Why is the release of the new Olympic Logo is causing such a fuss?! (really wishing I had an interrobang (?!) on my keyboard now)
Algebra it is not. Reality it is. Public criticism from the left right and center all seem to agree, the new London Olympic Logo design is a complete failure, but this brand professional disagrees. To my surprise I read this blog entry on the Huffington Post, entitled: London Olympics Logo: A Design Disaster. (Not very neutral reporting is it, Arianna?) Is this really a disaster after all? I’d like to dig deeper into the criticism.
The logo, which was designed by the firm Wolf-Olins for the 2012 London Olympic games was unveiled earlier this week to a wide reaching, critical response. Here in the states, CNN’s Dr. Sanja Gupta broadcasted his worries about the strobing effects the animated version of the logo could have on those people with epilepsy and other disorders. A little pokemon deja-vous hysteria? Other topics of criticism cover the 400,000 pound (roughly 3/4’s of a million dollar) fee that the firm, Wolf-Olins received. I know the old belief that any press is good press. I usually tend to agree with this statement but the overall implications of this frenzy goes a bit deeper as I will soon address.
But first, it’s refreshing to wake up with the whole world buzzing about a branding project, eager to talk about a “logo”. That’s just it, really at the root of the problem. The need to talk about a LOGO. What’s been mostly overlooked by the critics is that the new Olympic “logo” is not just as a logo it’s an entire brand identity. This would be like focusing on a button of a dress and ignoring the style, fit and design. This identity includes positioning, and most of all branding the experience of Olympics and London in a very modern fashion. I am not sure if I am crazy about the actual animation yet, but I absolutely love the brand experience. Take a look at these images of the brand mark and it’s wide reaching applications through these images snatched from Speak Up – Under Consideration :
The logo itself will “evolve” as the event grows closer in time, is based on the numbers 2012. The logo comes in various colors: pink, blue, green and orange. I love how the brand experience has been applied to activities relating to the event as well as a distinct layering of London images. Wolf-Olins dedicated a web site to educating the public about the new brand, which I think is a bit of public relations brilliance. I highly recommend you read their description and watch the video of the brand unfolding from their site. Here’s a bit from their marketing position:
About the new brand
London 2012 will be everyone’s Games, everyone’s 2012. This is the vision at the very heart of the new London 2012 brand. It will define the venues that are built and the Games that London and the UK will host. The new 2012 emblem will use the Olympic spirit to inspire everyone and reach out to young people. It is an invitation to take part and be involved.
These will be a Games where everyone is invited to join in. A Games where people are inspired to either take part in the many sports, cultural, educational and community events leading up to 2012 or inspired to achieve personal goals.
Overall I really like this brand as I see it unfold. It’s obvious the strategy and thought behind the identity and I think over time it will grow on the public. However, I do have objections to the criticism over the fees Wolf-Olins received for their services AND the general public’s understanding of just what a brand is. The general criticism tends to be around a “logo” and that is not what was unveiled. Wolf-Olins unveiled a living breathing brand. Yes folks, A LIVING BREATHING BRAND!
As one who understands the depth and breath of the amount of research and creativity required to create a fresh brand from a stale tradition, effective strategy does not come cheap. In my opinion, the London Olympic logo successfully blends relevance and a connective quality to a pedestrian audience at large.
So back to that question again, is any press good press? In this case, I think so. I don’t think the public actually needs to love the brand right out of the gate, there’s enough of a relationship with the Olympics already. There is enough time for the public to create a relationship with the new brand, a symbol which will be more congruent with this particular city vibe than any other game is history. Through the overall strategy that’s been unveiled thus far, it’s obvious Wolf-Olins intends to heavily integrate imagery of London and all the participants including the athletes and the spectators throughout the campaign. IT’S THE OLYMPICS, AFTERALL!!! Therefore I predict the public perception will shift onto the relationship with the brand versus the aesthetic.