olympics logo divides opinion

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Paris has chosen the logo for the next Olympic Games

The Summer and Winter Olympics and Paralympics are more than just sporting events. They’re global symbols which, like football’s world cup, are some of the most watched events on the planet. Which means it’s not easy to get everyone onboard and happy with an identity, especially the inhabitants of the host country. The logo for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games is a case in point, which immediately divided opinion among graphic designers, and the French public in general, at its launch. resented a highly symbolic logo for its candidacy, which could be read in two ways, with an Eiffel Tour formed out of the number 24. The idea was to create a symbol that showcased Paris and France. And what better symbol than the “iron lady”, immediately recognisable across the world?

Candidacy logo. Credit: Paris 2024
Candidacy logo. Credit: Paris 2024
Arc de Triomphe candidacy logo. Credit: Paris 2024
Arc de Triomphe candidacy logo. Credit: Paris 2024

A logo that has provoked comment and debate

Originally, the city of Paris presented a highly symbolic logo for its candidacy, which could be read in two ways, with an Eiffel Tour formed out of the number 24. The idea was to create a symbol that showcased Paris and France. And what better symbol than the “iron lady”, immediately recognisable across the world? But there was a different objective for the new logo. The city wanted to showcase its vision for the games to the world, putting forward a new model for the games through a memorable identity. On 21 October 2019, the new logo was unveiled at the Grand Rex in Paris. And it’s safe to say that it’s radically different from the previous logo.

And it’s safe to say that it’s radically different from the previous logo. Created by the Royalties-Ecobranding agency, the new emblem of the Paris games blends three symbols: a gold circle that represents a gold medal, a flickering Olympic flame, and a woman’s face. The first two stand for sport and the Olympic movement, while the third represents Marianne, an allegory for the French Republic. The typeface used to write “Paris 2024” is both clean and elegant. It recalls the Art Déco period between the wars, a reference to the 1924 Paris Olympics, the first time a logo was created for this event. Below the logo lie the Olympics rings or Paralympic agitos. It’s also the first time that the logo will be shared by the Olympics and Paralympics, apart from this small difference.

New logo. Credit: Paris 2024
New logo. Credit: Paris 2024

All that being said, the logo has never been universally accepted, especially on social media, where spoofs are legion. Some have criticised the absence of the Eiffel Tower, considered the one and only symbol of Paris. Others have found the sporting dimension to be totally lacking from the logo, or have lamented that the Olympic is represented by just a face. People online have also noticed that there is a strong resemblance to the logo for the Tinder dating app, while others have said that it looks like the sign for a hairdresser’s salon.

Tinder Logo. Credit: Twitter/@ClementVernio
Tinder Logo. Credit: Twitter/@ClementVernio
Hairdresser's logo. Credit: Twitter/@CharlesTrognon
Hairdresser’s logo. Credit: Twitter/@CharlesTrognon

Frédéric Tourrou, the graphic designer who goes by the name “Beasty”, and who has collaborated with brands including Tag Heuer, commented: “We’re talking about sport here, not a fashion week. At least, with the Eiffel Tower, there was a sense of elevation, self-transcendence. But this is flat; there’s no dynamism.” The design agency Graphéïne also weighed in: “How is this possible in 2019? A gendered, feminine and sexy logo??? A blunt bob and voluptuous lips!!! I don’t understand. The Olympic Games aren’t a beauty salon.” According to Julie Matikhine, Brand Director for Paris 2024, the logo was an instant hit: “At the start, we had fifty or so proposals, but we immediately fell for the one that you see today. The face has evolved. It’s slenderer, but otherwise it’s still the original design. We just helped make it bigger.”

Mix logo. Credit: Twitter/@AubinJullian
Mix logo. Credit: Twitter/@AubinJullian

The other logos of the controversial Olympic Games

So it isn’t always easy to please everyone with a simple logo, which has to bring people together and promote the values of sport, self-transcendence and friendship between nations. But the Paris 2024 logo isn’t the first to cause controversy. People often see in Olympic logos subliminal symbols or messages. The logo for London 2012, for example, was highly controversial: the Iranian Olympic Committee saw in it the letters “Z”, “I”, “O” and “N”, and therefore support for Israel; others saw a sex position.

London 2012. Credit: London 2012
London 2012. Credit: London 2012
Montreal 1976. Credit: Montreal 1976
 Montreal 1976. Credit: Montreal 1976

The logo for Beijing 2008 was spoofed many times to highlight repression by the Chinese regime and its poor human rights record, while it was said that the Montreal 1976 logo showed a middle finger. And the logos for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 were said to have been plagiarised.

Beijing 2008. Credit: Beijing 2008
Beijing 2008. Credit: Beijing 2008
Rio 2016 Telluride Foundation. Credit: Rio 2016/Telluride Foundation
Rio 2016 Telluride Foundation. Credit: Rio 2016/Telluride Foundation
Tokyo 2020 Théâtre de Liège. Crédit: Tokyo 2020/Théâtre de Liège
Tokyo 2020 Théâtre de Liège. Crédit: Tokyo 2020/Théâtre de Liège

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