The 2012 Olympics branding comes good

With just over two months to go until the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, we’re finally starting to see designs that use the controversial Olympic branding to good effect.


The Olympic tickets, designed by Futurebrand, show the flexibility both of the Wolff Olins logo and the pictogram system designed by Someone.

They’re clear, striking and, most importantly, look like something that lucky Olympics ticket-owners will cherish when they land on doormats this week.

Back in 2009, Design Week’s Tom Banks wrote about the ‘flexible’ nature of the London 2012 logo – panned at its unveiling in June 2007.  He pointed out that its flexibility means that it can be easily adapted to different platforms.

Olympic tickets, by Futurebrand

Commentators in the piece noted that Wolff Olins had to design a logo five years in advance of the event, that would have to be adapted to newly-emerging platforms and technologies that the designers couldn’t even envisage in 2007.

A brand, as we all know, is much more than just a logo. And when new brands are unveiled it can be easy to make snap judgements based simply on the logo design in isolation.

Olympic logo
Olympic logo, by Wolff Olins

Sometimes it can take time – and different applications – for the true nature of the brand identity to become apparent. In the case of the OIympics this moment seems to be arriving just in time for the opening ceremony.

Hide Comments (8)Show Comments (8)
  • Michael Marks November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The tickets look good, but despite the appalling Olympic logo not because they’ve evolved anything from it. To me the logo will always look like Lisa Simpson performing a sexual act. Perhaps it should be a new Olympic event?

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

    “Commentators in the piece noted that Wolff Olins had to design a logo five years in advance of the event, that would have to be adapted to newly-emerging platforms and technologies that the designers couldn’t even envisage in 2007”

    is this a joke?

  • Paul Bailey November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Great article and my thoughts entirely. The brand launch was so focussed on the logo that the majority of people (clearly not Tom though) lost sight of the fact that the flexible brand environment potential was there for a striking look. Maybe now people can see what the brand team where aiming to achieve, and which I feel they have been very successful in doing, which is creating a vibrant, bold, unique look for the 2012 games.

    For me it goes to show how focusing on a logo on launch can very often do the overall brand and environment no justice.

  • Guy Tierney November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Yes the materials look great but it is still a shame that awful logo is sitting on them. I’m a big fan of Wolff’s work but on this occasion I feel the team have made the best of a bad foundation. All credit to them for saving this and playing down the logo itself.

  • Majid Asghar November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    What a load of rubbish. Time has obviously dulled your senses, it was and always has been an appalling piece of design. Wolf Ollins work should have been assigned to one place and one place only from the start – the bin.

    Your article is a typical reaction to a rubbish brand, and a rubbish design – as you start to sentimentally rally around what could have been an occasion to celebrate great British design.

    Yes, thankfully Futurebrand made something of the tickets, salvaging something from the rubbish they were given to start, and someone made a half decent job from the appalling foundation that Ollins produced.

    Looks like a case of more corporate rubbish produced by a large agency, with no real clue… In years to come when it is lined up against other good Olympic brands you might come to your senses. Were you in the pub when you wrote your article, or sitting in the reception of Wolf Ollins? Sorry but your article is almost as much akin drivel as the brand is.

  • A November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I love the logo. I think it’s brave, energetic and visionary. Can’t wait to see how the brand extends over the entire event… The opening ceremony in particular!

  • Stuart Chapman, The Big Picture November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    We wrote about the identity five years ago, and have revisited it here –

  • alexander james November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The design work for the Olympics 2012 is possibly the most appalling campaign I’ve ever seen. As a designer myself and proud of a heritage that has included such landmarks as the London Tube map – plus being a huge admirer of past Olympic branding including the Mexico 68 typography and the Munich 72 symbols I’m greatly disappointed with it all.

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