Bonus Content: Expo '70 – Logo selection process
The process of finding the 1970 World Expo logo.
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In 1965 the committee of the Japan World Exposition Association began its work on selecting the theme for the Osaka Expo. Following a series of meetings, the theme of "Progress and Harmony of Mankind” was chosen. A competition was set-up to generate designs for the official symbol. 15 individual practitioners and 2 studios were invited to submit work. These included renowned designers Yusaku Kamekura, Ikko Tanaka, Kazumasa Nagai, Isao Nishijima, Shigeo Fukuda and Tadashi Ohashi.
Out of 48 entries, 16 were selected in the first round, 5 were selected in the second round and finally 1 in the third round. This was designed by Isao Nishijima. However, chairman of the Expo Association Taizo Ishizaka rejected the proposal, dismissing it as “too conceptual, difficult for a general audience to grasp”.
The Expo Association asked the designers to submit further work again where Chairman Ishizaka and three vice-chairmen joined the judging committee. In April 1966, the now instantly recognisable form of the Expo cherry blossom logo, by local Osaka-based designer Takeshi Otaka was selected. Writing in Issue 85 of “Design” “ Chairman Masaru Katzumie described the logo as very “Oska-like, delicious and cheerful, and has the symbolism suitable for the mark of the World Expo”
On the logo itself, the central motif was that of Sakura, or cherry blossom, the national flower of Japan, a motif that could be recognised by an international audience. Its five petals were attributed the value of the five continents, interlinked by their circular arrangement, participating in the Japan World Expo. The circle at its centre, represented Japan with the surrounding space being a place in which ideas flourished between collaborative partners.
Although designed by Takeshi Otaka, much of its power came from the work of Yūsaku Kamekura who designed the international poster. Although Kamekura did submit a logo to the competition, he is oftenly wrong attributed as the designer of the cherry blossom logo.
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