Monday, November 30, 2009

What does this say?

This is the logo for the London olympics. Wolff Olins were paid a whopping GBP 400,000 to design this. You'd think that if you spent that kind of money, you'd end up with a logo that can be understood by mere mortals, however that's not what we got.

When I look at that logo I see the numbers '2' and '0' at the top. That's relatively clear. However, the bottom section is just random gibberish. If I concentrate a little harder, I could convince myself that there's a '1' in the bottom left, but what the hell is at the bottom right? A square with a squiggle beside it? I can't for the life of me figure out what that little square is for. Is it part of the '2' or is it there because they wanted to write "20-12"? I really can't tell.

If you're going to design a logo for such an important worldwide event, why can't it be legible? Logo design should be about creating an inventive and visually appealing way of getting some information across. It isn't supposed to be about who can create the most obfusticated advertisement - that defeats the entire purpose! Out of this list of a dozen alternative designs my favourite is this one:

It may not be the best logo I've ever seen, but it does one thing right: It's instantly recognisable and understandable. I know exactly what it's about without having to spend 10 mins rotating the thing trying to make sense out of it.


Anonymous said...

I think the middle square is part of the second "2". If I take a look from longer distance, I can see the "2" clearly there (the problem is, that the "2" in the first line is of from one part, whereas in the bottom line it's from two..
I agree, that it took some time, after my brain accepted this logo :)
But don't worry, in Slovakia our goverment spends sooo much money for logos which do look so amateur, that all our country is angry about it....

Amber said...

The price is outrageous. Nothing unexpected there.

I think you'll find yourself proud of this logo because of it's zing, bang or general in-your-face value.

I do agree with the critical remarks. However your alternative?...

1. the slogan is illegible (fonts!!!?!)
2. the logo thingie is simply a Nike rippoff? Have Nike pay for the logo. Sports != Nike, for the record
3. Have the national committee for sports dentists sponsor the 'inner white ghost' thingie? The closest thing that comes to mind is a tooth.
3. The nice balanced choice (rather: avoidance of choice) of colors, make this Yet-Another-Windows-Or-Goole-Logo-Clone (TM)

In other words, a random selection of 'nice' shapes, like the pink screaming logo, only without the screaming part.

Alan said...

@Amber: Aye, I agree with most of your criticism about the alternative logo I picked out. I definitely don't think it would be a *better* choice, my point was that the logo was infinitely more visually understandable.

I'd disagree with your first point as I choose that alternative logo for the exact opposite of that - that logo *is* legible. Admittedly, the "play together, win forever" line is a little unclear, but i put that down to A) the small size of the image and B) the low resolution of the image. The important aspect of the logo - the fact that it represents the 2012 olympics in London - is very apparent.

As for your point about the colours, there was a reason behind the blue, green, red and gold, it wasn't just an arbitrary decision. Those colours represent the different states in the U.K. (N. Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales).

I don't have a problem with the colours of the official logo, my problem is that it's very difficult to understand what the logo represents. "zing, bang or general in-your-face value" should not take precedence over a logo which makes sense ;)

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