Public outcry over London 2012 logo

Brand experts and graphic designers tend to like feedback after they design logos.

But creative consultant Wolff Olins can’t have banked on the huge and ongoing reaction to its London 2012 logo, which was unveiled on Monday.

Unfortunately for the award-winning agency the logo for the UK Olympic Games hasn’t kept off the national press pages for all the wrong reasons.

Over 48,000 members of the public signed an online petition calling for the new logo to be scrapped within days of its release.

The jagged, graffiti-like ‘2012,’ to be seen worldwide in four different colours, has been described as ‘confusing’ ‘hideous’ ‘unrepresentative’ and ‘loco.’

Despite its £400,000 price tag, it has also been branded ill-considered, following claims from health groups that its bright flashy colours cause fits among epileptics.

It gained another critic yesterday: The Migraine Trust announced it had been contacted by suffers, saying seeing the logo on TV had brought on a migraine, following symptoms associated with the condition.

An animated version of the logo is understood to be undergoing a rethink - for the health of TV and internet viewers.

But the logo creators and London 2012 organisers are standing by what they endorse as its “bold” design.

Wolff Olins, which has won ‘design effectiveness’ awards for creating logos in the past, was briefed to come up with an Olympic logo which demonstrated a “huge variety of usages.”

The logo must be compatible with sporting competition venues across the UK, appear in London and other cities, emblazon T-shirts, sponsor programmes and merchandise, and appear on vehicles and uniforms.

At the time the logo was commissioned, Wolff Olins was further instructed to create a design that would make the Olympics less corporate and more “street,” The Times has reported.

But one freelance logo-designer, whose clients include media companies, said the logo was more suited to the high street than actually being ‘street.’

He told Freelance UK: “I think the Olympics logo is hideous, and an absolute waste of £400,000. It's like a design on a bad T-shirt you would find in a charity shop.

“It's just ugly branding, that looks like it’s been designed by the [London Organising] Committee [of the Olympic Games]. It's repulsive and embarrassing to our beloved England.”

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, issued more targeted criticism, saying Wolff Olins should have had their fee withheld.

He told the BBC: “I wouldn’t pay them a penny. Who would go to a firm like that again to ask them to that work? I mean, this is a pretty basic thing.”

Despite the outcry, the official logo has inspired a global outburst of creativity from children, creative types, and not-so-creative types thinking they can do better.

The official website for London 2012 has seized the mood: it is providing online tools for people to design their own Olympic logo and potentially have it showcased on the site.

Meanwhile, supporters of the controversial logo have drawn up their own groups and petitions endorsing the design, yet these have failed to attract significant numbers.


 

8th June 2007

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