The Paralympic Symbol
It’s everywhere in London at the moment, the rather odd Paralympic Games symbol. The word odd seems appropriate, as it is neither one thing nor another, neither balanced, impressive nor very well thought out, but at the same time blandly inoffensive and comfortably familiar…
The online blurb tells me that it was created by Scholz & Friends Agency in April 2003, and is composed of three agitos, agito meaning “I move” in Latin. The three colours, red, blue and green represent those most commonly found on the various flags of the world, whilst the three swooshes (no connection to Nike obviously!) encircle a centre point that symbolises the bringing together of the athletes to compete.
But it seems incomplete to me and rather ungainly. The agitos might represent movement, but the whole ensemble comes across as rigid and lumpen. I’m also surprised that there’s no reference to the timeless and iconic original five circles that represent each of the five continents of the original design, and it doesn’t read the same from both directions like the linked circles, which means its uses are more limited (as can be seen from the one hiding under all that scaffolding under London Bridge). I’ve read that the event organisers want to become recognised as a stand alone event which I suppose is fair enough, but as the Paralympics are only ever held in the same year and always a couple of weeks after the Olympics, this does seem rather a week argument, as in most peoples minds they will forever be linked.
Maybe this sense of awkwardness and there being something missing from the logo is intentional, linking it back in someway to the athletes themselves, who although not “whole” in a more traditional sense, have overcome their difficulties and setbacks through effort, dedication and sheer bloody hard work.
Sadly to my eyes, this logo doesn’t do any work whatsoever, and I think these undeniably superhuman competitors deserve far better than something that looks like is was taken from the beginners book of logos.. It’s so reminiscent of other things: Nike as previously noted is the obvious one, but has anyone noticed the similarity to Ariel washing powder… (which predates it by at least 5 years…)
And one final thought, the use of the Paralympic logo as the face of the forever hideous and offensive omni-shambles that is the London 2012 logo, only makes it look constipated, desperately trying to void the turd that is the Olympic font. Or at best really, really angry, when it could be eliciting feelings of courage, strength and determination that these athletes should more rightly be associated with…