2024 Summer Olympics City Bid Logos: Siegel+Gale Weighs In

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The candidate process for the 2024 Summer Olympics is underway, with bidding having started last year. Thus far, the world has seen logos from three of the four candidate cities—Paris, Rome and Los Angeles—and is awaiting the release of Budapest’s bid logo.

Below, our friends over at Siegel+Gale have provided commentary on the city bid logos from Paris, Rome and Los Angeles. S+G’s seasoned designers analyze what the logos say about their respective cities and offer their opinions on the quality of the marks. [More from Siegel+Gale: commentary on the 2016 presidential campaign logos + commentary on restaurant logos]

Siegel+Gale Weighs in on 2024 Summer Olympics City Bid Logos

Paris Bid Logo for 2024 Summer Olympics

 Paris Bid Logo for 2024 Summer Olympics

“The combination of ’24 and Eiffel Tower is an appropriate solution [seeing] as it was designed to be the entrance for the World’s Fair in 1889, it is a symbol of freedom and global unity, perhaps. Something which has real resonance after recent tragedies. As with Rome, it’s is a lot easier to use an established icon/symbol/identity to create some sense of what it stands for. The rendering is tasteful, with the feel of streamer tape or a finish-line ribbon. The use of almost full-spectrum color also gives it awareness of the event populated by international participants and viewers.”
—James Allen, senior designer, LA

If the games were awarded based on the logo, Paris would win hands down. The Paris Olympics logo is simple, exudes an elegant clarity, works well in small sizes and co-branding scenarios, can be easily animated, and embeds Paris’ iconic landmark in a surprising way. It also takes advantage of the number 24, which one could also relate back to nonstop action (24/7). It has a celebratory feel without being cheesy, and it is fairly open for interpretation, making it a great vehicle to be used in many contexts. Yet, it fits nicely into the category of event logos, without following the typical approach of adding a lot junk to a mark. One thing I noticed when comparing the three marks: [They] share a similarity in lock-up, but only the Paris logo is gutsy enough to leave out the Olympic rings…
—Matthias Mencke, group creative director, LA

Aside from the controversy about potential plagiarism, the Paris 2024 logo tries to instill new life new meaning into a national icon. It looks like there was an attempt to reflect Olympic colors and perhaps this is why it feels slightly fragmented, affecting the legibility of the ‘4.’ The result is fairly fresh considering that candidate city logos are usually heavily clichéd.
—Dan Vasconcelos, associate creative director, London

“These simple color gradients are definitely the flavor of the moment, tipping over into overdone territory, but other than that there is a lot to like here. The way the symbol operates on multiple levels is clever – and doesn’t feel ‘forced’ – neither reading being compromised by its duplicity. Combined with the simple, bold typography it’s sophisticated and dynamic.
—Jonathan Field, senior designer, NYC

Overall I like it. It is perhaps the most interesting one, but it lacks a bit of legibility. It takes you a minute to distinguish the 4 from the actual 24 (and the reference to the Eiffel Tower). The gradient kind of helps, but to me it makes it a bit overwhelming. The one-color version is much better. I like the typography; it is geometric and solid and it pairs well with the mark.
—Lorenzo Fanton, senior designer, NYC

“A clever, and timely, interpretation of an iconic Parisian landmark, while the gradients are also modern translations of colors taken from the Olympic rings. Its upward shift has that momentum to inspire athletes to always reach higher, in the same way the tower is a symbol of moving forward even in times of tragedy.”
—Mei Wing Chan, designer director, San Francisco

“A clear nod to the Eiffel Tower, but what exactly is this stylization or coloring meant to convey? Energy? Spirit? Paris is a city with a culturally rich history—surely there is a way to capture a more nuanced and unique expression of her soul than a flamboyantly rendered Eiffel Tower. However, the simple and elegant typographic treatment is my favorite of the three.”
—Mike Tyson, design director, NY

“A cleaver and simple logo mark that incorporates the numerals ’24’ into the depiction of the Eiffel Tower. The ribbon-like gesture of the strokes is a nice touch. The decision to not include the Olympic rings was noteworthy and serves the typography as a whole to read more boldly (though not sure if it goes against Olympics guidelines or not).”
—Yoshié Hozumi, senior designer, NY

“The logo is fun and spirited. The whimsical drawing of the Eiffel Tower and the integration of the 24 is really nice. It’s upward movement and joyful feel makes it a true Olympian mark. This may be the one and only time that I applaud the use of gradations. Voilå!”
—Anne Swan, global creative director, NYC

“Interesting to notice that Paris decided not to use the colors of the French flag, but to adopt a more global approach, referencing all the tones of the Olympic logo as well. I personally think it’s the most interesting of the three, you can clearly see the 24 of 2024 coming through and, on a second look, the Eiffel Tower. It’s not obvious, it’s visually appealing and it has stature. Does it sing the French song? Maybe not, but it does have that je ne sais quoi. It places Paris in a truly global scenario, all the colors communicating inclusivity, something clearly needed especially after the recent tragedies that took place in the city.”
—Daniela Meloni, designer, London

Rome Bid Logo for 2024 Summer Olympics

Rome's Bid Logo for 2024 Summer Olympics

“These logos need to be evaluated as ‘City Bid’ logos, NOT Olympic logos. So on that basis I believe the Roma logo is best. The best solution emphatically makes the point that THIS site is THE site where gladiators have competed, and struggled, and bled, and prevailed, and finally have been recognized as champions worthy of deification. What the Olympics are ultimately all about. Bravo Roma.”
—Howard Belk, co-CEO, chief creative officer, NYC

“The coliseum was the only answer here. A nod to the heritage of games and the use of an established icon recognizable as the capital of Italy. Which leads to my issue with the strict adherence to the Italy colors. The choice seems a little dated and self-absorbed and I’m not sure what the construction of the rendering is conveying, apart from, perhaps some element of movement. There is too much small detailing.”
—James Allen, senior designer, LA

Rome’s logo is in a competition with LA’s mark for worst use of clip art. As expected, it is using a landmark. I can barely get over its cartoonish rendering and poor perspective, but what’s harder to understand is that instead of being inclusive and opening up to invite people in, it builds a wall toward the viewer. It also lacks humanity and could be used more effectively to promote the coliseum (unless they are holding a majority of the events there, which I doubt). Does it really have to be green, white and red as well? Does it have to scream ‘Italy’ that loudly? And as with the LA logo, it has some production issues built in: the light gray gradient toward white will break away and reproduce inconsistently depending on surface. Thanks to the designer for also illustrating the thickness of the walls, an important detail that surely will be lost in small sizes.
—Matthias Mencke, group creative director, LA

Rome’s candidate city logo is so expected that it goes with pasta Bolognese and an espresso. The art-deco nod to the typography is appreciated (intentional?) but the coliseum-inspired symbol is static and doesn’t reference the vibrancy and energy that a potential Olympic in the Italian capital could have.
—Dan Vasconcelos, associate creative director, London

“Retro gelato. Almost looks like Mario might jump out.”
—Jonathan Field, senior designer, NYC

”It doesn’t say much, but it is obvious what it represents. It’s deeply rooted in its own tradition and the only way they convey the idea of modernity is through that swoosh thing and the geometric typeface. Italian flag + Colosseum = Olympic committee logo. Pehaps the mark could have been simplified in terms of shadows. I like the secondary national color Azzurri (Blue) in the typesetting, nice touch.”
—Lorenzo Fanton, senior designer, NYC

“For many, the Coliseum is a symbol of cruelty and oppression, so it will take more than the Olympics to change that perception. Adding colors from the Italian flag feels like whitewashing in this particular case.”
—Mei Wing Chan, designer director, San Francisco

Rome’s Colosseum rendering looks like it belongs on a pizza box or a Powerpoint more than an official city logo. The stylistic tropes of the swooped ends and 3D gradient cheapen the look and reduce a majestic space to a gimmick. Rome, like Paris, oozes historic significance. How did they arrive at a mark that says so little about a city so great?
—Mike Tyson, design director, NY

“The illustrated Coliseum leans closer to something one could find on a clip art website. The typography is also lacking originality and unique expression and does not hint to the bustling nature of the beautiful historic city of Rome.”
—Yoshié Hozumi, senior designer, NY

“The Stadio Olympico is the main and largest sports facility of Rome, Italy. So it’s an excellent choice for their Olympic icon. It seems like a missed opportunity for a true fusion of the old stadium vs. the new. The history / modern. Maybe the swoosh was that attempt. This had the conceptual power to be an iconic beacon. It’s lacking the strength and grace that could have been realized.”
—Anne Swan, global creative director, NYC

“How can you possibly NOT recognize that this is Rome? The Coliseum is there, clearly illustrated with its doors, and just in case there was any doubt, the colors of the Italian flag as reinforcement. What is striking is that a city that is so famous, and so recognizable could really do with being less literal and more reductionalist. This is not a logo, it’s an illustration. The font is great though, modern with a reference of typography used on the buildings of the ‘Ventennio.'”
—Daniela Meloni, designer, London

Los Angeles Bid Logo for 2024 Summer Olympics

Los Angeles Bid Logo for 2024 Summer Olympics

“Nice thinking behind the symbol. Females represent! Although, it may be more forward-thinking to have a male angel. The symbol boasts of a life-changing Olympics, much like the ‘local’ award ceremonies that it was perhaps influenced by. There is a lot going on in this mark. Gradients can be hard to manage, at the best of times with few applications. They are putting a lot of trust in venders for reproduction. It definitely looks like there was a committee involved—perhaps that’s what the extremely fine sun rays are symbolic of?”
—James Allen, senior designer, LA

LA’s logo is disappointing in respect to its use of symbolism and craftsmanship. Ok, LA doesn’t have a great landmark that is world-renowned, but the angel does not seem appropriate for an event that is less about spirituality and fairy-tale creatures, but more about real people fiercely competing with each other. It’s also a little ‘on-the-nose’ by alluding to the term ‘City of Angels,’ which doesn’t capture well what is unique about Los Angeles. The most LA-specific aspect of the logo is maybe the radiating light, but its execution is simply bad: The light yellow gradient breaks away at edges. The combination of white lines with a gradient is a visual pleonasm. The lines bisect the figure in unfortunate ways, taking away from the impact the angel otherwise would have. The lines also do not reproduce at smaller sizes. And lastly, the form of the angel is rendered really poorly. For a figure that should flow effortlessly, the wings (or flame) have weird kinks and bumps that break up its movement and are aesthetically not pleasing. Oh, and the flame is too secondary of a read to me and feels pretty lackluster and uninspired. As a kernel of an idea, it could have been executed to have much more vigor.
—Matthias Mencke, group creative director, LA

“LA tried so hard that they ended up with a retro-futuristic logo that would look comfortable as a prop in the set of the original Blade Runner. This is surprising for a city that is home to arguably the best creative talent in the world of music, film, and media. The ‘city of angels’ reference is immediate but not sure it does justice to such a vibrant place.”
—Dan Vasconcelos, associate creative director, London

“I get the city of Angels vibe here, but can’t help thinking that my little niece would like this far more than I do. The sunburst, gradient, radial lines, fairy-esque figure all do form an impression of the city it represents; however, it’s potentially not an overly positive, and slightly tacky (?) one.”
—Jonathan Field, senior designer, NYC

”To me there’s too much going on. The elongated odd shape of the angel (which reminds me of a fairy at first glance), the gradient with the sun’s rays (it is a bit literal if it wasn’t already clear that it was a sunset) and the odd pairing with an interesting typography. I get LA’s positive and progressive values, but overall I’m not a big fun of it.”
—Lorenzo Fanton, senior designer, NYC

“This symbol feels hopeful and inspirational. It evokes mythology from the birthplace of the Olympics, while also referencing the city’s own name. Its colorful palette adds a Californian spin with a golden light reflective of the ultimate medal which athletes are aiming for.”
—Mei Wing Chan, designer director, San Francisco

“The logo is a sandwich of four discrete, unrelated parts. It’s no doubt a challenge to design a mark that must contain so many pieces of information; however, simply stacking them on top of one another isn’t helping their integration. LA is the City of Angels, but is an ebullient angel, awash with golden light rays, really the best symbol of the city as we know it today? Something tells me the residents wouldn’t feel much of a kinship to this mark.” 
—Mike Tyson, design director, NY

“The typography nods to the tech savvy entrepreneurial essence of Los Angeles while the color brings a sense of serenity that a sunset conjures. The leaping angle is an obvious choice and somewhat clichéd—and of course she would be extremely fit.”
—Yoshié Hozumi, senior designer, NY

“It feels overdone and a bit complicated for an Olympic logo. The idea of a symbol around ‘city of angels’ is a good one. The execution is not. This feels more appropriate for a spiritual healing center or religious entity.”
—Anne Swan, global creative director, NYC

“All the elements are in place. There is an angel: a lithe and lean angel—clearly as angelic as a winged cherub is, it’s never going to cut it on the teetotally toned, Victoria Secret laden streets of LA. There is a Californian sun: a positive energy emanates from it. And there is Tinker Bell: well, with Walt Disney on your doorstep it had to make an appearance somewhere. This is, like, totally LA. The only thing I’m not sure about is the retro font, which seems out of sorts with the imagery. A bit too try hard hipster?”
—Daniela Meloni, designer, London

 

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