A young Polish designer has won the logo design competition for the EU's 50 year anniversary celebrations, with colourful letters in the emblem symbolising that EU countries are "together" despite all their differences.
The logo, unveiled by EU communication commissioner Margot Wallstrom and European Parliament vice-president Alejo Vidal-Quadras on Tuesday (17 October), will be used for pan-European festivities next year which will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1957 Treaty of Rome.
The winning design was designed by Szymon Skrzypczak, a 23 year old Pole studying at the Polish Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, and shows the word "together" in letters of different fonts and colours, to be translated into the languages of each member state.
The young Pole explained to EUobserver that the broad range of fonts and colours depicts the union's cultural diversity, while the word "together" speaks for itself.
"There are a lot of different countries in the EU - but from these differences, we can still coexist in harmony," he said.
"The main idea of the EU for me is that countries are together, work together and discuss together...I've just tried to symbolise that."
He added that he was "shocked" to win the contest which saw 1,701 entries from young designers across the union.
The jury, consisting of Ms Wallstrom and Mr Vidal-Quadras as well as officials from other EU institutions, hailed the winning logo for being not only eye-catching, but also conveying a special message.
SLOGO. Ms Wallstrom characterised the design as a "slogo" - a logo and a slogan at the same time - with the full text of the Polish design reading "together since 1957."
"This will have the effect that people will ask: what happened in 1957?" Mr Vidal-Quadras noted admitting that most people do not know that the Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community - the EU's predecessor.
Mr Vidal-Quadras specified that the logo, which currently has accents and umlauts, will be adapted so it will have the "correct orthography" in every language - meaning the accents will also be removed from the English version.
Last week an expert panel of 11 art and design experts selected the 10 nominees, who were invited to Tuesday's Brussels ceremony with the second and third prizes going to Rosbo Tore from Denmark and Jenny Lundgren from Sweden.
The ultimate popularity of the winning logo with citizens will depend on how much member states make use of it in their own activities to celebrate the EU's 50th birthday, with national governments being merely "invited" to use the emblem.
Member states last week ditched plans to hold big joint celebrations, instead agreeing to two, more modest, plans - the appointment of citizens' ambassadors explaining the relevance of the EU as well as a series of activities for school children and youngsters.
These two limited activities will be mostly organised by the commission and parliament representations in the member states, with individual countries set to go ahead with their own parties such as cake-baking (Germany) and tree planting (Estonia).