The Japanese designer who created the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic logos has hit out at claims he plagiarised the design, saying there is “absolutely no truth” to the suggestions.
Kenjiro Sano, founder of consultancy MR_DESIGN, held a news conference in Tokyo this week to address claims made by Belgian designer Olivier Debie that the Tokyo logo is too similar to an identity he created for Theatre de Liege in 2011.
Debie had apparently sent a letter to the Tokyo Olympic organisers demanding a response to his allegations.
— Olivier Debie (@OliDebie) July 28, 2015
According to Reuters, Sano strenuously denied the claims, saying: “Of course I didn’t take that [logo] as an example, there is absolutely nothing to that talk.”
He told the press conference: “I take a lot of time with every design, nurturing them like children. So for this kind of talk to emerge is really unfortunate and kind of sad.
“If you’re creative, you never start from zero and are influenced by a lot of things just through daily life. But it’s also a point of pride that as somebody creative, you would never plagiarise.”
In a statement, the Games organisers say: “In developing the emblems, Tokyo 2020 went through a regular verification procedure and chose the logo after a long, comprehensive and transparent process.
“Prior to the announcement of the emblem, the IOC and Tokyo 2020 conducted extensive research on trademark protections internationally. We did not identify any particular issues through the thorough process and then became confident about releasing the emblem.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic identities were revealed on 24 July and are both made of elements that represent “the power of unity”, according to the Games’ Organising Committee.
Both are made up of four elements – a black column, a red circle and gold and silver curves. The identities are based on the use of negative space and are designed as the reverse of each other.
The organisers say the “T” shape of the Olympic logo stands for Tokyo, Tomorrow and Team, while the Paralympic logo is inspired by = the universal sign of equality.