Sunday, April 24, 2005

Eye of the Beholder

The Vancouver Olympic Committee has revealed their new logo for the 2010 Winter Games. It's a heavily-stylized inukshuk, a traditional signpost used by the Inuit.

Initial feedback on the logo hasn't been overwhelmingly supportive. Canadian news agencies have already been running stories on the negative reaction. A poll run by a Vancouver radio station is currently showing 83% of respondents saying they don't like it and don't think they'll grow to like it. On a forum set up to discuss Olympic matters, including logo designs, many posters feel that the logo does not represent the city or the country in the ways that it should.

A bunch of people have asked me what I think of it. I have sort of mixed feelings about it. First, I guess it's important to say again that I'm still really glad I entered. I can't say that I didn't try or that my designs would have blown this one out of the water. Second, it's also important to realize that art, especially commercial art, will always be subjective. No matter how good the designs are, choosing one is all about who's in the room and how well they can argue their point of view.

So, the good: it's simple, it's iconic, it stands out at a distance. It has a really nice meaning behind it, even if that meaning isn't immediately apparent (check out the website link for more details). It's colourful and it uses a lesser-known Canadian symbol that won't reinforce existing Canadian stereotypes like a Mountie or a beaver would. Reading some of the feedback (and this comes as no surprise, believe me), VANOC received a lot of designs that were similar, and I can't say that my designs were particularly groundbreaking or involved thinking outside of the box on a fundamental level. Maple leafs, snowflakes, and even orcas were likely to have been a familiar theme. They went a different way and set their design apart.

The bad: a lot of feedback is focusing on how childish the image is. I have to admit that was my initial reaction, too. The primary colours and comical grin remind me of something that was designed using poster paints or lego blocks. It's derivative of other Olympic logos and it has very little to say about Vancouver, the Province of BC, or Canada as a whole. Using a lesser known Canadian symbol probably made their design unique, but I have to wonder how people in other countries, who wouldn't immediately recognize it as an inukshuk, will interpret it. One of my American friends described it as a "stick-figure" and another called it a "stay-puft marshmellow man." It should speak for itself and be instantly recognizable.

But of more concern to some, and something that I was always wary of with my Haida design, is that it takes a Native symbol and strips it of its cultural meaning, and worse, turns it into a cartoon character. Inukshuks are supposed to be signposts, showing people their way home. The designers turned it into a spread-eagled, grinning, tubby little man.

Do I think my logos were better? Well, I wouldn't have submitted them if I wasn't proud of them, I'm a little close to the issue. Do I think the one they picked should have won? Absolutely, because it did win, and I have to give the designers credit for choosing something that stands out and is unmistakably a creative idea (I don't know how many inukshuks they received, but I know it had never occurred to me at any of my design stages). For good or bad, this symbol will be everywhere we look sooner than we think, on everything from T-shirts, to billboards, to coke cans, to Olympic medals. Time will tell whether it will go down in history as a benchmark in creative international design or an eyesore.

So congratulations to the winners! There'll still be plenty more competitions ahead for me, and if I learn and grow as a designer as much as I did with this one, all the better.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Dark Side of the Hill

Short reviews of the Exclaim! 13th Anniversary Cross-Canada Concert Series' Ottawa stop:

Montag: Imagine one guy, two keyboards, a violin, some windchimes, and a couple of guest vocalists. Montreal's answer to The Russian Futurists? His fast stuff was much better than his slow.

Wooden Stars: Sorry guys, I know you've been on the Ottawa scene for quite some time now. But I thought you were almost instantly forgettable.

The Organ: What an amazingly tight set. Almost CD-perfect. Too bad you all had death-scowls through most of the show, it just didn't do it for me. I guess it's the indie-rock thing to do. But I like my live acts personable-like.

Stars: Always amazing, always entertaining. They have a way of playing a show like they're playing it just for you in your living room and they're your best friends. Mix that with some incredible songs, a little bit of comedy, and voila! Perfect show every time.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Le Chateau

Off to see Stars and The Organ at Barrymore's tonight. Can't. Frickin'. Wait.

And in other news: can anyone say they're going to see The Organ without someone else making the obvious joke? Anyone? Didn't think so.

Friday, April 15, 2005

C is for Cookie

Just trying to test the limitations of my little digital camera with this shot today. Findings: it's pretty limited.

Oh yeah, and have you heard about this? "Sometimes food" my ass, a healthy Cookie Monster is sacrilege. He's supposed to be the poster-muppet for pure, unadulterated hedonism! I imagine Henson is spinning in his grave right now...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I Miss Hockey

It's supposed to be playoff season right now.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Busy Weekend, Slow Week

I really didn't get much of a chance to take any photos last week. But I have half a roll of film in my camera right now, waiting to be finished off and printed.

So in the get a self-portrait.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Wreaths in Spring

Somebody forgot to tell the maintenance staff at Tremblant to take down the Christmas decorations. I wonder if they'll still be there in June.