The shortlist for the Tokyo 2020 logo was revealed on Friday ©Tokyo 2020

An open competition to select replacement logos for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo has faced renewed criticism after the shortlisted finalists were revealed.

Organisers in the Japanese capital unveiled four different options on Friday (April 8), with each featuring two logos for the Games in four years' time - one for the Olympics and one for the Paralympics.

New emblems are needed after the initial selections - designed by Kenjiro Sano - were axed due to a plagiarism row and the threat of legal proceedings.

Nearly 15,000 entries were received in the open contest to pick the replacement - in contrast to first time around when only those who had won a specific design award were allowed to take part.

Allowing the public to get involved was seen as a way of spreading the Olympics across Japan, but others argued that this would impact negatively on the quality of the eventually selected designs.

In December, the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), urged Tokyo to scrap the open contest and said that a "remarkable" design could only be the result of a professional designer working directly with their client.

AIGA also claimed that the contest "disrespected" the design profession by encouraging a free-for-all. 

It is not yet known who designed the four options left in contention, but designers have told The Japan Times that they are less than impressed with those in the frame. 

"Public submission seems more fair than a designer or agency picked by an elite, but the overall result will probably lack quality,” said Benjamin Thomas of Tokyo-based Bento Graphics, who said the logos on the shortlist fail to “immediately visually explain their concept".

Kenjiro Sano's designs were axed, leading to the open competition
Kenjiro Sano's designs were axed, leading to the open competition ©Getty Images

Another Tokyo-based designer, Ian Lynam of Ian Lynam Design, said the logos were “unprofessional in terms of structure, form and execution" and were more akin to "cartoons or caricatures".

Designer Keiko Hirano said: "We must not fail to recognise that once again, the renewed competition will not be a reflection of the consensus of the Japanese people."

Art director and the chairman of Japan Graphic Designers Association, Katsumi Asaba, told Sports Hochi said he preferred Sano's effort as the new contenders were of a "really low level of design".

Tokyo 2020 are now asking for feedback from the public on the designs, which can be given using an online form here

A final decision is then expected to be made on April 25, with organisers hoping this will bring to an end an embarrassing episode in the run-up to 2020.

Sano's design was withdrawn after Belgian Olivier Debie claimed that it resembled his Théâtre de Liège logo too closely.

Lawsuits against Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee were eventually dropped.

Tokyo has defended its open competition amid the criticism, with an Emblems Selection Committee - featuring people from the worlds of design, sport and business - tasked with choosing the winning logos.

"We believe that by implementing this open design competition we have been able to actively engage a large number of people in the delivery of the Tokyo 2020 Games," said a statement.

"During the selection process, the members of the selection committee will be assisted by 20 professional designers affiliated to the Japan Graphic Designers Association and other leading design-related professional bodies.

"We will continue to work towards the selection of Games emblems that will meet with the widespread approval of the Japanese public and will be well-received internationally."