London 2012 Olympic Logo

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Tim Bridle's picture
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007 - 3:46pm
London 2012 Olympic Logo
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I live and work in London as a designer, and am appalled by the just revealed choice of logo design for the 2012 Olympics.

I think it is a massive error of judgement by all concerned. It does not in the least reflect any design values that belong to London, and instead looks like the Olympic organisation is breaking up/smashed

It goes without saying that this is one of the premier commisions any designer could ever want, and is a travisty to the design talent that exists in the UK (london).

Can anyone be positive about this?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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Mili Carr's picture
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Joined: 17 Jun 2005 - 1:36pm
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Obviously the logo is still not loved by everyone.

Today's Matt from the Daily Telegraph
http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/core/Matt/pMattTemplate.jhtml?xml=/news/20...

Cyrus's picture
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Joined: 3 Sep 2012 - 6:38am
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I expected the logo to look attractive and appealing but did disappointed me as well. It would have looked better if 2012 wouldn't have been mentioned. I mean everyone knows that its 2012, then why to mention it ?

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Bottom line? Worst logo ever—unless you're trying to convey that "London Bridge is falling down."

Black Sabbath: Saturday, September 29. Who knows? Maybe the bridge WILL fall down…the logo sure as hell fell flat…

Neil Caldwell's picture
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Joined: 8 Jan 2010 - 12:11am
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Back in the day I posted here in these hallowed halls as Hiroshige (i heart hiroshige the print maker) ... as I review my comments here on the London 2012 logo I see that I haven't changed my opinion. In fact I have reenforced my opinion with the my London 2012 thread.

Graphic design isn't about pleasing the masses. Sorry fans.

Paul Rand was once asked why he added stripes to the IBM logo .... he said "...it has nothing to with computers and speed." "...graphic design is to be practical and impracticable at the same time ...it's very important to consider aesthetics to consider content."

Paul Rand three part interview...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ta4ef1xBeMA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxiDNdM2-bM&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bA1LdQknbk&feature=relmfu

That's it that's all ...the London 2012 logo work flawlessly ...IMHO of course ;)

n.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Good points, Neil. And, thanks for pointing out that I am not the masses. I still think that the logo sucks, big-time…strokes for folks and all.

Endre Berentzen's picture
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Joined: 10 Jan 2007 - 3:23am
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The Lillehammer Olympics 1994 brand was actually not bad at all when it's compared to this shite!

I tend to blame the client in such cases for doing a bad job in the research & selection phase. They should have chosen a design firm who knows how to build a brand. Someone who knows about both history, culture, psychology as well as trends. Not someone who's only focus is visual and is even sucks at that.

I hope they will consider a redesign!

Endre Berentzen's picture
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Joined: 10 Jan 2007 - 3:23am
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I just went to their site and saw that they classify themselves as brand experts! It just proves my theory that good design dies in a commitee. Too many people have a say and it ends up as a lump made of constant compromises. My advice to them is once the workshops and identity specification process is done the strategists should back off and let the designer do his part of the job. You've done yours now let us do ours!

Neil Caldwell's picture
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Joined: 8 Jan 2010 - 12:11am
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Coolio Nick, I don't really care about someone's likes or dislikes although I do hope for opinions to be expressed in detail. For instance one could say the London 2012 logo's elements are grouped in such a discordant manner as to upset the eye.

But then again, I think as time goes on we as a global culture are rapidly being reduced to nothing more than grunts. Twitter is somewhat in that grunt vein with its 140(?) character limit, texting to has begun to form grunting methodology. So, I'm completely empathetic to the one or two grunt critique.

And perhaps in some measure the London 2012 logo is a grunt? But I don't think so, I think it boldly harkens back to early Greek culture whilst sounding out how edgy we have become as a global culture.

This ain't the '60s ...see Mexico's olympiad branding.

I don't think the London 2012 logo is the pinnacle of graphic design ... I just think it has its hand the pulse of modern day culture.

There ain't no kumbaya moments in the London 2012 branding.

I'm beginning to ramble... lol, omg, ...

L8r sk8r

n.

Mili Carr's picture
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Joined: 17 Jun 2005 - 1:36pm
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Hmm, can't say I like it very much.

On their website the logo is explaned:
"The new Olympic emblem is based on the number 2012 - the year the Games take place and includes the Olympic Rings and the word London." – I didn't see the numbers at first!
Apparently there are four colour versions of the logo, pink, blue, green and orange.

And more:
"Launching the brand at the Roundhouse in North London, London 2012 Chair Seb Coe said: "London 2012 will be 'Everyone's Games', everyone's 2012. This is the vision at the very heart of our brand."

http://main.london2012.com/en/news/archive/2007/June/2007-06-04-12-06.htm

Matt Squire's picture
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Joined: 2 Mar 2006 - 5:53am
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Working in the Branding industry I cannot help but feel that this logo is a real let down. Years are spent on the bidding process and pitching phases with regards to just hosting the games.

I remember an article by Bruno Maag in creative review about the importance of the olympics and how it should be treated with more respect. The Olympic games is a worldwide event and is a chance for countries to basically tell the world a little about themselves, their attitudes, their beliefs, their tradition, in an exciting way.

I can understand what the logo is trying to do, trying to appeal to the younger generation by using the graffitti look and the bright colours but further than this it really seems to miss the whole point.

The logo is just the tip of the ice berg, it is a mark that is used to farmiliarise people with the brand. Below this there is a need for marketing, advertising, print material, films and novelty items such as flags, leaflets etc. If this is the standard that will dictate the design of these elements then I can only hope they take into consideration and try to understand a little of where the rest of the british people are coming from.

Matt Squire's picture
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Joined: 2 Mar 2006 - 5:53am
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You can view the film here and some of the people own designs are quite interesting.

http://www.london2012.com/

Chuck Groth's picture
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Joined: 15 Sep 2005 - 2:36pm
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the mark itself is kind of an interesting 'tangram' play on the year, but it's so GENERIC... it seems like they were waiting to see what city would be awarded the games, and they would plug in the name in as non-descipt a manner as possible.

oh well. there's always 2016.

Tim Bridle's picture
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007 - 3:46pm
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No the logo has beeen designed in the last year, to replace the bid logo.

In addition to my earlier rant, I understand the goals of the bid, 'everyones London' everybody getting off their backsides and getting motivated to become active and healthy.

The brand films are in fact quite good, its just the aesthetic of the logo is very very poor, and for that there is no excuse.

PS. On other websites, people are saying it looks like Lisa Simpson perferming oral sex! - The '0' and second '2'

darrel's picture
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Joined: 4 Feb 2003 - 6:03pm
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Maybe it's purely coincidental, but I immediately got a brit-punk vibe from it:

http://www.bside-rock.com/IMG/jpg/London-Calling.jpg

Is it appropriate? I dunno. But different. Sometimes different is good.

EDIT: and now after watching the video, I get a brit-new-wave vibe.

I thought the video was great. I'm liking the logo now. It's definitely different. I think that's a good thing. I think it definitely has a london vibe to it. Slightly retro, but updated.

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Joined: 18 Feb 2007 - 6:41am
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Lisa Simpson? Omg! Well, I didn’t recognize the ciphers either—what I saw was rather some moustached villain in a trenchcoat wth turned-up collars, who sprang from the Maus comic, with London on his mind.

Florian Hardwig's picture
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Joined: 18 Feb 2007 - 6:41am
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@ aluminium: The colors say Sex Pistols, not The Clash. ;)

Scott Hultman's picture
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Joined: 26 Jan 2007 - 11:58am
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You've got to be kidding. It's amazing how much the logos change from the bid to the actual games logo. Why not keep the same identity?

Tim Bridle's picture
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007 - 3:46pm
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Lot of very unhappy Londoners...

Online petition - Change The London 2012 Logo

Graham Taylor's picture
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Joined: 1 Feb 2006 - 3:53pm
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I heard the lisa simpson thing also.

Its trying to be New-Rave, so some trendy young hoxtonite has jammed the current musical influences into the design. Don't hate it but doesn't say much about London, England, or the olympics, it just seems stylized towards a current musical scene which is particular to here (london).

Nigella's picture
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Joined: 4 Apr 2006 - 1:38am
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It's bollocks.

PJB's picture
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Joined: 19 Apr 2007 - 4:04pm
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Dire.

Claus Eggers Sørensen's picture
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Simon Duckworth's picture
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Joined: 26 May 2005 - 8:20am
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It's a stinker. It looks, well, 80s-looking; it's just naff. I bet the design brief said 'must look vibrant and appealing'. I have to admit that I thought the Thames 'ribbon' bid logo was as bad as it got. Ouch.

Well, not everything can be a portfolio piece!

joe king's picture
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Joined: 12 Apr 2007 - 11:45am
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First thoughts - awful.
I kept looking at it and then saw the jagged 2012 numerals. A bit less awful.
It seems to be breaking up. Fragmented, choppy, sharp, what's the point of the offset yellow drop shadow?

Chuck Groth's picture
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Joined: 15 Sep 2005 - 2:36pm
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I loved the Evolution of Man graphic at the bottom of number 5!

Alaskan's picture
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Please tell me you're kidding ... the number "five" I see (pasted below) is positively hideous -- and insanely unusable as a logo.

Tobias Kvant's picture
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Joined: 15 Feb 2004 - 3:49am
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I think it looks like sh*t.. looks like a guy who´s just been shot in the stomach

Simon Daniels's picture
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Joined: 11 Apr 2002 - 6:37pm
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The zero looks like Australia, no?

>It’s bollocks.

Nevermind...

John Smith's picture
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Joined: 25 May 2007 - 12:50pm
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whilst the logo should reflect contemporary London (which to some extent this does) it shouldn't lose sight of the city's heritage - and there is no trace of this in the logo. It smacks of '2007' NME culture - new rave, the Klaxons, glow sticks etc...

also has an unccany resemblance to the jagged interlocking shapes of the typeface used for the Arctic Monkeys recent 'Brianstorm' single:


Chuck Groth's picture
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of course i was kidding. it's horrible! (and i was joking about the evolution graphic at the bottom, too)

Joe Pemberton's picture
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Joined: 8 Apr 2002 - 3:36pm
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Number 11 Rules! (Referring to the alternates in the BBC article.)

The final mark takes a lot of risks, that the otherwise safe (too conservative) execution does not support it or payoff the risks and the result is bad. The "brand video" they produced is the most interesting piece, but the logo itself doesn't live up to it. The site design as a component of the whole brand picture is also a let down. The Duplo color palette is carried through, but because of the lack of interesting composition there's no connection to the energy in the video.

The London Olympics, as established by the logo and the brand site, is now a low budget, kids television program.

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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The brand video is at least a fine example of truth in advertising: in 2012 every aspect of London life is going to be frenetically invaded by the Olympics, and the logo is a good warning sign not to bother visiting London that year.

Jan Erdmann's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2007 - 8:36am
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Come on people. Same thing every time with a big sports event. I remember the discussion about the 2006 world cup logo (football/soccer) in Germany. OK, it sucked. But. 11 designers stated they could do better. Well, actually most of them couldn’t ImO. Come up with something better!

Horton Munson's picture
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Joined: 16 May 2007 - 3:53pm
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Same thing every time with a big sports event.

Sure there are some bad tourney logos out there, but it's the Summer Olympics! Home of amazing posters (Montréal), beautiful ID systems (Los Angeles) and this great little piece of iconography from Moscow. It's in Russian and more readable to me than the London caveman mark.

Horton
Founder, This Day in Type

Jan Erdmann's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2007 - 8:36am
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Yeah. It looks Stalin OK. And if it hadn’t been the Soviet Union then there would have been the same discussion going on. Posters and ID systems aren’t Logos btw. Design a Logo for the London Olympics and post it!

Andrew's picture
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Joined: 8 Jan 2007 - 10:28am
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Role over Wolff Olins.
Shame on you.

'This is the vision at the very heart of our brand'

PASS ME THE STAKE

(I will not be revoking this comment)

Horton Munson's picture
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Joined: 16 May 2007 - 3:53pm
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Oi, Jan. I have a solid rebuttal to everything you wrote, but it won't do either of us any good. The only thing I would like to point out for the record is that ID systems include logos.

Horton
Founder, This Day in Type

Dyana Weissman's picture
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Joined: 21 May 2002 - 9:47pm
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From the press release: "the new emblem is modern and will be dynamic, evolving in the years between now and 2012."

This makes me think there is more to the logo than we've seen. Could be interesting.

I don't think it's too horrible, aside from the fact I originally thought it was the red maple from the Canadian flag. Most of the alternatives on the BBC site were much worse (#1 could be great with a few touch-ups - 11 is fantastic, of course). Probably a product of design by committee. I can see scores of Olympics organizers weighing in with what they think is good design, the designers being pressured to comply, and the end result being an unsatisfying compromise for everyone.

Tim Daly's picture
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Joined: 11 Sep 2003 - 9:04am
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What is the purpose of a logo?

Tim

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[Edit]

Tim Daly's picture
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>logo should be a dynamic, forward thinking summing up of London and its hosting of the Olympic games

– is that possible?
– is that desirable?

I am still on the fence about the logo, although it does make better sense having seen the motion graphics.

Tim

BTW Darrel – you probably already knew this but
http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/british/images/vc265.jpg

Tim Bridle's picture
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007 - 3:46pm
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Update for non-UK readers...

BBC TV news ran a piece hinting that the organisers are looking at a few tweaks.
In other words they are going to try and dig themselves out of a very large hole and change the thing?.

Someone mentioned Childrens TV. This was a logo for 'TISWAS' a Saturday morning kids TV show in the 70's.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6719805.stm

Shreyas.R.Krishnan's picture
Joined: 14 Mar 2007 - 4:00pm
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gah! i say..who on earth designed it? and how in the name of heaven did they pass it off as a logo for the olympic games??!
Things like this cause a lot of disillusion in me.

:(
shreyas

Tim Bridle's picture
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007 - 3:46pm
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Wolff Olins produced the logo/brand.

http://www.wolff-olins.com/

joe king's picture
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Joined: 12 Apr 2007 - 11:45am
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That website is a bit annoying. Slow, it doesn't fit in my browser (I've got lots of toolbars, have to use zoom out on the flash player).

Bruno Maag's picture
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Joined: 11 Mar 2004 - 8:29am
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Is that our website you're referring to, or the official Olympic one? If it's ours then you've got your wires crossed as we don't use Flash. In fact, at our Flash is akin to the Devil, the Evil incarnate.

The previous comment about being tasteless - fair dos. However, our rendition is a pastiche on the logo and expresses what we fell about this logo.

What disappoints me most is that I know people at Wolff Olins. They are good designers, very good ones and in many cases I have applauded their work. You only have to look at the Unilever logo - a master piece. It appears, though, as if WO is not so much concerned with design anymore but with brand strategy. And for good measure they'll throw in a bit of design.

We have to realise that WO like ourselves and many other design agencies are businesses. These top agencies charge buckets of money for their work and when the money is public, or from the lottery funds, as the majority of the fee is in this case, I think I have a right to high quality work. And this ain't.

Yes, maybe we were a little bit over the top in saying that London's design industry is at stake. But whilst the public may care more about the 100m than the logo design, We have the issue that London has a thriving media industry *because* of it's high creative and production skills. And something so public for the next five years can damage a reputation.

Design is not all about the great idea. Much of design is grunt work, it's application and usage. This does not go beyond an idea. In order to make it really great, WO would have done well to commission Banksy or a similar high profile and highly skilled artist to convert their initial thoughts. I think much better work would have come out of it. But, of course that would also have meant that their profit margin would not have been as high since Banksy does not work for free either.

Bruno Maag

Tom Howe's picture
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Joined: 14 Oct 2006 - 9:24pm
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So, what typeface is being used and what do we all know about it?

Simon Duckworth's picture
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Well, I posted a comment that was pretty damning of the London 2012 logo - and, although I could edit it, I'm going to let it stand even though I think I've made a mistake. Having lastnight seen how it conveys a sense of energy, I'm growing to like it! My gut feelings (see post above) were negative, but I really don't think companies such as Wolff Ollins get it wrong. I'm still really unsure of the supporting elements (the animated visual style is very 80s dance graphics), but I think the logo is already doing its job. I think the organisers will be pleased about the press and news prominience this has got - which I don't think would happen with a 'safe' logo which would likely go unnoticed. It's really going to start mattering in a few years time so to judge it now is really premature. The one thing that this logo is, is different - and that's pretty important.

darrel's picture
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Joined: 4 Feb 2003 - 6:03pm
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I'm surprised at the almost unanimous hatred towards this mark.

Admittedely, from a typography standpoint, it's lacking, but as an overal logo and part of the larger ID system (including the motion graphics) I can't really argue against it. It seems to work.

There are bad logos, and then there are controversial logos. I think this is the latter. Not necessarily bad, but those that find it bad, REALLY find it bad and are quite loud about it.

A bland logo would have likely been a poorer solution, but ultimately would probably not have provoked that many folks to care as much about it.

"The one thing that this logo is, is different - and that’s pretty important."

Well said.