Hot on the heels of the Olympic Games is the release of the branding for the 2018 European Championships by Design Werk (originally seen at the launch in February, but published live on the DesignWerk site this week). Pulling together seven European competitions of popular Olympic sports into one sporting festival, the first European Championships is due to be held in Glasgow and Berlin (which gets the athletics only) in 2018. Why two cities? Who knows, it’s not for me to judge, Glasgow which hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games could do them all, as I suspect could Berlin. It’s hinted in the draft applications that there might be an opening ceremony in Glasgow at an athletics arena that won’t be used for the athletics. That all feels a bit odd.
As well as the main logo we get a text lock-up of each of the 7 events, athletics, aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, triathlon and erm, golf (all of the events sit quite well as classic Olympic disciplines, but golf, well I’m not convinced it belongs in this kind of event or the Olympics, to be honest, if the Olympics isn’t the pinnacle event in your discipline, I don’t think it should be an Olympic event. I’m looking at you too football, basketball, and tennis).
The logo features an asymmetric star shape that could be interpreted as a figure formed by 6 multi-faceted shapes in 6 colours. That might lead to the question why 6 colours when there are 7 sports? I can only assume the plan is to bring additional sports (or lose some… golf). In the text versions of the sports, Triathalon’s aqua is the colour that misses out appearing in the logo. This sits on an almost reflex blue field. Intended to represent both the coming together of the events and the combative nature of the sports, though I’m not convinced that strolling around a parkland in pairs hitting a small ball into a hole is that combative?
The design has a certain sports event feel, selecting multiple colours reflects the idea in the Olympic rings and expressive but nondescript shapes feature often on multi-event branding systems meaning it has that air of a large spectator occasion.
It’s accompanied by a modified font with added shading to ape the 3D effect of the logo. Based on the open source, free, Titillium Font, extra wedges are cut out because, well sporty text needs to be a little bit spiky doesn’t it? Lets make it so. Further modification in the form of rounded edges and terminals plus the raising of the crossbars on letters like the A and H make the main wordmark more bespoke.
There’s an odd clash there for me, the logo is sharp and they’ve added in sharp cuts to the text and then rounded it all off. Titillium then returns unmodified in the general text application with it’s generally sharper form and lower crossbars. Titillium itself is a fascinating project, it’s a typeface developed and refined by students on a type design course over a number of years. It continues to be improved each year by a new set of students taking feedback from designers who use it. I could whine about an event looking to be a prestigious recurring fixture using a free font, but that’s for elsewhere perhaps (I don’t think they should, even a good free font).
As a logo-mark, I think the design is acceptable. It doesn’t blow me away but it’s professional and does the job. I’m not so sold on the accompanying text which for me is doing too much. I hate how the yellow wedge sticks over the right of the text below, and when applied to a small size in the various sports applications, you start to lose some of the clarity. The green centre shape especially becomes lost to the cyan one.
It has to do more of a job representing 7 diverse sports than each would need to do individually, reflecting the skills required in golf alongside those needed for gymnastics is a tall order.
But why doesn’t the athletics version have the logo when the others do? It also uses another font, which is both uglier and bolder than the rest of the text. I can’t get my head around that, there must be some politics in it and the result in nonsense because of it.
Not much in application yet, mostly the logo used really big to make wedges of space for content. Finally there are some nice photos of people doing sport (none of golf yet, why am I so bitter about golf?)
Here’s what the fine folks of DesignWerk have to say:
The European Championships is a brand new multi-sport event uniting 7 existing Championships that take place every 4 years. It aspires to elevate the status of the champions of Europe and build on what it means to be a champion. Designwerk were commissioned to deliver a complete brand strategy and the brand identity for the new event that will continue across all media. The logo represents the Mark of a Champion and was designed to emphasise the competitive nature of the championships. The vibrant colour palette visually expresses the diversity of the athletes as well as the unification of the different sports involved. Designwerk also created a series of pictograms to represent the 7 sports consisting of athletics, swimming, gymnastics, cycling, rowing, triathlon and golf.