Monday, 4 June 2007

London 2012 Olympics branding

For anyone who has already seen the London 2012 Olympics logo my sympathies are with you.

To my surprise it was created by Wolff Olins. I'm not one to openly criticize other designers work as there are always pressures and direction from clients and, quite often, reasoning behind things a lot of people miss but I have to say this is far from my favourite logo creation. He is responsible for some great branding exercises spanning over 40 years and is considered a legend in the design community. That is the reason I was so surprised when I discovered he created it.

I understand that you need to appeal to the younger audience with the logo but you also need to appeal to a very general demographic as well - not to mention potential high status sponsors.

'It will become London 2012’s visual icon, instantly recognisable amongst all age groups, all around the world. It will establish the character and identity of the London 2012 Games and what the Games will symbolise nationally and internationally.'

In a way I suppose it is definitely easily recognisable. Maybe it will be like the new Adobe CS3 icons. At first you think 'what the hell are they?' and then as time goes on and you see them in use alongside the now weak looking Microsoft Office 2007 icons in your quicklaunch bar you start to love it.

It was described by AnotherWestie (BBC 606 user) as looking like:

...a logo designed for young people by old people who don't understand young people.

There seems to be quite a large online backlash against this logo. There is even a petition to get rid of it here which, at the last count, had 19267 votes. There is also a petition to support the new logo here which, at the last count, had 1 vote. As mentioned on Design Week [06/06/07] there has been a large amount of camaraderie amongst designers who feel that the task is a big one to live up to. The logo had to be 'dynamic, modern, flexible, distinct, different and inspiring' whilst being '...inclusive, and avoid using images of sport or London in order to to increase its appeal to non-sports fans and those outside the city'. Like any major project it is hard to see what goes on behind the scenes and the influence from the clients (of which there are often several as part of a committee) so please don't see this post as an assault on Wolff Olins and the work they create - as mentioned before they have done some great work.

Personally I just preferred the old logo but, then again, how many times has the swooshing, interweaving coloured lines been used now? It is certainly not an easy job.

Maybe, as mentioned on the BBC Sports Editors Blog this is just all a big media campaign and they have released this logo only to retract it in favour of one submitted by the public through their website. The London 2012 website is asking for people to download their templates and create a design which sums up the 2012 Olympics. This is a great idea and gets people to air their creative side (whether naturally artistic or not). I have submitted one which uses their template and incorporates the old London 2012 logo (see below). It is supposed to sum up the carnival atmosphere that comes with the Olympic Games and, bearing in mind this only took 15 mins on my lunch break, it is far from a great design and I'm sure the Olympic Game Committee would rip it to shreds.

Let me know what you think. I am quite interested to see the general reaction to the new official logo and how you think Wolff Olins should react to this outcry - it certainly isn't a nice situation to be in but definitely highlights the power of online speech in todays society.


thedesignking said...

Its not even that legible as saying 2012. The bottom half looks like an R. Don't think you'll get many 'Love it' votes.

Rob Goodlatte said...

I can't say I'm a huge fan of the new identity, but at the very least it's distinctive. I don't really like the old one very much either. I'd rather see something that really represents *London* to the rest of the world - and neither logo really does that.

Now, the Chicago 2016 logo is awesome:

I hear a rumor that the Chicago logo is going to be changed though :(