The world has descended in droves upon the 2012 London Games organizing committee (Locog) site to view the widely criticized Wolff Olins logo design above. According to the Financial Times, nearly 350,000 unique visitors from 178 countries have dropped by for a look with hit rates doubling every 24 hours—all since Monday.
A Subjective Observation
We’re experts, brand agents, designers, keepers of the knowledge of all that sells and communicates, and some of you value our opinion on such things. Well, this one is bigger than all of us.
The new London 2012 mark is too acidic, too simplistic, too pedestrian and just too harsh in its styling for such an important worldwide event. Plainly, the aesthetic is lacking any real finesse. But the fact that we don’t like it is irrelevant to this particular brand.
10 Objective Observations
1. Memorable. Like it or not, if the new mark isn’t indelibly etched on your mind’s eye already, it soon will be.
2. Graphic. Bold counts, and this mark is nothing if not bold. It will compete with nearly any visual noise out there and hold its own.
3. Pragmatic. This suite of marks will reproduce well in any medium: print, web, interactive, television, apparel—no problem.
4. Malleable. The flat planes in this mark allow for a window-like view—albeit a broken window. All manner of messages can be displayed in its ample panes without compromising the core brand.
5. Colorful. It’s the Olympics. Color is a staple element of all Olympics. Color represents diversity, youth and vibrancy—this mark just ratchets it up an acidic notch or two.
6. Childlike. The 5-piece jigsaw puzzle design seems thrown together—too easy? Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso made careers out of such simplistic imagery. Simple often equates to memorable.
7. Different/New. Of course it’s controversial, there’s not a staid preconception within a kilometer of this mark—no human forms, no flags, no indigenous architectural graphics.
8. Descriptive. 2012. What’s fundamental in differentiating one Olympic from another? The year. “Do you remember Nadia in the 1976 Olympics…?” No misunderstanding which year belongs to this mark.
9. Consistent. Personal preference aside, the elements, stylings and schematics of this mark are sound and consistently deployed across the system.
10. Buzz. Game over. Mission accomplished. 350,000 unique visitors—since Monday? Wolff Olins should have negotiated a commission based on a “ubiquitous distribution” clause.
A Reflective Observation
In response to the world’s incessant need to socialize online, Wolff Olins even incorporated a social design experience. Site visitors are invited to submit their own design variations based on a given template. Here are 3 that caught our eye:
Eventually the public, this mark, and the controversy surrounding it will find comfortable harmony with one another. And then this will be the most memorable (and brash) mark in Olympic history.
An online petition asking for its recall was shut down after two days and nearly 50,000 signatures because the originator did not want to damage the reputation of the London Games. Besides, they’re too invested to pull the mark.
Even though we don’t care for the new logo aesthetically, we applaud the impact. It’s here to stay—ride that publicity wave for all it’s worth.