Design critique of the redesigned Chicago 2016 Olympics logo (star version)

Today Chicago reveals their new logo today for their bid of the 2016 Olympic games. The previous logo featured a torch. (Critique of that logo available at Previous torch Chicago Olympic logo). The International Olympic Committee allows the torch to be used only for official Olympic city logos, not bid cities. Will Chicago go back to the torch for the official logo if we win the bid to host the games?

Props to VSA Partners’ Chicago office for creating this new logo. They did a fantastic job. Here‚Äôs my design critique of the new Chicago Olympic bid logo:

Excitement

This logo truly stirs the imagination of the Olympics coming to Chicago. The star from our flag is in the logo. The Chicago flag. You know what this means? Chicago will DEFINITELY be adding a fifth star to our flag if we get the Olympics. This logo creates a sense of reality that this WILL happen. Just the thought of potentially adding another star to our flag gets me pumped up.

Gradients

Boy howdy, this logo is using gradients galore, usually that’s a no-no in logo design, because it’s hard to reproduce on things like pens. But using the gradients balances out the bold, striking colors by softening the edges. Plus the gradients give a sense of movement.

Architecture

The previous logo really represented the architecture of Chicago. The newer version only subtely hints towards it, but it does it enough to be part of the meaning without clobering you over the head. The yellow and red do a nice job of portraying architecture during sunset or sunrise.

Star

As the Chicago2016.org says, “The central star reflects the design of the four stars on the City‚Äôs flag and symbolizes our plan to put the athletes at the center of the Games‚Äîsince they‚Äôre the real stars.” Nicely put! Especially since previous American bids got shot down for being too American-focused and cocky.

Extra meaning

The six points on the star are meant to represent Hope, Respect, Harmony, Friendship, Excellence and Celebration. Yeah yeah, whatever, that’s just extra nicey nice talk. Then again, why not? It adds a little more back story to the logo. Better to do have these extra meanings than to not have them mean anything at all.

Typography

I’m still yet to figure out exactly what font they used in this logo. In the newer version they went with a slightly less bold version. Perhaps this is to go along with the more humble approach the Chicago committee is taking.

Animation potenial

Having a star be the focus of the logo opens up some great opportunities to use animations with shining stars and glittering effects. Check out this YouTube video.

Conclusion

This logo is clean and simple, yet powerful. It’s a classy logo for a world-class city. Chicago can stand behind this logo and hold it up proud.

What do you think of the logo? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

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unlikelymoose
14 years ago

I enjoy the logo very much. It’s very dynamic and has rich symbolism. I’m usually in the camp of “no gradients in logos”. However, the gradients really maximize the effectiveness of this logo. If you’re gonna use a gradient in a logo, then there better be a good reason for it and this logo demonstrates how a gradient can give logos special punch. I also enjoy how the soft and rich gradients contrast with the clean, sharp star. They really complement each other well. The pairing of gradient and Chicago star really emphasizes each other’s visual qualities. However, I struggle with the different lengths of the red gradient versus the blue gradient. They have different effects on the Chicago star. In a way, the red gradient makes the star look like it’s moving downward. That’s bad. Or you can view the star as stationary and the gradient is shooting up from the star which is very good. I understand the symbolism of making the red gradient longer than the blue gradient. The red implies chicago’s tall skyscrapers and the blue represents Chicago’s lakefront and river. This effect would be lost if they were the same length. I suppose if the gradients were made the same length, then the logo would lose some of its dynamicness.

donna
donna
14 years ago

i’m totally psyched about each of the points on the star having a meaning. the points on the 4 stars of our existing flag all have meaning, so i think it’s a really nice tie back to the symbolism already used in our city icons. reading into it just a little bit further, it might mean that this star is good-to-go for adding to the flag and maybe they are already thinking about a 5-star chicago flag.

Tom Saaristo
14 years ago

Excellent post! I am most-excited about using the Chicago star and the potential of adding a 5th to our city’s flag after we host in 2016!

Luke
Luke
14 years ago

Love it! Great work VSA simple yet elegant, as much as I love the chicago flag for the same reasons I wouldn’t mind seeing a 5th star..

Keli
Keli
13 years ago

I really love this new logo and am glad they changed it (the bottom of the torch is a little iffy). I also liked that you said, “It s a classy logo for a world-class city.” In fact, that is just what I was thinking. I did a National History Day project on Chicago as a world-class city, and I feel this proves the point perfectly. I love the effects of the colors and was glad they were kept the same throughout the old/new logos. It creates a bold yet soft feeling that I love about gradient edges. It is great that they don’t overdo the gradient by still keeping the logo in a relatively rectangle-resembling shape… it is not all over the place. The amount of orange on the top middle point bugs me a little. The greens/blues on the bottom are perfectly balanced, yet there seems to be more orange on the top that the sides… that could just be due to the fact of the purposeful overbalance in reds and oranges. But that is just a little pet peeve I noticed after staring and judging it, not a big deal. Great job to the creators!!!

Oli
Oli
13 years ago

Its too chicago-ish. The International spirit is not visible clearly (if at all) through the logo. Asthetically its a great piece and lovely desine. All the symbolism is great too. Peace

Me
Me
13 years ago

I’m with Oli on this. A few people I know who do not live in Chicago have asked me “what’s with the star of David?” The previous logo is one of a kind and is probably the most evocative and memorable Olympic logo I have seen. It would be a real shame if it got buried in the sands of time.

Ashley
Ashley
11 years ago

i am going to be in that olympics for track and field! yepp i am…and im going to win!

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