2016.04.09 Saturday

032 The underlying picture of one against three - “Plan A” versus “Plans BCD”

On April 8, 2016, a shortlist of four new logo designs for the Olympic and Paralympic Games was unveiled. As I watched the four logo candidates, A, B, C, D, revealed, lined up side by side, I could see the underlying picture of one against three emerge. Looking at the tell-tale characteristics of the designs it was clearly a “Plan A” against “Plans BCD” situation. Considering the methodology—in this case, selecting one winning design out of four—a presentation that ensures the first candidate at the top of the list should stand out so obviously was quite inappropriate. It seemed that the whole presentation was clearly planned with “Plan A” in mind.

The four logo designs can be separated into two groups, “Plan A” and “Plans BCD”. I will state my reasons and basis for coming to this conclusion.

(1) Color
“Plan A” is composed of the Olympic emblem and the “Tokyo 2020” logo type, expressed using a single color, Japan’s traditional indigo blue. The almost achromatic hues present a serene impression.
“Plans BCD” all employ red and gold as their main colors with splashes of additional chromatic colors such as green and blue. They incorporate the color scheme of the Olympic emblem thereby enhancing the image of festivities. 
Of all elements of design, color has a definitive role as a major component that gives impact to first impressions. In that sense, the impression of colors used in the designs labeled “Plan B”, “Plan C” and “Plan D” come off as pretty similar—which allows the design labeled “Plan A”, with its quiet single tone coloring, to stand out more clearly.

(2) Basic form
“Plan A” uses a precise circle. As for the Olympic emblem, though this is not symmetrical in form, it gives the impression of symmetry. As for the logo for the Paralympics, the design is a symmetrical formation. 
“Plans BCD” employ various forms and are organic in design and are non-symmetrical in form.
According to the former Olympic logo design competition, non-symmetrical designs were considered drawbacks as potential Paralympic logos.

(3) Design motif
“Plan A” is an abstract expression that draws on a traditional ichimatsu checkerboard pattern, creating a design with a serene impression.
Looking at the “Plans BCD”, “Plan B” employs human figures, “Plan C” a pair of Japanese deities, Fujin and Raijin, “Plan D” morning glories, as their figurative motifs respectively. The impressions are dynamic in nature.

(4) Concept
“Plan A” employs a traditional pattern that dates back to Japan’s Edo Period combined with Japanese traditional color, indigo. The concept is a full representation of things Japanese.
“Plans BCD” all use the expression “personal best” in their concept statements. The designs reflect the bounce and dynamism of sports and offer praise to the athletes. The concepts are straightforward, promoting the spirit of the Games that are rooted in sports.

“Plan A” firmly places Japanese traditional culture as its central theme. It promotes the traditional Japanese design format. In other words, “Plan A” does not include a single component of sports and is a pure expression of Japanese traditional design. On the other hand “Plans BCD” are designs that were developed around the theme of sports. Here we can see a sharp contrast between the two groups: stillness and motion.

In analyzing how people favor multiple design plans, serious studies in search of accurate results do not employ labels such as “A, B, C, D” or “1, 2, 3, 4” that symbolize order and priority. The labels will subliminally affect the psyche and end up affecting the study results. Therefore, normally it is considered more appropriate to appoint random labels such as “K, G, I, M” that do not give rise to any meaning to the relativity among the subjects. This method ensures a just and fair study, with accurate results. Considering the shortlist of four designs for the Olympic Games logos, and the way they were unveiled, even before looking into each design for their merits and demerits, I could clearly feel that certain conditions were already in place to favor “Plan A”. In other words the unveiling method was already compromised, giving a special cutting edge to “Plan A”.

Without going into any discussion as to whether “Plan A” is a design worthy of the Olympic Games, from a specialist’s standpoint I will say this: I think it is highly unlikely that a graphic design specialist on the Tokyo 2020 Emblem Selection Committee would push any of the “Plans BCD”. Therefore, it is my assumption that at least among the graphic design specialists on the emblem selection committee, the results are already in. “Plan A” has already been given the nod.

I know that people are already voicing their preferences and choices regarding the logo designs on the internet and elsewhere. But we must not forget that the competition’s outcome is not to be decided by public voting. The bottom line is, it is up to the Tokyo 2020 Emblem Selection Committee to choose the winning design. We must not fail to recognize that once again, the renewed competition will not be a reflection of the consensus of the Japanese people.

Therefore, based on such observations, I will not take part in any discussion in choosing one design out of the proposed four.
Keiko Hirano

[A note on revising my post]
When I posted chapter 032 on April 9 (Saturday), a designer whom I was not acquainted with kindly pointed out my lack of knowledge regarding what construes “symmetry”. I then found a few comments on the internet, also pointing out my misunderstanding. I took note and rewrote my statement. I reposted the revised chapter on April 12. I would like to thank those who took the time to point out my mistake. Thank you for your help.
Keiko Hirano
April 16, 2016
Keiko Hirano:
Designer/Visioner, Executive Director of Communication Design Laboratory
Hirano served on the panel that chose the official emblem for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which was ultimately withdrawn.

001 責任がとれる方法で 002 公募期間の短さ 003 『展開』『展開性』『展開力』 004 知らされなかった招待作家 005 ブログを読んで下さっているみなさまへ 006 利害優先の土壌 007 修正案承諾拒否の経緯と理由 - vol.1 008 修正案承諾拒否の経緯と理由 - vol.2 009 『公』の仕事 010 専門家の盾 011 秘密保持誓約書という密室 012 いまこそ、私心なき専門性を問う 013 判断の論拠 014 最終の審議 015 金銭感覚と敬意の相対性 016 表現におけるモラリティと表現者のモラル 017 言葉のちから 018 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.1 019 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.2 020 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.3 021 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.4 022 願い 023 摩訶不思議な調査報告書 024 負の遺産とならないように 025 出口なき迷路 026 届かぬ思い 027「社会に位置づくデザイン」という観点 028 無責任主義の村 029 審査委員として知り得た情報のすべて 030 新聞寄稿文への異論 - vol.1 031 新聞寄稿文への異論 - vol.2 032 1対3の構図 - 「A案」VS「BCD案」 033 今を生きる 034 負の連鎖……を断つために 035 欲望の公害 精神の断絶 036 イカサマ文書 by JAGDA - vol.1 037 イカサマ文書 by JAGDA - vol.2 038 イカサマ文書 by JAGDA - vol.3 039 事実はひとつ 040 新世界へ 041 JAGDA文書への意見と要望 ― 法律の専門家による分析 042 JAGDAの回答 JAGDAへの要望書 043 「要望書へのJAGDAの回答」に対する更なる質問 044 「意見書へのJAGDAの回答」に対する質問と提案 045 ブラック・デザイン 046 弁護士から届いた封書 047 おとぎの国の物語 048 退会届
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Logo Controversy--Facts and Observations 001 My way of taking responsibility 002 Duration of contest was way short 003 “Development” “Development Capabilities” “Development Power” 004 Guest artists I wasn’t told about 005 To My Readers 006 A culture where special interests take priority 007 How and why I refused to accept the modified design - vol.1 008 How and why I refused to accept the modified design - vol.2 009 Strictly “public” work 010 Specialists as shields 011 Behind closed doors-secrecy surrounding a non-disclosure agreement 012 Time to put selfless expertise to the test 013 Rationale behind my decision 014 The final review session 015 Is the money mindset relative to paying respect? 016 Morality of expression and the morals of its creator 017 The power of words 018 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.1 019 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.2 020 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.3 021 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.4 022 My wish 023 Mystifying investigation report is out 024 In order to prevent a negative legacy 025 Stuck in a maze with no exit 026 A voice unheard 027 A viewpoint that calls for “design with a place in society” 028 A village with a policy of irresponsibility 029 Every piece of information that I garnered as a judge on the selection committee 030 Objections to a newspaper contribution - vol.1 031 Objections to a newspaper contribution - vol.2 032 The underlying picture of one against three - “Plan A” versus “Plans BCD” 033 Living in the moment 034 Putting a stop……to a negative chain of events 035 Pollution by greed and discontinuity of the spirit 036 Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.1 037 Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.2 038 Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.3 039 Every fact has only one version 040 Toward a whole new world 041 Opinion and request regarding JAGDA document―An analysis by a legal specialist 042 Reply from JAGDA Request letter to JAGDA 043 More questions re: "Reply from JAGDA regarding Request Letter" 044 Questions and proposal re: "Reply from JAGDA regarding Request Letter" 045 Rogue design 046 Letter from the lawyers 047 Tales from Wonderland 048 Withdrawal Notice