The Olympics seem to be a popular topic around here: from London to Vancouver, there’s always something for graphic designers to sound off about. The latest chatter is about the proposed logo for Madrid’s 2016 Olympics bid. Sure, it might be a little hasty to critique an unapproved logo for an Olympic bid for games which are 9 years away…but trust us, the logo could use a hand.
The proposed logo is a five-finger salute to Madrid’s diversity. Vibrant primary colours make up the outline of a hand, which is intended as “symbol of unity” representing the mix of people and nationalities that coexist in Madrid. While the idea is pleasant enough, we won’t be high-fiving the designer for this one.
Many logos successfully manage to pull off visual double entendres: for instance, the famous FedEx logo: it says FedEx, and there’s an arrow between the E and the X – and the arrow represents the motion of their shipping services. Nice. It’s clear that the Madrid logo is trying to be clever by integrating the M into the palm of the hand, but the problem is, there’s no “second” way to interpret the logo. It’s just an awkward black M cutting violently into the centre of a disembodied hand.
Secondly, the colours look friendly enough, but I can almost guarantee that 1 in every 4 people who see this logo will instantly think of Google. From the bouncy primary colours, to the integrated M swiped from the Gmail logo, this logo says “search engine” far louder than it says “sports competition.”
And if we’re looking 9 years down the road, let’s check out the competition. Chicago is also vying for these games, and their bid logo is drawing incredible accolades from all around the design community — mostly. Unfortunately, the city’s first logo had to be redesigned after a new rule was introduced stating that no elements associated with the Olympics themselves (like torches, Olympics rings, medlas, etc.) could be used in bid logos. Still, Chicago’s revised identity is at least five times stronger than Madrid’s elementary school attempt at design.