I am very excited about the 2014 Winter Olympics, but I must say, as a graphic designer, I am disappointed in the logo design that was chosen for these Sochi Olympics. I did some research to find out the thoughts behind and reasoning for choosing that logo. Here are my thoughts:
- Font: The “h” in “Sochi” and the 4 in “2014,” along with the “i” in “Sochi” and the “1” in “2014” are mirror images of each other, respectively, the use of which symbolizes Sochi’s location as the “meeting point” of the sea and the mountains. I find this clever. The chunky typeface was chosen to represent the digital age, which it succeeds at since it has a modern style to it, and the use of lowercase letters gives a somewhat friendly feel.
- Symbolism: Russia wanted to come across with a more friendly, hospitable image and not be seen as a cold country. I don’t feel that the logo evokes any emotion or says anything about Russia. A country full of such culture, I would have expected so much more.
- Use of a URL: I find the use of the website extension, .ru, unnecessary. It’s certainly very easy to find info about Sochi online without knowing the web address.
- Consistency: While watching the Olympic events on television, I have noticed that the logo is so varied, which is just bad branding. A logo should always look exactly the same, except in the cases of horizontal and vertical versions of the logo and, of course, color and grayscale versions—all of which are acceptable. But the font shouldn’t change nor should the case of the letters. I have seen “Sochi” in capital letters, as opposed to the lowercase ones in the logo, and even in a different typeface. That doesn’t work. I do find it acceptable to have a Cyrillic version of the logo though. After all, that is Russia’s native alphabet.
This website shows another design that was a candidate for the Sochi Olympics logo. I find it exciting, innovative, fun, vibrant, creative and friendly. I think this would have made an excellent choice.
In general, I don’t think a logo design needs to be so literal that everyone who sees it instantly understands every detail of its story. However, a successful logo design uses color, typography and/or imagery appropriate to the subject matter and to convey a certain meaning to its audience. A logo can say a lot—quickly.