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Jun 22, 2007


Joe Clark

You haven’t explained *why you like it*, only that you do, that the published alternatives are naff, and that it was probably worth the money.

Bureau L'Imprimante

Anti-establishment? What has it to do with the olympic games?

Charles Frith

I said something similar here Ben.



Bureau L'Imprimante - I think you've answered your own question.

It has very little obviously to do with the Olympic games - hence, anti-establishment.


If you are designing it for the kids/future/mobile (and as yet unknown media) one does need to consider the well known effects of strobing lights. Whether or not is actually affected some people is one thing, but it did give solid ammunition to the logo-haters to jump up and down. Personally I think it is quite fun and the interactive version works. Yes the word ‘london‘ is awful but with all the press the icon has received (and will continue to receive) I think they could loose that bit completely and everyone would still know what/where it was.


Nice one Ben.

(Still not saying much about it myself).


Nice one Ben. I like it too. It's kind of like something you'd see on a CSS or Gossip record sleeve. Which is good.

And if the Daily Mail hate it chances are it's probably alright.


Ben, you know I really, really do hate the thing. But just one question: how does this dreadful logo and its graffito 'styling' relate with 'doing it for real' http://noisydecentgraphics.typepad.com/design/2006/07/advice_always_d.html ?


I do like it also, but i just dont think its the right solution for the olympics.

Rob Mortimer

Thank fuck for that. I was worried I was the only one.

If anything, the fact that people are debating it so passionately already makes it a success.

Its meant for the kids who will represent us. The 12-17 year olds in the east end. It HAS to piss people off or they wouldnt identify with it.

But surely even the most jingoistic of Daily Mail commentators would agree that better than all the blue and red bland ideas; doing something brave and unique is totally British; and captures both the Olympic and nation spirit.

But yes, the London type is awful.


I'm glad that there are no running men, or outlines of the Eye or Big Ben, but what I hate about the logo is the way it tries to engage kids by cynically emulating the current (and clearly shortlived) nu-rave scene, which I suppose would be fine for a logo that would be used for a year at the most, but not for something that has to last until 2012 and that has to appeal to other people, not just teenagers.


I returned from a trip abroad recently and was confronted with this logo on the tube from Heathrow. My first reaction was surprise, it was brave, colorful and different. I was surprised that the powers that be didn't go with something bland, meaningless and nationalistic. Then the outcry, everyone is talking about it, most people hate it, some love it. I have slowly fallen into the latter category for the following reasons:

1. I have seen it on a T-shirt and it is actually something I would wear, it's not conservative, it's not bland, it's fresh, abstract and memorable.

2. The grid this thing works on is insane. There are endless permutations of abstract patterns to be derived from it all tied back to an instantly recognisable theme.

3. I've seen the initial usage manuals showing the brand extension and it works on various levels: Motion, print, small/big, corporate, 3D, etc. It's much more thought out than has been revealed thus far and an entire type set has been designed around the 'london' type. The alternatives proposed via news outlets, bloggers, amateurs, and press hungry agencies are singular marks with absolutely not even an inkling of thought towards anything involving brand extension.

4. The cost. £400,000. I hate to say it but Wolff Ollins probably 'lost' money on this. They had a staff of 60 working on it for a year. 60 x salaries or hourly rates (big swinging dick agency rates) of even part time labor shows that the UK got it's monies worth and if you think that the logo is 'it' it's not see 3. In regards to Ken: What was the olympics supposed to cost in the first place? £2.1 billion. What's it up to now? £9 billion. Whose paying for it? Londoners are. Will the final price be more than that? Abso-fuckin-lutely. Should I thank you personally Ken or that over-inflated head floating above London - you know - the one with that massive shit-eating-grin on it's face.

5. It's non-nationalistic and contains no facile phallic or yonic symbolism. It cares nothing for jingoism of any sort. The London that I know and am proud of.

6. I can't wait to see the pictograms.

7. At least people stopped talking about Madeleine.

8. Hate is love not yet understood.

9. Pink probably wasn't the best colour to show it off in. People react to colour first and non-designer colour averse types can sink a ship before it's left harbor. I've had mockups dismissed outright, no consideration of structure or functionality because people cannot, for whatever reason, get past the vagaries of colour it can become the only thing they 'see' - "Sorry, I didn't know that your grandmother killed by an Orange truck."

10. One of the people involved with the released and supposedly spasm triggering motion pieces is ironically epileptic.

11. It should appeal to kids and teenagers first foremost as they are the future olympians. Screw the adults, we're boring.

PS: I posted this on design observer previously, though this has been expanded upon.


Livingstone was also at a press conference a week or two ago praising the logo (possibly because it was in front of the IOC representatives who had come to visit the stadia being built) so we should discount his opinion entirely!


Elequently put Ben/Nathan. Not withstanding the London type, this logo is extremely well positioned to fulfil the 'it grows on you' role. And yes, the pink version is the most publicised because it's the easiest target. I can't imagine the balls it took to push this through the horrible beurocratic nightmare that must have been involved in the launch.


I'm enjoying this. Some great questions/points have been raised. I'll try and answer them soon.


"7. At least people stopped talking about Madeleine."

Nathan nails it (see above).

John Dodds

But what about the branding nonsense that was spouted in the accompanying press release - it was that which really annoyed me.

And, unless I missed it, you haven't addressed the interesting aspect of the design - namely that the sponsors are going to be able to add their own colours and create corporate versions of the logo. Does that in any way diminish the impact of the logo?


I shouldn't have any objection, everybody is free to have their own opinions and tastes... But I'm still shocked... I can't believe that London, my reference of design, reason why I moved here, has chosen this S***.

I agree with David, as he says (and I took the licence to "copy / paste"):

"I have a message for Mr Wolff, Mr Olins and the late Mr Landor: you were once proud to call yourselves designers, but somewhere along the line you decided that business was more important than design; and so you allowed the companies that bear your names to become 'brand businesses'; and in the process you sold your souls."

We are graphic design, and yes... some times we have to do Graphic prostitution, but trust me... That would be one good dream project for most of us...

We communicate, I can't see even a shape of a logo... to me it's random square stains, while at least Barcelona'92 (which I confess I LIKE, and is not because I'm from there...) express the spirit of sport or Olympics... And I'm not really fan of Tries (the barcelona's logo).

Oh, well, as you say... I'm talking too much maybe... or maybe I shouldn't be that worried... but I love my job...

Just to finish... Couple of things that I have seen and heard, re-adaptation of the logo (http://www.fotolog.com/bluekiwi/22845210). And than someone else said: " it looks like Lisa Simpson giving a bl** job".

Well... Sorry for that.


"It's kind of like something you'd see on a CSS or Gossip record sleeve. Which is good."

Which means it will look amusingly dated in about 5 years.

Ben Ward

Dislike has faded to utter indifference for me. The ‘London’ text is still appalling and will be the lasting flaw that I suspect I never manage to forgive.

I completely agree about the media ‘here's one I made in 20 minutes’ reaction, though. It's going to hurt for a while that the industry is devalued like that. Of course I'm sure that those on popping up on the tele just spied the chance for the self promotion and opportunity to undercut their competitor.

One slight correction: As wildly popularist as Ken was being with his ‘I wouldn't pay for it’ comment, he was actually referring to the epilepsy-inducing animation, *not* the logo itself. He was arguing that because the company producing the video had not met well established legal requirements they should not be paid. Either he or the reporting media decided to munge that argument into the general ‘Ugh! Logo!’ sentiment though.

I think my apathy reflects the logo as a failure for me though; all this talk of getting young people energised and inspired has fallen rather flat to this 23-year old, and I think it stinks of someone trying too hard to empathise with youth.

Meh, we're stuck with it.


I wasn't sure about posting this - I worried it might be too late. Your brilliant comments mean I was right to post.

Joe - I like it because it provokes a reaction, it's different, it's leading and not following, it's flexible and it's vibrant. I'll admit that I don't love it, I only like it. But I like it for those reasons.

Caspian & Felix - I don't think it was designed for the kids. It's aimed more at them than a 60 year old for sure, but I don't think it's exclusively aimed at children. It can't be.

David - I don't think we're going to reach a consensus on this one! Regards 'doing it for real' I don't think it is supposed to emulate graffiti. I think it's more a series of graphic shapes a bit like very early Malcolm Garrett or Neville Brody. Regards the 'Curate's Egg', I hate the type but it doesn't spoil the whole effect for me.

Freeza - The Olympics is (supposed to be) a politically neutral, forward thinking organisation and exactly the sort of people who should be pushing the boundaries of all types of design. They're not bound by shareholders and their reach is truly global.

Nathan - Regarding point 9, that's very true. I've seen it in other colours and pink is the worst variation.

John - I love the fact that sponsors can add their own colours. I saw a Lloyds TSB version the same day it was launched and it looked great. I love that flexibility and I think that will add to the spirit. So, no, I don't think that diminishes the impact of the logo.


Has anyone noticed that the '0' is the shape of London?

Rob Mortimer

I also liked the Lloyds TSB version, I thought the more subtle colours looked good on it.

Charles Frith

Ben. Erm yes. Think it is isn't it?

Alex Parrott

Is it London?

Ive been thinking, since I first saw the logo, the the shapes must represent something (other than reading 2012) – they are far too individual to be random shapes, and the fact that both the 2's are different suggest they havn't been taken from an exhisting typeface.

I think the '0' looks like Australia, and with a skewed look at the worlds continents (which the 5 olympic rings represent) the first '2' could be America and the '1' Africa. Could the small diamond be Europe?


My daughters like the logo.


My eight year old son said he thought the logo was cool.
I have to say I really don't like it but think the media fuss/publicity it has gained is something that money could never buy, we have more people talking about design (& the London Olympics) than when would have if the identity was safe.
Five years is a long time in design so it will be interesting how the image/images evolves.


Oh dear.

So because indeed the logo is a "brave" one it automatically makes it a good/working one ? Also, just because people speak about it makes it a success ?

I mean, come on.

Braveness by definition includes the risk of failing and yes, although this logo is a brave move it nevertheless fails.

There are many reasons why this is the case (i.e. doesn't WORK as a logo), one of them being it doesn't attract the (or big portion of) TARGET GROUP.

Yes i know they said they wanna cater to "the youth" (whoever that is) but first of all the youth is not the only/main target group and second, how do they know the logo is accepted by "the youth" ?!

The funny/sad thing is that most of the deciion makes that said the logo was "youthful" are middle-aged to old people so what do they actually know ? They just *think* the logo is "down with the kids" just like your uncle from the 60's thinks to say "groovy" would make him young.

Furthermore, how can a logo that will have his primetime 5 years from now be so dependent on a TREND ?! In this case clearly the 80's revival - like, even if it *was* meeting the current taste of young hipsters i strongly doubt the 80's will still be in fashion in 5 years from now.

This logo fails on so many levels as a LOGO i can't find enough words for its failure so i'll stop now :)


deciion makes = decision makers


Totally agree about unhelpfulness of Tyler Brulee gassing away on BBC Breakfast. Perhaps if he and his team spent less time knocking up alternative logos for the Olympics they could start making magazines that arent terminally f*cking boring.

also how come everyone is saying the 'london text IS awful though' with no reasoning whatsoever. looks alright to me. you'll be using the font ironically in 10 years time anyway.


Its not brave or unique. Its horrible. Its middle aged predictable men designing something 'for the kids'. terrible. It was on MTV in about 1992. Why not give the job to a few young, truly fresh designers working together instead of an old, predictable, corporate agency. That would of been different. Still found myself defending it tho.


A vast improvement on the contrived London bid logo. I'd like it a lot more if they would:

1. Sort out the London typeface.

2. Expand the colour palate. It's such an identifiable shape, why have it the same colour twice? Magenta, yellow and cyan seem a bit obvious.

And most importantly:

3. Avoid using the shapes to frame pictures. It'll never work.


Well I think the fact that they reduced the rings to one single colour may be slightly blasphemous to the olympics creedo, and sacraligious.

Though as a whole piece I think I could learn to like it, and see its potential benefits. It's definately memorable and recognisable. However, while I could learn to live with it (and defend it), I cannot help but think that they could have created something much better, whilst still answering objectives stipulated on the brief. I mean seriously, I think their could be something better for sure.

I think there are illegibility issues as well with the numbers, especially the second two. Like Alex said, it must have some other connected meaning! Musn't it!?

Once rationalised, the design itself doesn't look as bad, and is more justified (though you can defend a bad design well and make it mediocre, which happens daily around the world - fancy words really can save you, even though they shouldn't). But the general public probably won't know this, and secondly won't understand it (or won't want to understand it - since they are so easily manipulated by the media and love to jump on the hate bandwagon).

It's ok. I think it's retrospective style will date quickly. It's unrefined and its awkward. With a little more refinement I think it could be good.

Lastly I just think some people are defending it for defense sake though. I know I defend work when critiqued harshly when in actual there may be better solutions...Enventually I have to come to terms with the fact that it is not working, and it could be better. I think its similar in this case. We are trying to defend it, but deep down we know its not really that outstanding.

Jonathan Salem Baskin

What if the entire sorry chain of events were part of a thoughtful strategy to engage with consumers...not in some generic, 'awareness is everything' Web 2.0 exercise in wasting our time, but a planned campaign with a direction and ultimate purpose (i.e. selling tickets, raising corporate money, driving viewers to the events)?

I've written that fantasy business case history at http://dimbulb.typepad.com. Were it only true...

Guilherme Tavares

One big trouble about designing olmpic logos is that the olympics already have a very good enough logo - the rings - which are simple, clean and communicate all it should with maestry.
Then, one have to input that great logo inside a new one, somehow. Designers create logos with "breath area limits" not for any reason.
When you mix the logos youre already invading other logo with extra graphics you shouldnt.
That makes the job much harder, but not impossible. It is up to the designer to come with a resonable solution of integrating both things.
i don't really think that logo has it. The rings are just there, not intgrated, there is no clever catch if you know what I mean.
It looks very 80's to me. VERY 80's.
I wonder also how it looks reduced? the word london will not be readable.
Anyway, you have good points there in your post. I don't disagree with you, but thats just not enough to make it good as it should be for the event.

caroline panico

someone suggested it looks like a blow job in motion...im not commenting on that one.
I think that the fact it will date is possibly the point, interestingly I think almost all the submissions I have seen have looked a bit 80's which would kind of tie in with the css comment in an electro-retro way. At the end of the day its never going to make anyone happy least of all The Daily Mail, which has got to give it a few points at least....


i like the graphics...i mean, is totally different from other olympic games...is very urban and quite punk like Jamie Reid stuff.

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