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Tokyo 2020 - the plot thickens…

10th September 2015 by Emily Malpass

Branding Graphic Design

So the Tokyo Olympics logo has been scrapped, after the plagiarism rows we talked about in August, and I suppose with that much media interest, it was really the only way to go. A success for the designer of the original Theatre de Liege logo, and most likely the theatre itself, I wonder if they have had more interest and visitors since.

The designer of the Tokyo Olympics logo has apologised, insisting he never intended to copy or plagiarise, but realises he has made some errors. Assumably the mistake of not checking properly before unveiling such an important logo that will be seen worldwide, whoops!

As a designer, I can quite easily believe he had never actually seen the Theatre’s logo, so I feel for him. The Theatre’s logo is made from simple shapes, and was always going to be at risk of replication, however when it comes to something as massive as the Olympics, you have to be careful….talk about pressure! What probably seemed like the dream job, has now left the designer Kenjiro Sano, extremely dejected I'm sure. After the decision to scrap the logo was announced, CNN quoted him as saying it was due in part to "protect his family and staff from criticism and bashings," adding "I have reached my limit where I can no longer endure as a human being.” (I’m going to assume it could also be due to the possibility of a hefty fine!) Yep….I wouldn’t want to be him right now.

So it goes to show, it doesn’t matter how small your business, if you feel you have been plagiarised, say something!

A nice outcome though is that the logo is being re-visited, meaning designers that may not have been considered before have a second chance. One popular idea is the logo they used for their bid to be a host. On a purely personal level, I think this is a much nicer option. Its softer, friendlier and feels more inclusive of all. This one was created by design student Ai Shimamine, and depicts a wreath of cherry blossoms. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the obvious just works better, and what an achievement it would be for that past student to get their design used as the final Olympic logo, as well as a great starting point for her career.

As other designers add their ideas to the pot, this saga isn’t likely to end any time soon, there are 5 years to go after all, and although the original designer is probably keeping his head down right now, I think this cloud has a silver lining…and yes, maybe that is because I was never too keen on the original logo, but still, this issue can only mean more talent is discovered, and that is always a good thing.

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