I’m writing this fully six months after the London Olympics 2012. An Olympics which were highly successful, particularly from a British perspective, both in terms of organisation, sporting success and spectacle.
From the sheer genius of Sir Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony (above), the 2012 Olympics was a complete success. Then there’s the logo. Released a couple of years earlier to widespread derision. Not helped by the £400000 price tag.
Many of those attempting to defend the logo at the time of the release said it would grow on us. That it was visionary, we would ‘get it’ later. Well now we are in the future, let’s have another look.
It is atrocious. The colours, the font, the shapes. It had to be pointed out to me, the shapes represent 2012. Thank goodness the brand became the opening ceremony, the stadium and the athletes. Showing an excellent product can survive a terrible logo. But it must be truly exceptional.
When you are in a hole stop digging
I found this interview with the logo’s creators Wolff Olins on Wired magazine. www.wired.com/design/2012/08/olympic-design/.
‘Wolff Olins didn’t try to clamp the same exact image on everything. It’s a factor of their design that allows schisms — the logo, the colors, pretty much everything they created can be adapted or altered to fit the needs of different users.’
‘Schisms’? So different versions and variations of a logo subject to different needs. So, pretty much what every brand does with it’s logo then. Look for example at the variations used on Carlsberg or Coca-cola lorries, as opposed to their product packaging. Different environment, different solution, but within some shared rules. Although the more inconsistent the logo, the weakening of the brand, and shows a lack of confidence in the core logo. A clear sign Wolff Olins knew from the beginning, their logo didn’t work.
Dig dig dig dig
“The logotype emerged from what we called an energy grid,” says Wolff Olins chairman Brian Boylan. “Its shape comes from a grid which lies behind, and that grid in turn was used to create pattern which was used for the look of the games. If you look at the stadium itself, the color pattern for the seating is taken from this grid.”
Really!? Did you manage to say that with a straight face? The dreadful font, best described as ‘comic sans sharp’.
‘Pleasing the crowd wasn’t part of the goal, says Ije Nwokorie, Wolff Olins’ managing director.’
So, having been told by pretty much everyone they didn’t like the logo, they then claim that that was deliberate, like a particularly obnoxious spoilt child, that must always be right.
If only Wolff Olins were as good at design as they are at talking ‘branding bollocks’.