Here’s a thing about the Eurovision which surprises even me. The annual ‘unveiling’ of the Eurovision logo and tagline – 2013’s was announced yesterday – is a special moment.
This maybe because it’s one of the few things about the entire event which is a certainty. Unlike the songs, the logo – or ‘theme art’ as Eurovision central like to describe – is a done deal. We can’t vote on it. Even if we could, it wouldn’t make any difference. You either like it, or you don’t. And if you don’t, then it’s probably not going to make a massive impact on your enjoyment of the finished product anyway.
Really and truly, logos aren’t for the audience – not really. In the fast-cut sequences spat out at the beginning of the Eurovision shows and in between the songs we vote on, the logo occupy very little time. It can’t. There’s precious little time available.
No, logos – branding – is more for sponsors, partners and memories. Just as the dedicated fan will look back on previous visual IDs with a faint whiff of nostalgia, so the producers will hope this year’s design will help build on Sweden’s 2012 win by making Sweden’s and broadcaster SVT’s part in Eurovision 2013 memorable. Who knows, maybe in years to come followers will look back on this year with a sense of fondness.
Initial reaction amongst my small network of informants leads me to believe that I am alone in liking the distinctive design delivered by PR agency Happy Forsman & Bodenfors. The thinking behind the graphic poses more questions than it necessarily answers.
Even so, there’s a seductive sense of style about the butterfly – especially the version with a drop shadow on a white background Happy F&B are showcasing on their site. The colours aren’t brash, the lines aren’t severe. This isn’t about tits and teeth. The look isn’t especially contrived either. There’s a sense that in comparison to the crass themes of the past few years (since the ‘generic’ branding was introduced in 2004), there’s a hint that this years contest will feel a good deal different – almost a throwback to the years when each contest had an entirely different individual visual identity.
More than all of this, the logo – in its composite version – lessens the impact of the now outdated ‘Eurovision’ font. That which was originally introduced as a visual cue to inclusivity, now looks a little childish. Personally, I hope it will eventually be phased out as it could be a deft way of reenergising the whole shebang. That said, I imagine there will be some in Eurovision Central who’ll fear the sponsorship implications if there’s no fixed branding year to year.
Most striking is the tagline – We Are One (below).
I still can’t quite understand exactly why something like the Eurovision apes the Olympics and looks for a slogan each year. If there’s little time for the logo to be seen prominently on screen, one wonders what the ROI is on a tagline.
Not only that, what is the tagline actually saying? Who is the “We” it refers to? The army of Eurovision fans (to the inclusion of the mainstream audience)? Or is it the swathes of gay men who the mainstream audience assume go wild for the competition each year? In trying to be inclusive, does the tagline inadvertently point to an exclusive audience. Does it risk ghettoising that exclusive audience? Or will it be seen in the spirit it is presumably intended: communicating a simple message to an impressionable audience that despite economic crisis, Europe remains united?