It takes a truly special piece of design and creativity to earn the status of ‘iconic’. But Wellington designer Colin Simon’s logo for the 1974 Commonwealth Games has more than earned that elite distinction.
Affectionately referred to as the NZZN mark, the logo transcended both the design and sporting community, gaining notoriety and adoration in popular culture since. It is the bold simplicity that makes it so very good – packing so much meaning, mana and symbolism into something so succinct.
The 1974 Commonwealth Games were held at QEII Park in Christchurch, and the New Zealand design community were asked to submit logo concepts and ideas – think back to ‘laser kiwi’, but with a bit more polish!
Colin Simon submitted his design, bending a few of the rules along the way, and won the competition with a resounding yes. Playing around with the numbers 7 and 4, Simon landed on a bold graphic icon that incorporated the year of the Games, but also the acronym ‘NZ’. The symmetrical design and use of colours mimic the Union Jack of our national flag, and then, to top it all off, the negative space creates an ‘X’ – representative of the 10thCommonwealth Games.
Competition rules specified the logo to use a palette of black, with a single accent colour. However, Simon believed his design worked much harder in the colours of our flag, and submitted his design that way. Hoping to attract the attention of the committee, he submitted on the last possible day – with a back-up colour palette to ensure he wasn’t immediately disqualified.
The result? The committee agreed with his suggestion, altered the colour palette for the whole Games, and the rest is history.
The NZZN mark is still loved by kiwis and New Zealand Team members alike. It’s timeless, iconic and has been, and always will be, worn with real pride. We’re thrilled to be re-releasing the design as part of our 2022 merchandise range, in the build-up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Exclusively available via TheNZTeamShop.com, proceeds from sales go directly to supporting the New Zealand Team as they represent us all on the world stage.
Don’t miss out on your chance to wear this iconic piece of sporting history and proudly support our Team.