Olympic logo furore continues

The design world has been rocked by yesterday’s launch of the Wolff Olins-designed London 2012 branding, which provoked a wave of immediate, negative and ubiquitously fierce criticism.

A petition to call for the design of a new logo, or to use the Candidate City emblem, which was designed for the bid for the Olympic Games, has received well over 17 000 signatures at the time of writing and growing at a rate of 2000 an hour.

It can be found at www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/change-the-london-2012-logo.html

But once again the national press has seized the chance to jump on what appears to be the unjustifiably high cost (£400 000) for ‘just a logo’, when there is evidently more at stake. In time, will designers suffer from this latest mainstream design backlash?

Hide Comments (20)Show Comments (20)
  • Nick Bowman November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Another PR disaster from the design world. I leave the professionals to agree whether or not Wolff Olins efforts are successful or not. But it is immeasurably frustrating that an industry that is full of highly talented individuals, and is a world leader has failed yet again to get its communication act together. Any PR with more than a week’s experience would have known this was going to be a controversial issue, so the positioning of the work was critical. It’s about time the industry took its PR as seriously as its creative output.

  • Andy Sturt November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am


  • don mammatt November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Sydney, Athens and Beijing have all ploughed the same furrow with a large degree of predictability. Part of the criticism is based on comfort zones and pre-conceived notions of what a logo of this sort should look like.

    A massive element of this identity will be working on-line and it also has to be flexible to hold its own within a corporate sponsor’s own marketing agenda.

    My guess is it will prove adaptable and it already has high level of recognition. Of course, we can all do better – that’s designers, what else should be expected.

    The public? They see a logo, they don’t see the brief and they remain blisssfully ignorant of the practical demands imposed upon a project of this nature.
    I find the reaction very…British!

  • Nick Johnson November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said, other than that the folks behind the Millennium Dome disaster can now begin to emerge from the shadows, confident that they weren’t behind Britain’s biggest ever design mistake!

  • Mary Fry November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    So far all the excuses I’ve seen for the logo fall back on “the public don’t understand” etc. Wake up – WO was paid to come up with something the public would understand and respond to. A logo which needs long expanatory, brand babble is not a good logo. How can people continue to fly in the face of overwhelming public opinion? People don’t like it and feel it doesn’t fit with the Olympics or the UK’s image…that’s what is important regardless of “the brief” or “the practicalities”. If a plumber screws up your pipes, you don’t say “well, he probably had a dodgy spanner”. Professionals deal with the practical difficulties of their jobs.

  • Luke Francis November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I admire him for daring to be different, this logo has raised a huge awareness of the Olympic games in London and provoked reactions from people all over the country, whether it is liked or disliked! And surely thats quite an achievement in itself.

  • jenna LIVINGSTON November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I am a graphic design student who is just about to graduate from university this summer and i am ashamed of that new logo. If any of my classmates or myself were to produce such a shocking piece of graphic design i would indeed have failed my course. I do believe that the logo must show our country in a good light and i personally feel that logo makes us look stupid.

  • Stuart Renfrew November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I have been a graphic designer for 30 years, I thought that I should move over and leave it to the younger generation. Thank god I didn’t. I taught design as a consultant lecturer at an art college and if any of my students would have produced work like the olympic 2012 logo I would have told them not to waste there time and leave.
    Why those shapes? Why the crap typeface? Why use different shapes for the number 2? What are the shapes for? What do they represent (other than numbers)? Good luck to the design company, they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Don’t forget ‘The Emperors New Clothes’ Unfortunately they couldn’t pull the wool over the publics eyes

  • Stella Walton November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Haha-“DARING TO BE DIFFERENT” it looks like they have just looked at the latest copy of POP magazine and grabbed a few flyers for electro clubs in Shoreditch and nicked the styling-but it has been executed really badly! I think the coloured shaped flitting about are meant to represent energy?? But the games they are holding are old fashioned…how about including some newer sports like Parkour…Bmxing and maybe dance inc Breaking ? Didn’t they want to introduce skate boarding? But the skate industry wouldn’t accept it? Why not…I’m all for change…but this looks errrr WHACK??

  • Mark Taylor November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Why have so very few people realised that the London Olympic Bid logo is a direct lift of the TISWAS (The 70s Saturday Morning kids show) logo?

  • Peta Miller November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    A look back through the entries for the original competition to design a logo for the bid, clearly illustrates many superior alternative solutions.
    Re-visit the 2012 bid logo ‘online gallery’ at http://www.productionpoint.co.uk.

  • steven ramsay November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Typical!!!!! Our one chance to show the world how far ahead we are how innovative we are how inspiring we are, and what do we do………….

    Come up with a logo which looks like some kind of ink blotch test an absolute joke. This is a disaster on every level possible!!!!!!!!!!!

  • lo November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The logo is very nice… I like it. It is different.

  • DaveyJJ November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    In my two decades of design I have yet to see such a horrible piece of logo as that. If anyone in my shop had produced that as anything but a gag, I’d have sacked them on the spot. If an agency I’d hired showed that to me I’d have fired them on the spot too.

    It’s no wonder why graphic design as a profession is considered such a joke by so many people. Our goal as designers is to help effectively convey information and messages. This conveys simply nothing at all.

    Horrible, horrible, horrible beyond words. I’m truly saddened.

  • Alejandro November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hey you British… This logo could be better, every logo could be… But this huge reaction is typical one someone tries to brake the rules.. and I love that. Finnally someone dares to try something else besides those beautiful “green, orange, magenta, joy, free doves..etc” olympics logos. I think this is a great intention (besides the logo graphic resolution) of rethinking things. I’m from Argentina and a big fan of English design, I really embrace the initiative.

  • mrsbobetski November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The colours look like they should belong to a supermarket – you know, blue and orange for Sainsbury’s, green and white for Asda…
    I had a look at the other nominated ones and yes, they’re more predictable, but they look more – well – olympic games-ish.

  • Stephen Bell November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I had family visiting me in London this weekend and we did an open top bus tour of the city. It was a great opportunity for me to see the identity ‘on the streets’ so to speak. I have never been a fan of the identity but a couple of things became clear. The logo really doesn’t work on signs and banners…..it is illegible. The identity that Future Brand have created to enhance the Wolff Olins work makes the best of it and the applications that work the best are those that simply apply the Olympic rings NOT the London 2012 logo. Although sold in as a diverse, flexible and multi-coloured identity, it is clear that like most strong identities, one clear colour is emerging and being used more than most….a rather lovely shade of pinky purple…which is distinctive and strong….see hoardings and fencing around venues such as Wimbledon and the Volley Ball venue in Horse Guards Parade……this I like!

  • Neil Carter November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Risk-taking and irreverence no, immature yes. For a school sports day, it’s spot on, so had a 4th year junior come up with it, the assets and applications I would have been impressed, but really it’s a joke and a shameful reflection on England. How exactly is it English? Is it; quintessentially cool, ahead of the ‘game’, world leading, sophisticated, reserved, conquering…?
    Matt Pyke does do some quality work, I know him from DR days but that Adidas Olympics animation, is in no way ‘integrated’.
    Danny Boyle from what I have heard so far has done an amazing job; bond film with the Queen for the opening and commissioning the likes of the Chemical Brothers and Dizzee Rascal to create original pieces of music, genius. The Olympics kit, Stella, has done just such a job with it. Elements could easily have been taken from the kit designed and used as a basis for developing the branding, if a totally original concept wasn’t commissioned, with is what should have happened after we won the bid.
    The tourists will no doubt buy the merchandise and toys but seriously would anybody with any taste buy and wear it?
    I have a copy of Otl Aicher’s 1972 Munich Olympics programme, still to this day a stunning piece of work. Barcelona, the Spanish did ‘cartoon’ with style. The logo looks like five year olds first attempt at doing a piece of graffiti, and the applications the ‘development’ of his ‘style’.
    Danny Boyle and Stella McCartney, should have been called in earlier and given greater control over the entire ‘look’ of the games it’s a disgrace.

  • Stephen Bell November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    When all is said and done it will be dead and buried in a couple of weeks time. I don’t think it will be in any hall of fame and designers are not likely to reference it as best practice for future projects. It is disposable and ultimately will be disposed of. We had to live with Wolff Olins ‘BT Piper’ for much longer.

  • Ken Jaxon November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The logo is awesome.

  • Post a comment

Latest articles