Tokyo 2020 Olympics Logo Marked for Plagiarism
The Olympic Games is one of the most celebrated sports events in the planet. It attracts participants from across the entire globe who come together to compete in a wide range of activity. Given the popularity of the event and the popularity that accompanies it, hosting it is usually a dream of every country. Tokyo got the privilege to host the 2020 Olympics Games and ever since they were awarded the bid, they have been preparing earnestly to have everything ready for the global sporting event. However, their hapless preparations for the Olympics games have been hampered by allegations that the Olympics logo might have been plagiarized.
Plagiarism in logo design is such a grave concern because it puts in doubt the designer’s ability to come up with fresh and unique design concepts. Additionally, for a global fiesta like the Olympics, it is utterly embarrassing to use a logo which appears to have been plagiarized. This is why Japan had to scrap off the logo in question and look for other alternatives.
When a design is copied on this level it can lead to some extreme controversy. This kind of problem can also detract from the games as a whole. While a major design contest does sometimes have this type of controversy associated with it, it is not often that a major designer is ripped off for the use of such a high profile logo. It will certainly be interesting to see if any future legal repercussions occur as a result of this case. If a logo was protected under copyright however then it may not be applicable due to differing copyright laws between international law. This is still a major international story however, worthy of design attention.
The accusations of plagiarism of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Game logo sparked off when a Belgium designer, Olivier Debie accused the 2020 Olympics logo designer of stealing his concept. Olivier claimed that Sano (the Olympics logo designer) didn’t just take his idea but also used other images in the logo design without acquiring permission to do so. This forced the Olympics Committee to ditch the design since they didn’t want to be associated with such claims.
The controversial Olympics logo has some semblance to a logo designed for the Theatre de Liege in Belgium, by Olivier Debie. Sano as well as the Olympics Committee have accepted the presence of the similarities between the two logos but have however refuted claims of plagiarism in the design.
Though Olivier is set to move to court to start the legal process of ensuring that the logo is not used during the Olympic Games, the organizing committee has asserted that the Belgium design was not a registered trademark. Hence, Sano cannot be guilty of plagiarism. They explain that Sano’s design features a “T.” This was inspired by the fact that the games will be held in Tokyo, so it was more appropriate for the logo have a letter T in it. The other inspiration on the logo is the red circle, and this was inspired by the Japanese flag characterized by the red circle representing the sun.
But after some time, the official organizing the Olympic Games decided to unveil Sano’s initial design, claiming that its emphasis on the shape of the letter “T” had no semblance of the Belgium’s theater design. The committee was, therefore, keen to promote the use of the Sano-designed logo and make it popular ahead of the games in 2020.
But the controversies surrounding the Olympics logo designs seem not to be far from over. It has emerged that Sano’s initial design also had semblance with the late German typographer, Jan Tschichold. Additionally, the local media has alleged that Sano had used images from a certain website without being given permission to do so.
On his defense, Sano stated that the inspiration for his design had come from the emblem used when Tokyo held the first Summer Olympic Games in 1964, claiming that he had never set his eyes on the Belgium design before. But some people found this defense difficult to buy since Sano had been in the past accused of plagiarizing other people’s work. As a result, this has put his credibility to test, and he will find it an uphill task to convince everyone that the Olympics logo design is his original creation.
Now that the authenticity of the logo as well as the credibility of the designer are in serious doubt, the officials organizing the games have decided to distance themselves from the logo and have thus commissioned a new design. They hope that they will ultimately find a designer and a design that will be clean from all allegations and which they can to restore the already dented image of organizing committee.