London 2012 Olympic Logo / A Disgrace
High profile logos always get criticized. Here in Nottingham UK, the cities logo was recently redesigned. The new design moved away from the Robin hood / Sherwood forest image and they came up with a wonky "N". When it launched it didn't go down too well. However the criticism that that received was nothing in comparison with the 2012 logo.
I would like to take moment to go through why I think this is a bad brand identity by looking at each element and then looking at the over-all persona it gives off.
The text in the logo are two examples of poor typography. The main shapes of the logo are supposed to say "2012". This Is the first problem. It doesn't immediately communicate this and looks to me like a few shattered pieces of jagged coloured glass giving the whole thing a complicated look. There seems to be a dash between the "1" and the "2" on the lower line for some reason. In my opinion, if you are going to use type, use it so that people can read it. A brand identity needs to have all its parts working to appeal to its audience. It shouldn't have any areas which cause confusion. If its going to be abstract, then make it abstract to a degree that doesn't cause people problems. If you want to get people to stop and look twice at something, do it in your poster advertising, not on your branding.
Included on these jagged 2012 digits is the word "London". It is in lower case and it is in italics. To me these are big no-no's. Italics are used to emphases type in large blocks and should be used sparingly as this format is difficult to read. Also for a brand as important to London as this one is, I think they should have used an upper case "L". There seems to be no reason why this is all in lower case.
The font is hand written and has been designed specifically for the brand. It looks a little like "comic sans" and to me is an embarrassment. Ok, the brand needs to look friendly but it doesn't need to look patronizing and childlike. What will the rest of the world think!
In today's brand infested society I feel that the typeface of a brand has become very important. If this typeface is supposed to communicate the Olympics then I think somebody has gone wrong. The Olympics are the height of professional competitiveness. Yes, it is about involvement at all levels but I think you should depict the top level so that others aspire to reach it, not the bottom level.
These look completely out of place on this identity. The ragged edges of the shapes do not seem to fit with the circles. They have been placed on the top right area of the identity and on the top right the word London appears. This brings a "top heavy" look.
I think the emphasis on directing the brand to younger people is the main mistake of this logo. By all means direct your messaging in posters, advertising or new media to a young audience but this brand should be all inclusive. By that I mean it should represent a high class athlete training 10 hours a day with a main aim of winning. I highly doubt a top athlete will look at this brand and think "yeah that really depicts what I'm doing here".
In my view this is not the way to approach the younger generation. Young people need something to look up to, it aspire to, this brand looks like something from nickelodeon and may well have a reversed effect.
It has been argued that although the brand isn't traditional, it is recognizable. In my view this is just an excuse. You could use this to justify anything in design.
I agree that this brand will be recognized but I pose a question. If you had a square with reverse out text saying "London 2012", would be recognized? Of course it would because this is one of the most important sporting events for the UK in recent history. Whatever is designed it will be recognized.
I agree we need to push boundaries but we need to build on the good things that make up a solid logo. What they have done is build on bad things and created a child orientated logo.
Overall I feel that it is not stylish, not aspiration and doesn't convey the Olympics to an all inclusive audience. What it does well is communicate vibrancy through its colours, a childlike persona through its style and a good example of a bad logo. The very thinking behind the brand, its target audience and its construction seems a little out of tune with what the Olympics in the UK is all about. This is a poor illustration of what our industry is capable of and I for one am embarrassed at this disgrace.
Creative Director Attitude Design