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Tokyo 2020 Olympics open up logo design after plagiarism fiasco

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After ditching its previous identity because of a heavily publicised plagiarism row, the organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have launched a public competition to design a new logo, which isn't just open to the nation of Japan, but (quite interestingly) is technically open to literally anyone from anywhere in the world (if certain criteria are met)! The designer of the winning entry will receive a cash prize of around £5,500, as well as tickets to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Olympics 2020 President Yosihro Mori (left) and CEO Toshiro Muto (right)

The original Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic logos, created by Japanese designer Kenjiro Sano, were unveiled back in July, only to be ditched unceremoniously a few weeks later when Belgian designer Olivier Debie, quite rightly claimed that the design was too similar to an identity he created for the Theatre de Liege in 2011. The likeness is immediately obvious, and whilst it's entirely possible that the similarity could be purely coincidental, it's also pretty unlikely. Announcing the decision to drop the design last month, Toshiro Muto, director general of the Tokyo organising committee, said: “The decision to make a fresh start in creating a new logo seems to be the most appropriate.”

The organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have launched a public competition to design a new logo after the controversy surrounding the original design's plagiarism

Olympic organisers are taking a drastically different approach for their second shot at Olympic design glory by looking for new designs through a competition that is open to everyone regardless of previous experience or formal qualifications. The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is resident in Japan, while non-residents and children can still submit designs as part of a group entry as long as one person in the group meets the age and residence criteria.

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The now infamous original design and the design it allegedly plagiarised

Organisers say they are looking for identity designs that “Symbolise the fact that the 2020 Games are being held in Tokyo and Japan, and elicit empathy with people across the world,” and would “Like all applicants to give full rein to their imagination and creativity.” They also ask that the designs feature at least one of the key concepts, which include “The power of sport,” “World peace,” “Exerting the utmost efforts and striving to achieve a personal best,” “Inclusivity,” Innovation” and “Regeneration.” Pretty vague then, so if you're thinking of entering, you have a surprising amount of leeway to work with.

The Tokyo committee will launch a website on 24 November through which designs can be submitted, with the deadline for applications set for 7 December

The entries will be assessed by the Tokyo 2020 emblems selection committee, which was set up last month and comprises designers, broadcasters, athletes and lawyers. It will then be sent to the Tokyo 2020 executive board for approval. The Tokyo committee will launch a website on 24 November through which designs can be submitted. The deadline for applications will be 7 December and the winning entry will be announced next spring.

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium

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