Monday, 4 June 2007

2012 Olympic Logo -- Oh dear!

The new London Olympic logo was unveiled today amidst much fanfare and self-congratulation.

An excited Lord Coe, the London Olympic organising committee chairman, stated: "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. It is an invitation to take part and be involved.

"We will host a Games where everyone is invited to join in because they are inspired by the Games to either take part in the many sports, cultural, educational and community events leading up to 2012 or they will be inspired to achieve personal goals."

Well that all sounds very jolly hockey sticks and I admire the Committee's motiviation, however I for one find it hard to imagine that the garish neon logo can inspire anyone to do anything other than look the other way...or perhaps reach for the migraine pills.

This is undeniably London's decade. Having recently supplanted New York as the financial centre of the universe London has now, for the first time in almost a century, regained its status as "Capital of the World". Fate dealt this mighty city a great hand in offering it the opportunity to broadcast its newly-acquired status via the world's most visible platform: the Olympic games. The Olympic Logo should demonstrate the strength, confidence, vitality, pride and values of this city and its people as well as our message for the global community.

The Olympic logo should inspire. Yet I find myself looking at something not dissimilar to the admittedly accomplished doodling which, in the mid-1980s, used to grace the covers of the notebooks of my then 14 year old cousin. It is all very Blondie, Tiswas and Swap Shop. Indeed, the video that acted as the vehicle for the launch of this new logo, and which featured multi-coloured shards erupting through council estates and parks all over London, resembles the sort of low budget television programme one would watch on Children's BBC circa 1987.

One cannot help but wonder how much of the £400,000 that has been spent on this project was directed at market research. The old logo was not overly inspirational but it was attractive and easy on the eye. I do not want to appear as a negative Olympics-basher as I do in fact support the Games; I simply believe that we, by which I mean Londoners and Britons, deserve better than something which could be mistaken for the sort of cheap plastic jigsaw one would find in inferior christmas crackers -- and which disappointed children would eagerly swap for tipsy grandma's spinning top.

London is a city of design classics. The telephone box. The red pillar box. The policeman's helmet. The mini. The tube map. The London Eye. We are a discerning city. All we seek is something of which we can be proud. Come on Olympic Committee! Go for Gold!


James said...

I like the London 2012 logo; I think when you compare it to the previous Olympic logos it really stands out! It just looks so dynamic too.

JohnT said...

Great post, Rafal. Frankly, I couldn't agree more the logo really is a disappointment and as you say doesn't do London justice.

I like that the blogging / online community is doing something about it - see the comments here for two quite amusing adaptations of the logo - ouch!

Cato, author of said...

Rafe you are spot on with this issue. Alas, it seems that the current political class cannot manage even effectively to run a drawing competition. I saw five or six designs submitted by the general public on the BBC website which could easily merit adoption as the official logo, and some of these were dashed off in under an hour. The official design looks like the concotion of a four year old playing with some bits of felt.

Mandy said...

Someone (The Royalist, I think) posed the question, "What would Princess Anne think about the logo?"

She'd probably say "What the bloody hell IS that?"

I certainly did. :)

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo said...

Latest news is that the logo is here to stay but that Lord Coe is to stall payments to the design agency pending the results of an inquiry into prior knowledge of the epilepsy-inducing effects of the animated version of the logo. What a mess!