The 2012 London Olympic logo controversy

It’s not really new anymore, it was actually launched in the summer of 2007. When it was released by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, headed by Sebastian Coe (head of the London bid in 2005 and former Olympic athlete), everyone was in uproar. And the uproar was not good. Not good at all. Almost immediately there was a petition underway to redesign the identity, government officials were wondering how such a shape could have cost £400,000 (at that time almost $800,000) and the Epilepsy Action Organization claimed that it had received calls from people who had suffered fits after seeing it.

2012 London Olympic Logo

So why does it look the way it does and what’s the meaning behind it? Here are some snippets from the press release that help explain it, some what…

The powerful, modern emblem symbolises the dynamic Olympic spirit and its inspirational ability to reach out to people all over the world. London 2012 will be Everyone’s Games, everyone’s 2012. This is the vision at the very heart of our brand. It will define the venues we build and the Games we hold and act as a reminder of our promise to use the Olympic spirit to inspire everyone and reach out to young people around the world. The new emblem is dynamic, modern and flexible reflecting a brand savvy world where people, especially young people, no longer relate to static logos but respond to a dynamic brand that works with new technology and across traditional and new media networks.

And here are some words from the designer Wolff Olins…

Echoing London’s qualities of a modern, diverse and vibrant city, the London 2012 emblem is unconventionally bold, deliberately spirited and unexpectedly dissonant. The emblem’s form is inclusive. It can talk to anyone. It has incredible flexibility, yet is consistent. Behind the emblem is a dynamic grid from which comes a distinct visual language. A palette of colours, lines and shapes that create energy, inspiration and interest across every application.

So what does Ashworth Creative make of all this?

Well, it’s complicated. The head of the Olympic committee said:

This is a truly innovative brand logo that graphically captures the essence of the London 2012 Olympic Games — namely to inspire young people around the world through sport and the Olympic values. Each edition of the Olympic Games brings its own flavour and touch to what is now well over a century of modern Olympic history; the brand launched today by London 2012 is, I believe, an early indication of the dynamism, modernity and inclusiveness with which London 2012 will leave its Olympic mark.

2012 London Olympic logo colors

This is where we feel the identity succeeds. Whether or not you actually like the logo, it is extremely memorable and unique. It certainly creates an emotion, perhaps more so than any of the past Olympic logos (can you remember any of them?).What has been created here by the designer is a visual mark or language that can be incorporated across all media without being reduced to boring and trite repetition. This brand will evolve, adapt and grow. There is much to happen to it yet. The task that is in front of it is extremely daunting and complicated and we have not seen the full picture. Perhaps it does feel clunky, obnoxious, ugly and daft in its basic state but we live in an ever evolving, changing and growing world. Perhaps we have to hold our tongue, be a bit patient, trust the designer’s vision and see where it leads.

For those of you that just might be interested here are some links to further enlighten you…