Tokyo unveils 2020 Olympics logo
by Kenjiro Sano


Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo

The logos for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games by Japanese graphic designer Kenjiro Sano have been unveiled by the event organisers.

The official emblems for the games were presented at an event in the Japanese capital earlier today.

The ceremony was held just a week after the country's prime minister scrapped Zaha Hadid's design for the stadium set to host track and field events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, during the sporting competitions.

Sano, founder of Tokyo studio MR_DESIGN, designed both logos to incorporate the red circle found in the centre of the Japanese flag. For Tokyo's Olympics, the graphic designer used blocks of grey and gold to create the shape of a T, which is used to stand for Tokyo, Tomorrow and Team.

"Tokyo 2020 Games emblems are a wonderful work of art that represent the aspirations and the ultimate goal that athletes around the world aim to achieve – taking part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games," said Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic emblem is based on the equals sign, but with two thick lines arranged vertically rather than horizontally.

These bands are formed from the negative space around the stem of the T in the Olympics logo. It features the silver and gold corners, and the red dot, in identical locations.

"This emblem, whilst paying testament to Japan's rich heritage, will represent that brighter future and will become globally synonymous with sporting excellence and the incredible achievements of Paralympians," said Andrew Parsons, vice president of the International Paralympic Committee.

Related content: see all our stories about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics »

"The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem is a powerful symbol of Tokyo's Games vision," said IOC coordination commission chair John Coates. "By embracing the concept of unity in diversity, it shows the unique ability of the Olympic Games to bring together people from all over the world in peace and harmony."

Earlier this month, the torch for the Rio 2016 Olympics was revealed as an expanding design that reveals coloured resin sections when ignited.

The logo for London's Olympic Games in 2012 designed by Wolff Olins proved controversial from its unveiling in 2007 right up to the event.

  • viniruski

    Is that Perry Farrell singing the theme song?

  • doobius

    Please Japan, you’re killing me. Stop wasting money.

  • chris

    Postmodernism comeback.

  • taro

    Too anachronic and looks a bit pessimistic.

  • andrewf1

    So occupying one third of the Olympics logo is a grey vertical slab, which has… no meaning. Why the dark grey? Also, the negative space separating the grey bars in the Paralympics logo suggests exactly that – separation, which is a bit unfortunate. There’s no such thing as a “vertical equals sign”. I highly doubt anyone will read it that way.

  • matthew waldman

    This is by far some of the worst identity work I’ve ever seen presented as professional: from the cliche of using an image of the earth to express “global” to the horrible lack of kerning in the titles in the video – the large caps as well, no budget or time to custom draw them at a complimentary weight?

    The identity should be the visual language to communicate the ethos of the particular game and host city, and this work ignores the wonderful architecture being planned. Moreover, this is an insult to the many talented designers that could better express the Olympic ideals in a Japanese futurist context.

  • Roger That

    Why so retro? It looks so 1960s. Also, the TL? Tokyo ‘Lympics?

  • Simone

    This is really unfortunate. Seems that the correlation between the original Olympic colours and the TL logo weren’t considered at all.

  • Greenish

    I want to criticise this, but being from the UK and with that reminder of the 2012 logo just below the story I’m frightened it will set off the hypocrisy klaxon.

  • ileek

    What is really disturbing is that this logo is very very close to the logo of “Théâtre de Liège”. The initial project of the logo of Liege Theatre started in 2011 and has been shared on Pinterest quite a lot I think.
    It’s really disturbing.

    I understand the choice for “Théâtre de Liège” where you have T and L, but what about the grey bottom right object in the Tokyo Olympics logo? It seems to me there is a real meaning.

    • nubero

      I was about to say that the only thing not too shabby about that horrible video was the logo itself but seeing it’s similarity to the other logo… oh boy.

      Agree with everything @matthew_waldman:disqus said. Bloody cliches everywhere, interchangeable music, horrible typographic errors in the title. In short: design by committee.

  • Alex

    Oh dear, that video was a struggle from start to finish. Looks like the beginning of a student project, from the 60s. Some really cringing colour combinations — don’t get the sense of energy and intensity that it warrants.

  • Sam


  • chronologic

    How about this?

  • Guest

    I think it’s a great design that suits Japan’s global image personally. The Olympic logo surely doesn’t have to shock everyone to their core to be deemed a success?

  • rodrigo

    The font reminds me of SONY.

  • Brendan

    Love the design, hate the font. A Modernist sans-serif (Futura, Helvetica, etc) would have complimented the retro-graphic treatment far better than clunky slab-serif Clarendon.