Londonâ€™s controversial 2012 Olympics logo
This is the new London 2012 â€œmultimedia brand imageâ€, which was unveiled this week by Lord Coe, chairman of Londonâ€™s Olympic committee. The logo was designed by Wolff Olins â€“ one of the top established brand consultancy in the world â€“ and apparently it is based on the four â€˜brand pillarsâ€™ of access, participation, stimulation and inspiration.
None of these four keywords spring to mind when this logo was presented to the public for the first time. The first impression was overwhelming negative including how terrible it looksâ€¦
The colours and shape are intended to be use in different forms of media, from print to online. It should cast a long-standing vision, as the event is five years away. People should be able to identify and access the Olympics with a distinctive and powerful symbol.
But aesthetically, does it work? Well, according to many newspapers and reports, many consider it as hideous. In fact, an online poll recently showed about 85% of the audience despised it, with many UK citizensâ€™ spontaneously organising petitions to scrap it!
Thatâ€™s the general public views, what about the opinions from branding agencies. What do they think of the new London 2012 Olympics logo?
â€œThey can expect quite a polarised reaction because itâ€™s quite radical,â€ says CiarÃ¡n Coyle, MD of brand licensing company The Beanstalk Group, â€œand from a creative point of view, it will develop the debate. The design is very simple and thatâ€™s whatâ€™s different to the previous Olympic logos, where the cityâ€™s name and year are next to each other. Here, the focus is on the notion of â€˜2012â€². Whatâ€™s interesting from a licensing perspective is that they can take this logo and put it on lots of different media. It needs to be downloadable, be visible on a phone, a website and so on.â€
William Higham, futurologist and founder of Next Big Thing, suggests that a key issue for Wolff Olins was making the logo appeal to a wide range of different audiences. â€œIt was important to make it flexible and appealing to audiences across the board,â€ he says. â€œThe multi-cultural youth demographic was very important. They need something that they can adapt themselves and so user-generated content is coming in there. People are into the idea of having something that works on that level, something that suggests a â€˜participatory Gamesâ€™. When the event is broadcast there will more people there filming it on their phones, blogging about it. I donâ€™t think itâ€™ll date because itâ€™s not tied to a particular font, or style â€“ we still have to see it in context and get used to it. I think it will still have a vibrancy; itâ€™s very bold.â€
It is certainly bold but is it a good â€˜imageâ€™ to showcase the event and for the rest of the world that the capital of the United Kingdom is hosting this sporting contest?
Letâ€™s weight out the positives and negatives regarding the new symbol:
It is original and brave.
Doesnâ€™t contain the clichÃ© images of the following: Big Ben, bulldogs, crowns and assorted other royal paraphernalia, the Union Jack, the Cross of St George, Pearly Kings and Queens, abstract figures doing vaguely athletic things.
It will work across a wide range of media, which will be vital in 2012 when coverage of the Games will break over a range of formats â€“ e.g. mobile phones, computers.
Children will probably like it.
You canâ€™t read it very easily.
It already seems outdated, in particular the graffiti-like styling.
Itâ€™s inelegant and brash â€“ what does that say about London?
It looks a bit like something that children TV presenter Neil Buchanan might have put together on Art Attack! And, as a result, graphic design will receive another pasting in the popular press. â€œHow much? My kid could have done betterâ€¦â€
If you stare at it long enough, some dirty-minded bloggers have been saying, it kind of looks like Lisa Simpson giving someone a blow job!