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Jul 29, 2009



I like you Ben, but I can't fucking STAND this logo. Still.

The only good thing about it is that I can still spontaneously snort with laughter when I randomly think about Mrs Belmot's brilliant alternative, put forward way back when:


(As an aside, I had a little trouble searching for my post, typing in 'logo' and 'olympics' in the search bar. Finally, for some random reason, I typed in 'shite'. What do you know - hey presto.)

Prescott Perez-Fox

I agree that the identity is cohesive, and the multiple parts do work together, but it's still fucking wacky. I still don't 'get' it, and I have yet to read a compelling reason on how this reflects Britain (past, present, or future.)

Being wildly different is sometimes an advantage in design, and can earn some nicely deserved attention. But in this case, it [still] fails to abide by the first rule of identity design: be appropriate.

Kieran Harrod

On it's launch I also quite liked it, particulary in the video they released (despite the whole strobing issues!) having seen it in use I also have come to like I more.

I don't think it's breathtaking but the figures seem energetic and desparate to jump off the page and do some kungfu.

And I do wonder how many designers have produced a logo that can take so much alteration and still be recognisable? Change the colour, drop the outline, throw some extra symbols on it, still you can tell what it is.

However, lower case L on the london? Wrong. And the coin. Ugh.


Prescott - why does it have to reflect Britain? Especially the past?


Came across this earlier and thought it would be apt to follow this post, a nice collection of Olympic Logos from 1924 - 2012


I agree with a lot of your arguments about the success of the branding, which has grown on me, but branding encompasses a lot more than just logo design.

As one element of the whole thing, that logo still looks incredibly weak, especially when dropped into a cauldron of Sunny D and turned into that god-awful Paralympics version. It looks like a logo having a seizure.

Love the Stamen work though. You just can't beat a nice-looking map.


We were discussing this in the studio just the other day. I'm still not liking it. Partly on a purely aesthetic level - ugly shape, ugly typeface (what's up with the circular 'o' against the angles of the rest?), overly hip colours (surely the 80s revival will be done by 2012?)

But more importantly, it doesn't suggest London, doesn't suggest UK, and doesn't suggest Olympics. It only just suggests 2012.

The Olympics are about outstanding brilliance in various fields. This really doesn't feel like outstanding brilliance. And that's a damn shame.


Just a small point, if I may: if the logo really is as brilliant as you suggest, why on earth would it need defending?

Mrs Belmot

I submitted a redesign for this project which many people liked but was apparently too late to adopt:

It may still be used for future Olympic committee projects.


I'm with you all the way Ben.

And it's just going to get better and better.


The thing is, above and beyond thinking it looks like someone shat all over the 80's, I don't even understand it! I can't read it. And I am intelligent. SUPER intelligent.

Janet, your logo got mentioned in the first comment to this post. It's been embraced, trust me.

graham peake

Still a 'no' for me.

Litmus test was when an old amigo of mine emailed me recently from his consultancy in Madrid asking 'where was the final design? This isnt 'it' is it?' after seeing something about it in the Spanish press.

This project has international reach and it isnt doing us in design and branding in London any favours internationally.

I really hope I'm wrong and in 2012 have a "doh" moment. But so far...


I defended it two years ago despite merely liking it as opposed to downright loving. Opinion hasn't changed really. Still generally supportive, would like to see more colour variations and less of the magenta.

One aspect that I felt was never really taken apart in all the discussion back then was the reliance of the motif on the year of the event. Funnily enough here is where they bowed to tradition too much. It just struck me as strange that it was so important to base the whole thing on the year, as if it wasn't clear enough when these Olympics would be happening. It's bad enough that people keep saying "twenty twelve" when just "twelve" would do (I know "London Twelve sounds strange but it would've set a good precedent to get used to imo). Everyone knows when it is and where it is, so a more innovative design may have dispensed with these aspects completely or just not made them so integral (a la Munich 72) whilst retaining the rings and at least providing a smart clue as to the identity of the host city.

Rob Mortimer


Still futurustic
Still unique
Grown on me
Used better now than 2yrs ago



Also Against:

* Not appropriate - it does not represent London in anyway. Youthful and street you say, really? Other cities don't have youthful street cultures? The 0 represents the shape of London you say. Fan fucking tastic. Well done for making such a flaccid connection to such a vibrant and exciting city.

* Most lay people hate it - Not important? For a festival of international sporting events it would be good to have an ident that can galvanise the nation. Galvanised they are in thinking that brand design is yet again clothing the emperor in new clothes - at their expense. Again well done.

* It's unique. Yes in that such an important piece of communication is completely shit, has not been replaced in spite of its shitness and managed to make the committee that approved it look incredibly stupid or incredibly stupidly brave and misguided. Yet again well done.


* the supporting design is quite brilliant and yes very exciting. I even like the supporting font in spite of it's harsh and ugly feel, it still has a dynamism to it. This though does not excuse the logo at all.

Sorry for the abusive language. Still feel incredibly passionate about it. Nothing personal unless you had anything to do with the logo design and approval.

Louis Downs

I really like it too.
I have always thought it was a unique piece of design, and also, I don't think a logo has ever provoked such a buzz, both possitive and negative. What a great bit of exposure.
Finally, it is nice for once to be ahead of the times in this country, we are normally so conservative about our public communication.
Bring on the games.


I don't see why it has to represent London anyway. Most of the previous logos haven't directly done this for their respective cities.

I thought the 0 was supposed to be vaguely representative of the Olympic flame.

I've been fascinated by the logo and the debate for 2 years and I guess that's a good thing. It's certainly made me think more about not just design but communication (ie improving my arguing skills heh).

Kate H

I don't have anything positive at all to say about this logo. Out of all the brilliant, clever, better logos there were out there at the time, this is an abomination. A terrible shame and let down for all Londoners. Including myself. It makes me ashamed.

When I first saw it, and only if I look really hard now, I still can't see the numbers 2 0 1 2. and all I see is the other thing....



I actually still believe the logo stinks, I think it's a terrible piece of design. The only positive thing I have to say for this design is that the various applications of the overall identity (NOT the logo but the colours, typography, shapes) do look very good!
As for the logo itself, it's just so incredibly bad...


I was writing my dissertation when the logo was launched, originally I had planned to write about the London Underground but quickly I realised the London logo was the topic for me. I remained unbiased in my dissertation and presented it from the point of view that the logo was the future of branding because it could be taken by corporations and their brand colours applied. I used the case studies of Red, New York as examples and contrasted it against the No Logo movement.

2 years on I still stand my dissertation and personally I still love the logo. It's fresh, it got the country talking about design and it didn't include brushstrokes. I love it for the fact that it's hideous. Everyone still tells me I'm wrong about my opinion and as a designer I should apparently realise how terrible it is but I remain fond of it.

The City of Melbourne's recent rebrand proves that flexible logos are the future but also is a more "tasteful" brand.


I never really got much chance to discuss/argue about the design with other designers at the time so there was this danger of just dismissing all the criticism as ignorant of the process, requirements etc. which I tried to avoid but it was tough at times. Most people slating it couldn't really back up their vitriol with actual reasoning or just weren't interested in doing so. I never did see an alternative suggestion that was really better (as opposed to bland, formalist and predictable).

I hope if England get the 2018 World Cup we can have this row all over again. :)


David - I started out observing that I liked it more and that turned into a defence. Hence the title of this post.

Why does it have to represent Britain?

Why is it a problem that it just says 2012? That's it's main USP surely?

What other Olympic logo accurately represents the city?

C'mon people - it's exciting! I really couldn't stand a self referential Munich helvetica wankfest.


It gives me an epileptic seizure even when it's standing still. And I'm not epileptic. Ugly central for me.


Was London added in at the end - was it an oversight?
Did no one tell the designer that the 2's would be more recognisable if they were both the same?

For me it looks like a bad attempt at graffiti for a Breakdance competition, created by somebody with a love for shell-suits.
Which is fine if that's the brief. The attempt to create movement is naive, a little scary, somebody give that guy a Wacom Tablet, the mouse is only moving at right angles :-)

Where does it say, liberation, elegance in movement? It is supposed to represent the greatest sporting competition in the world.

Is it growing on me, Yes, but then most things do, it is called familiarity. TisWas logo link below for reference!


Steve Leard

I'm still not sure about the logo myself, but I do applaud what they were trying to, and that's to liven up the logo and not have some tired, boring piece that most previous Olympic logos have been. And in this sense I think regardless whether most people like it or not, it will have a lasting legacy, as it will open up a lot more design avenues for future Olympic games, and people will remember who broke the mould.


I'm still sure that the '68 and '72 logos got a lot of criticism too.

I guess my favourite thing about it remains that, unlike any previous Olympic logo (iirc), it is completely self-contained. There's nothing outside the single entity, no text label (maybe having the 'london' in the 2 is a problem because you can't really read it most of the time...but then as I said above why include this detail anyway?). A satisfying balance of chaos and order there.


I love the logo as well. Its young and fresh, with vibrant colours and font. Something which reflects the fun and energetic nature of every sporting event. It stands out and doesn't have any stereotypical british imagery to it, or an irrelevant clip art symbol.
And I also like the way it transfers to the website where more eye catching colours are used. However I prefer the pink + white on a blue background (http://www.badassideas.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/london2012_logo.gif) rather than pink + yellow on white.


I still feel the same way as two years ago – I like it for what it's not. It could have been a bland mark with an abstract shape/generic figure/obvious nod to English heritage that fitted in with the previous 20 years of mediocre symbols.

Roger Chasteauneuf

Im really against it. I just think it lacks basic aesthetic quality. As simple as that . Yes its unusual and has got attention, but compare it to some of the other olympic logos and it looks terrible in terms of visuals. Theres a good article about olympic poster design here...
in terms of elegance I think they are all far above.


why do people keep banging on about how it has to reflect Britain? Name another olympic logo that has reflected its host nation. I don't think there is one. People seem to have different ideas about what this logo/identity has to do. Above all, I think it has to be exciting and it has to be applicable across many situations, it should be recognisable and it has to be cohesive. To me it has the potential to tick all those boxes.


Angus - if you were super intelligent then you would know that 80s didn't need an apostrophe.

I suppose the logo is quite punky, is that good? I don't know...


always disliked it - even more so for what it cost. I really could do with head hunting the sales people who did the pitch to push it through.

Logo Design

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.


It's like the Emperor's Clothes. The elite will pretend they can see something special in there, while the rest of us look at it and think "That's how the world will remember London 2012"

It will always look like Lisa Simpson doing unspeakable things to her brother".


I defy anyone to put this logo next to the one I've linked and not admit the linked one is better. As the above poster said, the elite pretend they can see something nice in something hideous because it helps them to be more pretentious.


I don't feel strongly about the logo one way or another. But I saw the countdown clock today in Trafalgar Square, the design of which seems to be based on the logo. Now that really is ugly. Sort of metallic mini-brutalist.

Account Deleted

I found very interesting discussion here! I admire your efforts. Thanks for everything guys.

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