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2015 Pan Am Games are Kickin’

In Canada on October 28, 2010 at 11:14

Opinion BY Armin

2015 Pan Am Games are Kickin’

Pan American Games Logo, Before and After

The Pan American Games are the America continents version of the Olympics, with 42 countries competing in over forty sports. They are held every four years and take place the year prior to the Summer Olympics. The upcoming Games are to take place in Guadalajara, Mexico — as a native Mexican I apologize, dear world, for the amazingly bad logo for those Games. In 2015, the Pan American Games go north to Toronto, Canada. At the end of September the host city unveiled its identity created by the collaboration of Endeavour Marketing and Trajectory, who beat out nineteen other proposals.

Nineteen agencies hit the starting line in April with submissions for the upcoming sporting event’s visual identity, but by the final turn only three submissions made the shortlist: Endeavour/Trajectory, BBDO Canada and Interbrand.
Trajectory News

Pan American Games

For reference: Toronto’s bid logo.

The visual expression of our Games is deeply rooted in Pan American histories, cultures and community traditions as well as the timeless joy of sport. Our identity is inspired by pre-Columbian aboriginal art forms found throughout the Pan Americas including the Mesoamericans who, as early as 1600 BC, used rubber balls in sport and as symbols of the cycle of life. Toronto’s name likely comes from the Iroquois word “tkaronto”, meaning “place where trees stand in the water.” The shapes also reflect the city’s local moniker: “T.O.”
Viva Panam! brochure

Pan American Games

Source of inspiration as shown on the Games’ brochure. Sorry for the small size.

Pan American Games

Pan American Games

Paralympics logo.

Brief logo animation at 0:12.

On first impression, the new logo has the ability to deceive as being good and fun. There is a certain energy to it. But once you to stop to look at what’s going on, it’s a bit of a jumbled mess. The “2015” numbers on their own are kind of interesting, but when placed within the “T” and “O” they lose their impact. Speaking of the “TO,” I’m not from Toronto, but I have never heard anyone refer to that city as “TO” as the brochure claims. Even conceptually: Why focus on a person kicking a ball, when this is about forty sports, not just soccer? The type choice — Process Type Foundry’s Bryant I believe — enhances the cartoonish look to poor effect; a more serious type selection might have helped offset the goofiness of the logo. The only interesting thing about the identity is when the TO icon gets flipped to represent the Paralympic Games, and the O becomes an abstraction of a wheel chair. And the applications are lively and colorful, so there is that.

And, again, apologies for the Doritos-shaped 2011 logo.

Pan American Games

Viva Panam! brochure cover.

Pan American Games

Rendering of logo application.

Thanks to Daniel Safran for first tip.

Voting Begins

Voting Ends Entry Information

DATE: Oct.18.2010|POSTED BY: Armin|CATEGORY: Sports| COMMENTS: 67



Comments › Jump to Most Recent
John McCollum’s comment is:

Oh, I don’t know. I think I like this brand. It’s energetic and it’s ownable. I love the typeface.

All this having been said, I’ve never followed the PanAm games, so I can’t comment on the degree to which the identity evokes the spirit of the event. From what I’ve seen here, I’d imagine it as the Olympics’ younger, less stuffy sibling.

On Oct.18.2010 at 06:56 AM


Kevin Powell’s comment is:

Just to clear some things up, I hear Toronto referred to as TO on a regular basis. I’m not really sure where it comes from, but it has entered the vernacular within Canada at least (I’m in Montreal). I’m not so sure about this on an international stage though (seeing as Armin never heard of this), and considering Toronto is at least somewhat well known on the international scene as Toronto and not TO, I do find it odd.

As far as the actual subject matter goes here, I find it an awkward mess of a logo, which hopefully they build around in the right way, as I think it has potential for an overall branding effort, even if the logo itself is a bit much.

On Oct.18.2010 at 07:05 AM


Tom’s comment is:

FYI, as a resident of the Greater Toronto Area I can confirm TO is a common short form for Toronto, at least among residents. I suspect Toronto tourism folks would like to popularize this, hence it’s inclusion here.

On Oct.18.2010 at 07:09 AM


The Greater Good’s comment is:

“jumbled mess”

I couldn’t agree more.


On Oct.18.2010 at 07:18 AM


prigix’s comment is:

IMO it looks too… random, kind of like a doodle. But maybe it’s just me

On Oct.18.2010 at 07:54 AM


allison’s comment is:

I’m sorry but I just can’t like this. I don’t really know what amoeba people have to do with the Olympics.

On Oct.18.2010 at 07:55 AM


Fabio Barbosa’s comment is:

Maybe it’s just me, but I only noticed the ParaPanAm logo was supposed to resemble a wheel chair after I read Armin saying it.

Not good.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:05 AM


Hoyt Haffelder’s comment is:

It is clear this identity and the London games were created through a labored committee process. I have high expectations, and unrealistically high hopes, for the Olympic game identities. For an event that unites the world for a few days, we deserve better.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:15 AM


Artur’s comment is:

I look at this logo and its applications and the only word that comes to my mind is:


Sorry Pan Am.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:17 AM


Dammacx’s comment is:

Yes, as a T.O. Resident I can say I really don’t like this logo at all. Toronto has a big design community and I can’t believe this is the best we could come up with. Ours actually makes the Mexico logo look really good. I think this must have been one of those cases where someone had a friend or family member that worked at the agency.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:21 AM


Joseph Alessio’s comment is:

I hate to say it, but the logo is pretty weak. In general, the cartoonish look for anything active is much overused, and I think that the Olympic and PanAm logos should change course a little, not to mention the thousands of activewear brands, exercise programs, gyms etc.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:22 AM


Rafe’s comment is:

I don’t understand it. Why would you reverse the date out of the mark and then also state again? It really is not well designed.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:22 AM


Eric’s comment is:

It’s not bad. The applications could be fun.

Do all of these logos need to include an abstract athlete with a blob for a head? It’s like Guadalajara kicked the head of their logo to Toronto.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:24 AM


Marnie’s comment is:

Well, the logo is hideous, but I can confirm that folks in Canada do call Toronto TO. Interestingly, that logo could also look like a T and a dot, which (Tdot) is another slang shorthand for Toronto.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:49 AM


Lee Dale’s comment is:

“Ours actually makes the Mexico logo look really good.” Well, no. At the very least, they’re both suffering from woefully uninspired type. And I certainly appreciate Toronto’s more playful symbol, particularly for the nod to local culture with the prominent TO. 

You can see some of the more literal sport treatments here (not a good thing):

Overall, this carries forward Toronto’s longstanding standard of design mediocrity. Have you seen the city of Toronto’s 2005 rebranding effort? (Also an homage to TO, btw.) Sure is something.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:56 AM


Gunter Soydanbay’s comment is:

I respectfully disagree with the comments above. I am not remotely related to the development of this logo. But I am from Toronto. And I felt I must share my insights with you.

The way I see it, this logo is full of meanings and I believe people of Toronto will appreciate it over time. To me, this logo works at multiple levels because:

1) At the visceral level, this is a playful and colourful logo. Colurfulness represents two things: the desired Toronto of 2015: less gray, more colourful. Also, the multi-ethnic nature of Toronto. There are more than 200 ethnic groups living in Toronto. On the other hand, playfulness is a metaphorical way of demonstrating the rise of Toronto as a global hub. Toronto is an up-and-coming city where creative class lives, works and plays. For more, you should read Richard Florida’s book: Who is your city? (PS: He is American)

2)The ball-chasing figure is not about soccer. It is actually the first Pan American sport in record: So that pays respect to the history of sports in Americas. The way it looks like soccer works too. Because soccer happens to be the most popular sport all over Americas. Considering this logo will appear in the Tourism Offices of all countries, I can see how relevant the shape is.

3) The ParaPanAmerican Olympics logo is smart. Remember the discussion about the logo of the Hub a couple of days ago. This logo has legs and it shows how it works at multiple platforms.

4) Finally T.O. is how Toronto is called. Also T.DOT is commonly used. The reason is simple, T-O and T-DOT both have 2 syllables. To-ron-to has three. Cognitively human brain prefers 2 syllables to 3 syllables. That’s why many of us have 2-syllabled names and why great brands have 2-syllabled names: Apple, Google etc… More on this topic here

I am curious to hear your thoughts.

On Oct.18.2010 at 09:15 AM


jen’s comment is:

The brochure cover is interesting – still a mad jumble but this time has some obvious layering and works a lot better than the logo.

The logo shapes are just awkward, off balance, and not pleasing to the eye. They don’t relate well to each other, and the solid flood of color is a big snooze. I don’t think everything has to have a high level of visual sophistication, but I want this to go farther. Is it a cutout? A blobby ink splotch? I feel like the logo doesn’t know what it wants to be. I can appreciate the nod to playfulness, but it still needs to have a sharpness to it.

I guess that’s Toronto-Ontario for the TO, huh?

On Oct.18.2010 at 09:18 AM


jarhead’s comment is:

T.O. is a local colloquialism for Toronto, Ontario. Outside of Toronto, I’m not sure anyone would know this (same as not knowing Toronto has been locally known as T-Dot, Hogtown, Muddy York, The Big Smoke and Hollywood North, among others). The brochure may as well also reference the fact that locals call it T’ronno.

As for the logo, two words: Freakin’ mess.

As with all of these submissions, design is subjective to personal taste. Too bad this logo has no taste and doesn’t represent Toronto in any way.

That said, for some reason, I don’t mind the cover of the brochure. I don’t outright like it… but it’s not TOTALLY unfortunate.

On Oct.18.2010 at 09:19 AM


Veronica’s comment is:

We do refer to Toronto as TO, quite often in fact 🙂
In any case, I can’t stand this logo

On Oct.18.2010 at 09:21 AM


Pierre’s comment is:

Do not want.

On Oct.18.2010 at 09:23 AM


Thomas Mansell’s comment is:

Not a fan of the logo either but I can confirm that we go refer to Toronto as TO quite regularly in Canada. It’s used quite a bit on the news as well.

On Oct.18.2010 at 09:39 AM


Carlson’s comment is:

Terrell Owens plays soccer?

If I’m supposed to read this as the letters ‘T-O,’ then I’m also reading the red head as an ‘o’ (oto), or as the dot of an ‘i’ (ito),

On Oct.18.2010 at 10:24 AM


Roby Fitzhenry’s comment is:

Finally .. I can get my nephew to draw logos and sell them for big bucks.

On Oct.18.2010 at 10:27 AM


Designer’s comment is:

I don’t mind it. Really like the typeface, I think it works here.

On Oct.18.2010 at 10:31 AM


jonathan’s comment is:

The shapes, the numbers… it looks like amateur hour guys. And the application on the building, oh man, you guys should just be embarrassed. Look, TO=Toronto, that’s great, cool concept. I see it. Now execute it professionally.

On Oct.18.2010 at 10:39 AM


Woot Design’s comment is:

I like the type on its own. I like the cartoon-y icon on its own. I don’t like the two of them together in that arrangement though – they just don’t gel IMO; a bad combo of crisp & clean mixed with casual.

To get all metaphorical about it; it’s like they were going for the suit with sneakers look (which works), but ended up with a tracksuit and pointy shoes look (which doesn’t work).

The icon and coloured blobs look alright on the building though, but the type on the bottom left wall area looks like it has been left over from a previous separate promotion rather than gelling with the icon.

On Oct.18.2010 at 10:41 AM


harry’s comment is:

oh dear oh dear. more blobs and bad type. what’s happening out there – who is responsible for this stuff – the designers or their clients?

On Oct.18.2010 at 10:54 AM


Andrew Wood’s comment is:

At least it’s not dookie brown!

On Oct.18.2010 at 11:25 AM


Adam Bestwick’s comment is:

at Gunter Soydanbay…
finally someone with a sensible observation. I couldn’t agree more.

I wasn’t sure when I first saw the dismembered figure what to make of it, but having seen the historical reference for the pre-Columbian aboriginal art, I think it’s a brave interpretation (in a London 2012 way)… and look what a stir that caused.

Viva Panam brochure cover works well with the brand taking a subliminal back-seat.
It’s lively and colourful and shows flexibility of the brand application.
I personally missed the TO reference not being aware of Toronto’s ‘short-hand’ but if that works for the locals on that level – then great.

On Oct.18.2010 at 11:45 AM


Cody Rasmussen’s comment is:


On Oct.18.2010 at 11:47 AM


Autocratic’s comment is:


On Oct.18.2010 at 11:48 AM


Autocratic’s comment is:


On Oct.18.2010 at 11:50 AM


Alex Parisi’s comment is:

This needs a maple leaf for heaven’s sake!!

On Oct.18.2010 at 11:53 AM


Gunter Soydanbay’s comment is:

at Adam Bestwick

Thanks Adam. As per your last point, as a Torontonian the TO reference resonates with me. As I tried to explain before, the logo has layers of meanings, which I find exciting. I understand why people are not liking it at visceral level. But, at behavioral and reflective level, I think this logo is pretty good. Colours, playfulness, shape and the dual reference to soccer and history of sports is going to be really attractive to Latin American countries. At least that’s what I think…

On Oct.18.2010 at 12:08 PM


Rod Salm’s comment is:

TO = Toronto Ontario, logo gets an unenthusiastic rating of “meh”.

Rod Salm

On Oct.18.2010 at 12:14 PM


Nicole’s comment is:

I understand why everyone else hates it, but I like it. It’s friendly.

On Oct.18.2010 at 12:20 PM


Andrea’s comment is:

Wow. I can’t believe most people hate this. I LOVE it. What fun! When you get the opportunity to design something for an event, it’s great to break out of the corporate box. And because it’s a one-time-deal sort of thing, designers have a chance to be brave.

love love love. Nice job!

On Oct.18.2010 at 12:23 PM


Jo’s comment is:

I’m from Toronto and we refer to the city as TO more than we do as Toronto. It’s also referred to as the T-Dot as the TO is actually T.O., as in Toronto, Ontario. As for the logo, the symbol is workable, not really original or well-executed but it’s memorable and that might be enough. The wordmark is horrendous however. The lowercase Pan Am looks like it’s written in Comic Sans upon first glance. And even after staring at it for a long time, it still kinds of looks like it. Cartoonish indeed!

On Oct.18.2010 at 12:39 PM


rek’s comment is:

“T.O.” is definitely our nickname for our city, and frankly we don’t need the rest of the world’s permission to use it here.

I’m not a fan of rounded typefaces like this, but the logomark and symbol set are fun and playful.

On Oct.18.2010 at 01:08 PM


payday loans online’s comment is:

Lively and colorful and shows the trade mark application flexibility. Personally, I missed two of reference is not aware of Toronto short hand, but if it works for the local population at this level – so great.

On Oct.18.2010 at 01:09 PM


katrina’s comment is:

I like the cute playful style but the para logo looks like the person is running away from the ball, lol. Definitely not a good message.

On Oct.18.2010 at 01:19 PM


Michael Johnson’s comment is:

I’m surprised at this analysis.

In a post-“2012 London Olympic identity” era, I’m a bit surprised that their organic and (comparatively) restrained “multi-component” logo isn’t interpreted as a refinement in the same category.

Overall, I think this is a good identity system, with a lot of unique possibilities for applications. Much better than the “jumbled mess” suggested.

On Oct.18.2010 at 01:47 PM


Dave’s comment is:

I like it.

I live in Toronto and people do call it “TO”.

Also it’s great to finally see a logo for anything Canadian that has decided to not use the ubiquitous and overused maple leaf. A+ just for that.

On Oct.18.2010 at 02:24 PM


Rob’s comment is:

Yes, we do call it TO here in Toronto, which stands for Toronto,Ontario.

On Oct.18.2010 at 02:43 PM


Gunter Soydanbay’s comment is:

at Dave,

I could not agree more.

On Oct.18.2010 at 02:50 PM


aaron’s comment is:

Looks like a little kid was spitting up his food. The only reason I like this better then the previous logo is because the font is on it’s way to being decent. This looks like a kid’s playcenter identity.

And I know it’s been covered a lot already but Toronto is referred to as TO all the time. It’s quicker to say then “cherano” (which is how most people pronounce it.)

On Oct.18.2010 at 03:56 PM


ruggomatic’s comment is:

Hmm, another collection of abstract blobs for a games identities.

I don’t mind the whole system as a whole, but it really is unfortunate that these jobs have to filter through a committee of people who think that anything even vaguely expressive will exclude someone. If every games identity is made of brightly coloured blobs they become so generic they look like an evolution of the previous one.

On Oct.18.2010 at 04:01 PM


David’s comment is:

Not a fan. I like the bid logo much, much better. It isn’t revolutionary, but it is much more clean and focused in its purpose, and a heck of a lot more visually appealing.

On Oct.18.2010 at 05:04 PM


Rich’s comment is:

The problem with design like this is that it taints all work that doesn’t look expected. This, I have to say, is poorly crafted and will likely not be very successful. Because of that, less educated design buyers will be that much more likely to condemn/not buy unexpected or boundary pushing design, regardless of it’s execution.

Thanks Endeavour and/or Trajectory!

On Oct.18.2010 at 05:35 PM


Adrian’s comment is:

To clarify, the “TO” is pronounced “tea oh.” This might have lead some to wonder about alternative pronounciations. And yes, it’s a Canadian-wide vernacular meaning Toronto. (Not even my Seattle-based relatives and friends have heard of it.)

To the logo: looks like a lava lamp blob. Ugh. If a logo is supposed to represent or convey anything about the underlying event (sports), you’d think it would convey motion, action and athletic something or other. None of this is represented.

On Oct.18.2010 at 06:05 PM


durka’s comment is:

This is like a steaming pile of dog shit. ‘Nuff said.

On Oct.18.2010 at 07:16 PM


b’s comment is:

being that i am from toronto, i can say this represents our city wonderfully.

sloppy, wobbly and dreadful.

On Oct.18.2010 at 07:45 PM


Dan’s comment is:

If the Guadalajara logo were for latin dancing I’d actually prefer it (ignoring that shemozzle of a type treatment).

Sorry, but these logos are terrible examples of design by committee.

On Oct.18.2010 at 07:50 PM


Tez’s comment is:

Looks like the final logo got the snot beaten out of it by the other logos. The only thing I do like is the Bright colour scheme and the typeface. Beyond that its all downhill I’m afraid.

On Oct.18.2010 at 08:46 PM


Jaywall’s comment is:

As a Torontonian, I can also confirm that we often refer to our city as “TO” or “T-dot.”

The logo is strong conceptually but unfortunately leaves a lot of refinement to be desired.

On Oct.18.2010 at 11:26 PM


ry@n’s comment is:

No matter what you think of this logo it is a vast improvement over the original mess.

On Oct.19.2010 at 12:28 AM


Peter Rogers’s comment is:

Like many others, I can confirm that calling Toronto, T.O. is pretty common nationwide (Toronto, Ontario = T.O. not such a big leap to understand).

I personally can’t think of many athletic games that even had a decent identity. Calgary’s winter games had a nice thing where fragments of the Olympic rings created a snowflake and a maple leaf. Barcelona’s Olympic identity was pretty good (even seemingly influencing their tourism logo). Yet because these events are organized by massive bureaucratic cross-coalition multi-party committee, these types of athletic competitions are terrible. It’s probably even worse that by the time the games roll around, everyone will be so sick of the logo that they have no affection for any of the collateral it’s used on. Placing the numbers within the TO characters was a real mistake.

On Oct.19.2010 at 08:53 AM


jose Antonio’s comment is:

whats with canada and all of the sports events

On Oct.20.2010 at 01:25 AM


Rodrok’s comment is:

I think the color combination is not solid and cohesive at all. I dont find the logo very appealing. And I think the icon doesn’t reflect the essence of Toronto.

The line art use of the logo on the print materials and the environmental graphics are really well executed and make the logo look much more interesting, but the logo by its own, I think is quite weak and unappealing.

@Daniel Safran: I agree I’m also a Mexican born and raised and not quite proud of the outcome of this logo. The icon its fine, but the papyrus-like font in lowercase makes the logo very weak.

On Oct.20.2010 at 09:30 AM


Johanne Fanti’s comment is:

No clue how you wrote this would perhaps take me days. Well worth it though, I’d suppose. Have you considered selling advertising space on your site?

On Oct.20.2010 at 11:56 AM


sky hd’s comment is:

I agree, it would be good to get more information on this though.

On Oct.21.2010 at 12:52 PM


Ahmed the Dog Training Collars Advisor’s comment is:

Very a smartly written article and reader comments here. I should point out that other sites have proposed a different case, particularly in regards to dog training. Has anyone here seen additional related ideas on the Internet, and would you let me know where?

On Oct.22.2010 at 09:43 AM


Peter’s comment is:

As everyone has already pointed out, TO and TDot are pretty common nicknames for Toronto. Just last week we were in Florida and got an enthusiastic “the TDot!” when someone we were talking with found out where we were from. He as from Louisiana.

On Oct.23.2010 at 11:13 AM


A.Louis’s comment is:

I don´t know why always make this kinda logos “Too Naif”, the goverments, the ONGs, the Olympics…. what do you people think we are?…… kids? , please make some different !!!

On Oct.24.2010 at 12:00 AM


Angel’s comment is:

Guadalajara’s logo is so embarrassing…

On Oct.24.2010 at 02:24 AM


Cate Roberts’s comment is:

Skip Hop Studio Diaper Tote Bag is awesome.So quite a few wallets – as well as not really these little, worthless pockets, either. Almost all of the pockets tend to be a excellent size and actually assist keep everything organized. The handles are a good length and fit nicely over the actual shoulder; the handle shoulder straps also remain put on my shoulder, which is actually important as soon as you’re carrying a child. The tote looks good, too. Not too fancy, but not too casual. (I have it in black) The material is soft (can’t believe of a far better word) so it is straightforward to squeeze in to tight spaces – but yet it is sturdy. I have a Fleurville Lexi carry and I adore it, too, but that bag is kind of rigid. I assume that Skip*Hop will become my everyday tote. It is a bit substantial – so if you’re not really in to huge bags this might be greater as an over-night diaper bag.

On Oct.25.2010 at 04:25 AM


John Franco’s comment is:

I almost through up when seeing this logo for the first time. This is amateurish attempt veiled under the pretentious interpretation of great aboriginal art.

By the way the only positive comment came from a ex employee of Trajectory Co. You know birds of a feather…

On Oct.27.2010 at 09:22 AM


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