London 2012 Olympic Logo

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Jonathan Greenslade's picture
Joined: 30 Jul 2006 - 6:37am
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Well said Hrant. I think we can all agree that strobing effects enhance our lives significantly and it would certainly be a sad loss to us all if the strobing was removed from the 2012 promos.

darrel's picture
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"I don’t like this design, and I don’t dislike this design - either way, the design is bullshit"

I wanted to like your comment, Hiroshige, but the more I read it, the more I felt that it, too, was just Bullshit. And that's not meant to be an insult by anymeans. It's just that I think that most of what we do as commercial artists is bullshit anyways. Yea, so the logo is bullshit. Why is that bad? It's just to advertise the olympics. Does it NEED to do more than that? I can't say I've seen too many logos that "have strengthened me as an Individual"

As for the epilepsy, my wife suffered from photo-sensitive epilepsy. And I gotta gree with hrant. I imagine there were one or two complaints and that was blown up a bit, but seems as if you could get one or two complaints from any trendy TV drama that latches on to the jerky-camera 10-shots a second style these days (NOT that they shouldn't fix this issue, of course).

Chuck Groth's picture
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strobing and coffee.

Chuck Groth's picture
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And in classic fashion (a day late and .8 euros short) CNN has decided to weigh in on the topic. If Wolf Blitzer hates the logo, it's doomed...

Angelos Bakas's picture
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when extremes become mainstream

Nick Shinn's picture
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Andrew, I think that being sensational is a perfectly legitimate marketing/design strategy.
The same goes for mainstreaming trends copped from clubland early adopters -- because that's the way the world turns anyway.
So in 2012, or 2011 when everyone is buying their tix, this logo will look perfectly acceptable and not so outlandish.
And of course by then will have been bashed into everyone's brains by massive exposure.

So it woud be a mistake for the authorities to cut and run (surely that would be Blitzer's position? ;-)

Having said that, I agree with Barnbrook/McCallion:
http://www.virusfonts.com/downloads/olympukes.html

Jonathan Greenslade's picture
Joined: 30 Jul 2006 - 6:37am
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"I think that being sensational is a perfectly legitimate marketing/design strategy."

That makes my job so much easier. I shall simply tell my next client that I purposely designed them a shĩte logo to be 'sensational'.

Why couldn't it be sensationally good they may say.

What's the difference? I shall reply.

Angelos Bakas's picture
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Well, what a fascinating (and revealing) discussion! People are such "meaning providing machines".

I've been following the issue since the first moment it was revealed. I liked what I saw (and I saw more than the logo) immediately. After a couple of hours I realised that the publicity it would generate would never be generated by a planned campaign. It is what you call "negative publicity", but by now, half a day later, you don't need to read the word "London" or see the Olympics symbol, or make out the numbers. Your eyes only need to brush over it for a tenth of a second to recognise it.

You don't like it? Ha! That's because you are trying (actually, your mind is trying) to connect it with something you know. The mind will always do that. It's very hard to accept new things in their own value. That's why people see monkeys, broken swastikas and mirrors, overloaded camels, crashed lorries, zionist conspiracies, you name it.

But what really surprises me most, is that designers get so worked up about its looks, and its cost. I would expect them to have some more faith in the methodologies and the expertise of W.O., and think before they let go.

Of course it would look great on a t-shirt, or on a skateboard, or as a sticker on a pavement! It just wouldn't be a quarter of an inch big. I'm dead sure W.O. have provided a manual that deals with all the symbol's applications. Of course it doesn't feature the London you knew last century. What is London today? Say Big Ben and you lost. London is as indescribable as the new logo is. Who must the logo appeal to? Not me, not you, not any geeser older than, say, 24. We've already bought the Olympics. It's the young ones, the ones who will be buying into the Olympics in five years time, that the logo speaks to.

And you're still talking about Gill Sans! Yeah, the Greeks used it and it was as out of place as a sardine on your cream pie.

Yeah! Some people even dared suggest they should have kept the logo they used to get the Olympics. Your granny's picture will be next. Anything would be better than this one, right?

But what's worst, it's the moralising. The logo should make us all better persons and eventually lead us to paradise. Amen!

carl's picture
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Joined: 28 Oct 2005 - 4:37pm
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There's no such thing as bad publicty.

Nick Shinn's picture
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There’s no such thing as bad publicty.

In fact, publicty of any kind doesn't exist in the dictionary.
But you were using sensational spelling to make a point, right?!

Tim Bridle's picture
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007 - 3:46pm
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And Acrobat, if I showed you something white I guess you would argue its black...

Its the job of a designer to see the bigger picture, the other side, but it does'nt make this a good logo. You must have a high opinion of yourself to think we havent already taken into account the points you raise before the negative reaction.

Publicity? - there is already a massive debate in London about the misfinancing of the games - the negative publicity generated about this logo is the last thing they wanted, believe me.

Today in London, I was at a design conference, listening to a talk by Neville Brody, an internationally regarded, reactionary, ground breaking designer of his generation if ever there was one. He spoke how agencies such as W.O. are like an inverted triangle, creativity at the bottom, overlaiden with layers of account handlers and managers at he top. He added that the net result of projects undertaken by such agencies, was work like the London 2012 branding.

Needless to say he did'nt like the logo, to say the least.

Specifically about your comments, the logo is having to be used small in sponsors press ads, and guess what, it does'nt work. This leads directly to the central point of the criticism as far as I'm concerned:

ITS NOT THE CONCEPT/MESSAGE BEHIND THE BRAND, ITS THE LACK OF BASIC DESIGN CRAFT IN THE LOGO ITSELF.

William Berkson's picture
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This has got five years, so the key test is going to be whether this gains in public affection over time.

My money is on NOT.

I give this logo a 'B+' for art, a 'C-' for typography, and an 'F' for appropriateness. Not that anybody asked :)

Julie Oakley's picture
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Belleisle, I was at that talk as well.

I lost a lot of respect for Neville Brody - he didn't have the courtesy to prepare his talk properly and he didn't let the truth get in the way of what he thought was a good story. All that posing as some kind of revolutionary leftie.
He showed us a picture of the Hornsey art college building (which he went to one year before I did) and presented it as a hotbed of revolutionary fervour that eventually was shut down by Thatcher as too great a threat to the establishment.

Well, just to put the record straight, all the revolutionary fervour had happened ten years before (when he would have been about eight years old) and by the time both Neville and I attended it was a very tame part of Middlesex Polytechnic, and rather than Thatcher, the reason the building was sold was that the college had built a shiny new well-equipped building to replace it. And all that rubbish about schools being funded on results in core subjects - hey but who cares about the truth when you're a hip, revolutionary anti-establishment designer (who happens to have Bentley, Dom Perignon and The Times as clients)

Julie Oakley's picture
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But back on topic, the 2012 logo is rubbish

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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I used to not like Brody very much, until I saw him speak in person in Thessaloniki
a few years ago. Maybe the Greek food helped? I mean him. I'm used to Greek food.
Or maybe what helped was speaking to type people, not "just" graphic designers.

hhp

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Shreyas.R.Krishnan's picture
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hmm, what im wondering is..the whole "cartoonish" look(if i may call it that) seems to be in. many logos of international bodies are like that(I cant recall which ones but we saw a few at a presentation on sustainable development by Helmut Langer.Even the identity of the athens olympics. Why is there a sudden madness for this sorta stuff?

shreyas

carl's picture
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There’s no such thing as bad publicty.
In fact, publicty of any kind doesn’t exist in the dictionary.

Nick, I think this means I might be able to get a trademark. If so, any future use of "publicty" will be restricted. First I create the "buzz,", then I secure the rights.

Angelos Bakas's picture
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Ts ts ts. Belleisle, listen to yourself! (And listen to yourself telling us in all seriousness that you listened to Neville!).

Joe Pemberton's picture
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Thanks Scott. It was Zoom that I was thinking of in my kids' TV program comment.

ChuckGroth: I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Well stated.

I had a lot higher regard for Wolf Olins prior to this. (Tate gallery identity anyone?) But, I'm not going to call them has-beens, and I personally would not take Neville Brody's word for it.

Tim Bridle's picture
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Julie, I hope you had a good day at the event.

Poor old Neville, I only mentioned him, as his point about the management structure of agencies might open a debate as to why design work like 2012 happens. I've worked in enough of these places to know how the designers at W.O. would have been put in no win situations when doing this work.

NB's not so bad, his talk fell away in the second half as his newer work lacks the sense of interest and history that the Face stuff would have, for me at any least.

Having had a chance to properly read back through this thread Bruno Maag also has been given a tough time for having the courage to put his name to criticism of the logo, especially as he is a part of a fairly tight knit circle of London's premier design operators.
I can't help thinking, if only someone like DaltonMaag had been involved with 2012, the mess that has been created might not of happened.

Susan L's picture
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Joined: 10 Jul 2005 - 1:56pm
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I have to say, it looks like Ms. Olympia is performing an act on Mr London.

Patricia Fabricant's picture
Joined: 23 Mar 2004 - 9:40am
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The New York Times is weighing in as well - is the reaction to this logo emblematic of the British public's resistance to hosting the Olympics in the first place?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/07/world/europe/07olympics.html?_r=1&oref...

New York pitched to host the olympics a few years ago and I was immensely relieved we didn't get picked. What city wants them, honestly? Unless the swedish ski team stays in my apartment ;-)

Chuck Groth's picture
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do you have any idea how much hot chocolate and absolut they go through in a day?

darrel's picture
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"The New York Times is weighing in as well - is the reaction to this logo emblematic of the British public’s resistance to hosting the Olympics in the first place?"

Ah! Hmm...very interesting question!

Jonathan Greenslade's picture
Joined: 30 Jul 2006 - 6:37am
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From the NYTimes article...

“When something is so swingingly attacked as the 2012 logo has been, it tells you more about the people doing the attacking, and their taste, than about the design in question,” said Michael Wolff, the co-founder of Wolff Olins, the branding agency that designed the logo. “Prejudice is comfortable and lazy.”

Mr. Wolff, who has since formed a separate company, went on to say in The Evening Standard, “I think this petulant reaction will subside and pride will take its place.”

Well, as long as Mr Wolff is happy, then apparently we should be to.

Arrogant charlatan.

Chuck Groth's picture
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who has since formed a separate company...

$400,000 start-up...

Ken Messenger's picture
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$400,000 start-up…

That's actually £400,000 (a few shekels shy of $800k to us yanks). I might be able to set up a nice new studio for that....maybe.

Jonathan Greenslade's picture
Joined: 30 Jul 2006 - 6:37am
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"The New York Times is weighing in as well - is the reaction to this logo emblematic of the British public’s resistance to hosting the Olympics in the first place?"

What a vacuous suggestion. It would be like protesting against the war in Iraq by critisizing the design of the soldiers uniforms.

Makes for a good defence of crap design though.

Chuck Groth's picture
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well, i hated the use of Times New Roman in the "Mission Accomplished" banner.

I don't think it was a vacuous statement, but more a statement that people sometimes respond vacuously to things that upset them. Kids throw temper tantrums about their shoes when getting ready for school, but are really anxious about the spelling bee. Executives complain about parking spaces because they're unprepared for a presentation.

Andrew's picture
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Nick, I don't believe in attention by any means. It probably works from a capital point of view, I'm sure there are plenty of case studies where loud branding has led to brand success. However by pandering to this mentality we promote incedibly empty, crass design. Design where the only goal is money. I certainly don't think that is appropriate for the ethos of the Olympic games and it saddens me that anyone within the domain of typophile might find this appropriate.

Someone will be quick to point out how romantic this is, it's not. I'm being realistic by asserting that design of this nature is detrimental.

Neil Caldwell's picture
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I’m being realistic by asserting that design of this nature is detrimental.

Deterimental to what?

This design is completely appropriate. It's appropriate for the want of integrity, something which was lost as a people and as a global society - a long time ago. Now we have all the good stuff like - pre-emptive war, globalization, corporatization, consumerism - umm... Darfur(s). Loud and proud, Us vs Them.

"Yea, so the logo is bullshit. Why is that bad? It’s just to advertise the olympics."

_________
Hiro

Tim Daly's picture
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>It’s just to advertise the olympics

and the Paralympics.

Tim

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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Christian Fuenfhausen's picture
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Couple of things -- if a vast majority of people dislike something it could be "groupthink". . . or -- the more obvious answer -- it just could be that the object of dislike simply isn't any good.

[For example, 70 percent of Americans think Bush is doing a disastrous job. Now, maybe some of you would call this "groupthink". But perhaps it is because we might just currently have the worst president ever. ]

Some of the proponents of this egregious logo like it because it's "different". That's a rather pathetic reason. There was a lot 1980s style that was "different" back then, too, much as this logo rips off that era . . . oh, sorry, "is influenced by". . . but that doesn't mean parachute pants were ever a good idea.

Actually, that's no reason at all if you think about it.

And if you think it's good because we're all writing in about how much we loathe it or are disappointed by it, well, that is a PR agency reaction, but it doesn't make the design work any better. The thing about works being "controversial" is that they are not always Stravinsky's "Rites of Spring." Sometimes they're the "Piss Christ" (a crucifix in a glass of urine, for those youngsters out there) -- controversial maybe, but mediocre, even bad as "art". For $800K I sure would have expected a whole lot more.

Now, as for this "ID" system. . . what ID "system"? The four colors? Is that the supposed "system"? Color me un-impressed. And if it takes a music video/movie trailer/motion graphic thing to "explain" a logo, then I'm not really sure that logo is really working. . . on its own. It's like a poem that requires footnotes -- outside of "The Wasteland", probably not much of a poem. Probably you should go back, and re-write, and re-write until you nail it.

I'm against this logo because not only is it hideous visual pollution, from my purely aesthetically subjective point of view, but it fails in legibility. It fails to convey "Olympics" or "athletics" or "London". It sort of conveys "outdated 80s mall 'graffitti' ", but that is not the point. Call me hopelessly literal, but I am sort of a sucker for marks that, you know, actually have something to do with the company/brand/event they are meant to represent. Or, failing that, are intriguing. Or at very least, beautiful. This logo fails on all counts.

Simon Daniels's picture
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Hrant> used to not like Brody very much, until I saw him speak in person in Thessaloniki a few years ago.

2004 or 2002? Anyway the year Carson was a no-show I was very impressed by the way Neville and Erik stepped up to do an informal town-hall style meeting with the students and other delegates. It was totally unscripted, with them sitting on the edge of the stage, very cool.

darrel's picture
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"Couple of things — if a vast majority of people dislike something it could be “groupthink”… or — the more obvious answer — it just could be that the object of dislike simply isn’t any good."

Look at hate/love ratio for Apple. Compare it to Dell. Which is a better product? Which is more succesful?

I don't think 'loud hate' means it is bad. It means it triggers a strong reaction. Sometimes it may be cause it's bad. I have a hunch it's more often just because it's different and not mainstream.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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> the year Carson was a no-show I was very impressed by ...

Yeah, that one.

hhp

Paul B. Cutler's picture
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> Maybe the Greek food helped? I mean him. I’m used to Greek food.

Hrant - then what about Elena Greek Armenian Cuisine on Glendale Boulevard?

peas

Chuck Groth's picture
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Well, I said the $400k because I figured Wolff only got half...

(I'm not that strong at math -- believe me-- but division by two is right in my skill set!)

William Berkson's picture
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This is extraordinary. Has there ever been a furor like this over a logo?

Not only is it evidently all over the British press, but also in both the Washington Post and New York Times. And I'm sure a lot of other places.

I don't think there has been a typography story this big since the faked memo about George Bush.

I suppose it is good as it shows that people care about graphic design.

Mike's picture
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That piece of crap would have been a breeze to sell to a bunch of stuffed shirts who hated the Sex Pistols. Even the pitch that I heard on BBC was just a complete wash of marketing bullshit. I think, that if it had been fronted by a group of real punk rock designers who were paid 50 pounds on a Pub Tab I would like it much, much more. At least then there would have been some authenticity to the sentiment.

"The bigger the lie, therefore, the likelier it is to be believed."
- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kempf.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Paul, I've only been there once, and mostly I remember the waitress. Sorry.

hhp

Paul B. Cutler's picture
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The lentil soup is delicious and their stuffed grape leaves are recommended (my wife likes the meat variety). I also like the kebabs and the prices are right.

There's not much Greek about it except they serve gyros - but it's a good really reasonably priced place.

Do I care about graphic design? Not nearly as much as food, which seems to be more primal. That being said, I have a lot of passion…

appease

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Food is most definitely the pinnacle of sensuality.

hhp

Simon Daniels's picture
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>Do I care about graphic design? Not nearly as much as food, which seems to be more primal. That being said, I have a lot of passion…

As far as conferences go, I take the advice of Ole Lund, who said when choosing which ones to attend the only things that count are "the venue and the menu" to add to that I'd say the people count too so, Thessaloniki scores three out of three - only two weeks to go - and Seattle scores too.

Paul B. Cutler's picture
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Hedonic calculus kicks in.

pbc

Blank's picture
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I have an interesting theory to posit. It’s no secret that most designers don’t like working in top-heavy environments, and that really great creative work tends to come from small organizations with lots of creative freedom. This is the opposite of the rest of business and government, where huge numbers of bureaucrats are constantly put in place, shuffled around, fired, etc. just to keep everybody else working and happy enough to not revolt. Perhaps the usual outcry over public design projects results from business and government types not wanting to accept that their modus operandi tends to fail at producing good design. For every Vietnam Wall there are dozens, if not hundreds, of public design disasters, and that fact just seems to drive the bean-counters crazy.

David Berlow's picture
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"Can anyone be positive about this?"
Barney would like it. I'd ask him.

David Berlow's picture
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"Can anyone be positive about this?"
Barney would like it. I'd ask him.