Wolff Olins tells its side of the London 2012 brand saga

Wolff Olins executive creative director Patrick Cox admits to being shocked at the ‘level of intensity’ of reaction to the design of the London 2012 brand, but is ‘optimistic’ that it will eventually be accepted by the public.

Finally speaking to Design Week after two weeks of silence, Cox says that ‘because of the games’ ambitions we had to come up with something that was raw and bold and create something that would change the way people looked at the games. So there was always going to be a reaction to that, but it was the intensity that surprised us’.

Working alongside the London 2012 Organising Committee senior team, including commercial director Chris Townsend, Lord Coe (pictured) and chief executive Paul Deighton, Cox and his team aimed to give the £400 000 brand a ‘creative edge’ for everyone. It will act as a ‘window’ for images to fill the space, says Cox, such as photographs and sponsorship messages, some of which will be created by the public following competitions.

‘We needed to change everybody’s perspective of what these games are going to be,’ he adds. ‘It is a robust form and people will be able to infill the shapes with lots of different things, so everybody could bring it to life. It was never going to be a picture of somebody vaulting Tower Bridge.’

According to Cox, ‘We have had some positive feedback from clients and from within the industry, but we didn’t create it for them, we created it for everybody.’

Prior to the creative work, Wolff Olins carried out as many as 60 interviews with a range of stakeholders. In response, it says it decided to create a brand aimed to appeal to the widest possible audience, which could influence everybody.

• The London 2012 Olympic branding is said to have been put together in ‘Room Zero’, a secure unit in Wolff Olins’ London office
• A team of up to 20 staff from the consultancy were involved with the 2012 work
• The brand identity was always designed to be adapted, despite being widely received as a single emblem
• The evolution of the brand using infills was highlighted at the launch of the Olympic roadshow, one week on from the brand launch
• Several 2012 partners, such as Lloyds TSB, have already used the design with their own corporate colours
• A range of other organisations will have the right to use the logo in the same way

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