June 12, 2007

battle of britain

By now, you've no doubt heard a lot of the brewhaha over the London 2012 Olympic logo. I laughed at first, but I have to say that I found myself reacting more to the reaction than to the logo itself. I was irked at the airhead news anchors making their judgments on design and the pile-on media phenomenon, so I decided to hold off judgment for a while. The London 2012 logo is certainly unlike any Olympic logo we've seen in a while, and it has been getting panned everywhere both within the design community and in the general public. For some perspective, I looked up the London 2012 bid logo. Eek. And I thought of all the incredibly terrible logos for every American major league event like the Super Bowl and World Series for the past ten years (or more) - wheres the outrage on those?

I came across the design blog "Speak Up", where Armin Vit offers a critique that matches my feeling on this. He has summed it up better than I can (link below), but here's a summary paraphrasing his words and adding some of my own: The worst thing about the logo is the over-hyped, inflated rhetoric and BS used to present it on the London Games website, press release, and Wolff Olins (the creators) own website. The never-ending self-praise about how wonderful and innovative it is just forces you to want to hate it. (I mean, we know its marketing, you are expected to explain it with a positive spin; but come on, its just SO over-the top.) But, whether I like the logo alone or not, it is successful as a whole brand (I know, I said it) in leaving its mark. Its more memorable than any other recent Olympic logo, and is already starting to be compared to the groundbreaking identities for the 68 Mexico Games and the 84 Los Angeles Games (also both hated when first unveiled). They've clearly stated that the logo and brand are supposed to evolve between now and 2012, and that the logo is a complete identity system, not just a logo. The logo itself can appear in multiple forms and colors (to all those comments about it being pink).

While clunky and awkward, and not "pretty" (though frankly, logos aren't supposed to be pretty), this approach is far better than some over-photoshopped "dynamic swoosh" logo with gradations of color and dimensional edges like those that are becoming all too commonplace and overused in identity design today. I don't "love" the logo, but its a bold and risky move, and a memorable one. The brand is to be applauded for that alone. After all, when was the last time this many people even cared about a logo - or even about an Olympics? They've already gotten more than their moneys worth.

  • Speak Up/Armin Vit: London, How Do I Hate Thee?...

  • New York Times: Mocking an Olympics Logo, But Loving the Attention
  • 1 comment:

    Evan said...

    This month we started new classes at school, and in my Designing Computer Graphics class our first project is to choose a logo to redesign. The choices are the Detroit Zoo, Orlando International Airport, or the London 2012 logo. I would like to do the London 2012 logo, but I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about it. It has definitely grown on me as I've continued to look at it. (although, I think I'm the only one. The general class consensus is "eww".)