Sunday, April 24, 2005

Behold The Logo For the Vancouver 2010 Olympics


Illanaak the Inukshuk, logo for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
Illanaak the Inukshuk, official logo of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics
Elena Rivera MacGregor, winning designer of the logo for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

Elena Rivera MacGregor

Illanaaq, logo of 2010 Olympics, is unveiled News Staff

Illanaaq the Inukshuk was unveiled Saturday night as the logo of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Illanaaq is Inuit for "friend," while an inukshuk is a traditional stone marker used by the Inuit to guide their way across the sometimes featureless Arctic.

"It is amazing to see our logo larger than life," said Elena Rivera MacGregor Saturday night after the logo was unveiled.

Theodora Mantzaris, who also designed the logo for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, explained why the design resonated for her.

"You see I'm Greek, I was seeing it (an inukshuk) for the first time and I felt somebody welcoming me. So I thought it was a strong emblem," said the judge.

"Something that appeals to young people and you know, I think there's a bit of our personality, the Canadian personality in it, saying, 'Here: This way to the podium, this was to the finish line'," said judge Steve Mykolyn.

"After a lot of research, it was the only item that represented culture, the environment, people, Canada," Rivera MacGregor said.

The competition began last June. After reviewing 1,600 entries from across Canada, the international panel of nine judges chose the design by Vancouverite MacGregor -- who was rewarded with $25,000, two tickets to the opening ceremonies of the Games and the first two pins based on the design.

Business implications

The choosing of a logo is considered a gamble, with the outcome having a potential business impact of millions of dollars.

While the five Olympic rings are one of the most internationally recognized symbols, individual Games emblems have been around for nearly 80 years.

Wei Yew, an Edmonton graphic designer and one of the judges who chose the Vancouver logo, said one of the first recognizable emblems was created for the 1928 Winter Olympics at St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The design consisted of the Swiss and Olympic flags with a mountain in the background.

"At the time it was more of a recognition element of the Games," Yew, author of the book The Olympic Image -- The First 100 Years, told The Canadian Press.

Decades later, the commercial potential of the Games logo became evident at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when it began appearing on pins, pennants and clothing.

The logo consisted of the Olympic rings superimposed on the emblem of the Japanese national flag, representing the rising sun.

"They started to sell well and people started to collect them," said Yew.

The logo also generates profits through merchandising. Companies such as Bell Canada, Royal Bank and the Bay -- who pay to be official Games sponsors -- earn the right to use the symbol.

"For emerging subgroups within the Olympic Games, logos are extremely important for sales and manufacturing for clothes, posters, pins, you name it," said Kevin Wamsley, director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario.

With a report from CTV's Todd Battis and files from The Canadian Press


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