Tuesday, June 05, 2007

That logo

You’ve probably seen it already, heard the complaints and possibly already made your mind up about it, so what do you really think of the London 2012 Olympic logo? Designed by brand consultants Wolff Ollins at cost of £400, 000, the organisers seem to love it while many of the public have vomited at the sight of it.

The idea behind it was to be”…dynamic, modern and flexible”, symbolising “the dynamic Olympic spirit and its inspirational ability to reach out to people all over the world.” International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge obviously feels it has managed to achieve this, saying that “This is a truly innovative brand logo that captures the essence of the London 2012 Olympic Games - namely to inspire young people around the world through sport and the Olympic values… the brand launched today by London, is, I believe, an early indication of the dynamism, modernity and inclusiveness with which London 2012 will leave its Olympic mark.” Well, at least they seem to be happy with it. And public opinion?

There has been a furore in some quarters, with a petition having been started already to change the logo or use the Candidate City emblem. 17, 000 had signed already at around 12pm today and 2, 000 more were reported to be adding their signatures hourly. To be completely honest though, I don’t hate it. But then, I don’t love it either.

My first reaction was, what are those shapes supposed to be? Then I thought, ‘Duh! They’re the numbers 2 0 1 2.’ All the same, on first glance, it isn’t really evident and I’m not the only person I know who didn’t realise they were numbers straight away. Then, there’s the font they’ve used for London, or “london” as they have it in lower case (which I have to say I don’t particularly like, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “disgrace” as some have, but I feel it takes away a little of the city’s importance). Granted the font is not the dreaded Comic Sans, but it’s heading that way. A big no-no. If ever you want some reasons why you shouldn’t use Comic Sans, please feel free to drop by the office or give my colleague Graham a phone, you might be talking to him all day mind you as he rants on about it. But back to the logo. Yes they want to appeal to young people, but that doesn’t mean they have to use almost cartoon-like writing. There is also criticism that the logo is imbalanced as both London and the Olympic logo appear at the top. This may be true, but it would have been difficult to place either elsewhere on the logo. And I don’t think it’s really that much of an issue.

With regards to the colours, red, white and blue would have been obvious choices, but at the same point, they reflect the heritage of the country staging it. What does shocking pink, blue and orange really mean. Vibrant? Yes. Modern? I suppose it depends how you look at it. He colours remind me of the 80s I have to admit, especially in the film
here about the brand. Which, while we're on the subject, I do hate. If the logo hints at the 80s, the film screams it, I feel like I’m back watching kids TV again, I keep expecting the ‘Grange Hill’ or ‘Why don’t you?’ tunes to come on, or, as my colleagues started singing when they watched it – Queen’s Kind of Magic. I feel a bit like it’s so ‘modern’ though it’s almost out of date already. And flexible? That’s a hard one to answer.

But, I did say I don’t hate it and have just spent the last couple of paragraphs pulling it apart. What do I like about it? It’s definitely different, and, memorable. It will, I believe have a certain appeal to kids and is reminiscent of street art which seems to be more and more prevalent in advertising at least at the moment. So perhaps it scores some ‘cool’ points there, (conversely, perhaps people will just feel they are trying too hard), but regardless, they are trying something new and by doing so are letting the world know that they will be taking the same approach to staging the games. Some traditionalists may not like it, but London is saying that it’s time to take the event into the 21st Century and really make it something to remember.

For me, the jury is still out. I like what they are trying to do at least, whether I actually like the execution, I’ll have to think more about it. Many of the general public might hate it, but I don’t see it being changed. And lets face it, do they really want another £400, 000 spent coming up with an alternative? I doubt it.

So, love it or loathe it, time to start getting used to the logo I think. It might look “like a car crash in Mr Men world” as CMM News (who is a fan of the logo incidentally) so nicely puts it, but we have 5 years to let it grow on us. What’s more important is the brand as a whole rather than just the logo by itself, that’s what the organisers will ultimately be judged on.

Update: The 'logo in action' film has now been withdrawn after it sparked epileptic fits in at least ten people. For those of you who did not have the misfortune to see the film, be very glad. However, what they have replaced it with is no more inspired.

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