Have you been watching the Olympic Games? As you may remember (from here), I am obsessed with the Olympics and, consequently, have been glued to the events for the past several days. I think our neighbors think I am crazy with all the chanting U-S-A going on in our apartment, ha!

Anyway, I realized that I have yet to share my thoughts on the Olympic graphic identity for the Sochi Games. Have you seen the designs? The overall style is based on a traditional Russian patchwork pattern that has been faceted and digitized and reprinted in a bright rainbow of colors (ironic, no?). Not surprisingly, I love the color palette and the idea of the quilt patterning, but I think the execution is pretty busy. The individual patches in the quilt are made of patterns that contrast a bit too much, are a bit too loud, but that's just my humble opinion. What do you think?

With that in mind, I think it looks better in smaller doses. The commemorative stamps and hockey pucks, for example, look much cooler; especially the stamp where they have abstracted the quilting to look like the Olympic flame. Clever! Conversely, I think the reliance on Russian nesting dolls as an informal mascot (we all know the real ones are always silly cartoon characters!*) can be a little much. After all, they have snowboarders jumping over them as obstacles! That's just silly.

Overall I think the design isn't the worst we've seen lately but shows a lack of imagination. Why does every Olympic logo have to have an silly overly stylized typeface? And what's with "Hot Cool Yours" as a slogan? It seems like a bad Russian translation and makes no sense. It's like an SNL parody! Generally I think the designers—this identity was done by Interbrand—would do well with following the K.I.S.S. rule: keep it simple, stupid! The final poster, above, is therefore my favorite. The elegant transition between the peaks of the mountains and the peaks of the waves works well as an all-over patterning behind the basic type treatment.

What do you think of the designs? Are there things you love? Parts you hate? Let me know in the comments!

p.s. I can't decide how I feel about the torch . . .  what do you think?

p.p.s. In case you think I am just a whiny design nerd, check out this gallery of previous Olympic posters (the early ones are so gorgeous, but Torino is holding up well!) and my post about it here.

*Fun fact: did you know that the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles—home of Hollywood—were the first to feature a mascot like that? But at least Sam the Eagle was cute!

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