The Olympic identity is one of the most recognized brands in the world and keeping up with a new image every four years can be challenging. The evolution of the Olympics’ logo and theme have come a long way since 1896. Some have a pivotal influence on logos that followed, some were inspired by art movements that were current at the time, and some were groundbreaking in the history of design. It’s no wonder why the unveiling of the Olympic’s logo and theme always gets the audience excited. Together, the logos of the past have built a prestigious identity for the Olympics. We’ve pulled out 10 Olympic logos to share what we think are the most memorable of them all.
1. 1896 Athens Olympics
This logo was made for the first Games held under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee. It represents an illustration more than a logo, but it is important to take notice of in order to see the progress Olympic logos have made over the years.
2. 1904 St. Louis Olympics
This is the first year that the color red was featured in the Olympic logo design. Since then, red has become one of the most popular colors to be used in future Olympic logos.
3. 1924 Paris Olympics
Here you can see how the standard poster or page layout look has been replaced with an icon format. There are no colors, shapes have become much simpler, and everything is presented in a line art format. This was a big step forward as it had become a more successful way to brand the Olympic theme.
4. 1932 Los Angeles Olympics
This monumental logo surprisingly does not make a successful logo. It’s cluttered and absorbs the rings into it’s mess, making it difficult for the eye to find a focal point. So why is this logo so monumental? It’s because this is the first time we see the Olympic rings be incorporated into the logo. From that moment on, every Olympic logo included these identifiable rings. Despite the lack of design, this marks a pivotal point in Olympic logo history.
5. 1952 Helsinki Olympics
The Helsinki logo continued the trend of using one tone in the logo design. The color palette subtly represents Finland’s flag. Putting boundaries on designs can sometimes expand creativity by intensively focusing on the basics. When focusing on the basics, the logo’s message can be developed in a creative way.
6. 1960 Rome Olympics
This logo has returned back to the black and white theme seen in earlier logos. The color palette conveys a historic feel which helps symbolize Rome and it’s history. The Rome Olympics logo also marks the first and only time an animal has been used in the Olympic Logo.
7. 1964 Tokyo Olympics
The Tokyo Olympics introduced a new minimal approach to it’s logo. It not only represents the country, but it also creates a visually appealing image through the use of repetition. The typography mimics it’s simplistic theme and helps anchor the design down. These design elements have made this logo a timeless design when compared to past and future logos.
8. 1972 Munich Olympics
Despite the political events that occurred during the Munich Olympics, it’s logo introduced a new artistic style to the Olympics. This logo took on modernism to abstractly represent the shining and bright Munich through geometric shapes. Although the typography used reflects modernism, a better (but still simple) font should have been used to balance out with the intricate design.
9. 1992 Barcelona Olympics
What makes this logo so interesting and memorable are the various meanings the abstract forms can represent. It can be seen as a gymnast, a hurdler, or even reflect Spain by symbolizing a Spanish bullfighter. However, the type is out of place, and the font does not reflect the overall design which brings down the value of the design.
10. 2012 London Olympics