Vox Pop

The Greater London Authority’s £50 000 logotype for London, designed by ad agency EuroRSCG Wnek Gosper, has reworked the London Transport typeface. The fixed first syllable – LOND – is Underground-blue, while the second syllable – ON – changes colour and form according to the particular use. Is it effective and will 50 versions help or hinder the identity to represent the capital in the eyes of Londoners, visitors and people overseas?

‘It is not a brilliant piece of design but it is ingenious, and it demands a sophisticated client who can use its nuances and modulations effectively. Is the Greater London Authority sufficiently experienced in this kind of activity? Unfortunately, I doubt it. My verdict: probably too clever for the client to handle properly.’

Wally Olins, founder, Wolff Olins

‘It’s fun, but surely more of an advertising campaign idea than a brand idea. Fifty options will make it open to abuse and difficult to control. Any initial integrity that the logotype has will soon be lost and I’ll be interested to see if it’s still around in five years time.’

Mike Denny, partner, Roundel

‘It’s not quite an “I ♥ NY” is it? I can see the rational point-of-view in using the London Underground typeface, but is it really going to capture the imagination? A lot will depend on what investment is made in bringing the idea to life. If the media give it the thumbs up and the Greater London Authority really gets behind it, the new identity may stand a chance. For me, though, as a piece of design, it’s, nice strategy, shame about the execution.’

Simon Rhind-Tutt, Managing Director, The Tutt Consultancy

‘It’s like using the French Londres to represent the capital. You can understand it, but it would be very odd. It’s meant to be promoting pride in London, and yet it’s meaningless to the great swathe of disabled people it’s meant to represent. It’s silly.’

Johanna Lakeman, Spokeswoman for the British Deaf Association, quoted in London’s Evening Standard

Lakeman’s comments follow reports in the Evening Standard that the O and N of the London logotype appear in Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper’s prototype as hands forming the letters in American rather than British sign language for the deaf. American sign language uses one hand to form the symbols; its British equivalent uses two hands.

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