Olympic Logos – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Branding | Opinion

July 30th, 2012

featureimage_olympics

With the Olympics well underway and the late nights and early mornings now in vogue for the next 2 weeks you will get used to seeing the 2012 London Olympic logo and branding plastered around the various Olympic venues and townships.

Now it’s fair to say I’m not the biggest fan of the 2012 design or the £400,000 price tag that accompanied it. However, since the Paris 1924 Games, the first Olympics to boast an official emblem, there have been many and varied logos with varied amounts of success.

The Good

Maybe a bit of a surprise addition but this logo for the 1960 Winter Olympics hosted in Squaw Valley, California is a good honest effort from a struggling ski resort. The story of how the area won the bid is fascinating as is the dynamic snowflake effect the original designer aimed to produce in his insignia.

Alright, I know I’m ridiculously biased (please send emails) but the Sydney 2000 Olympic logo represents much of what Australia has to offer with careful reference to both Australia’s earthy texture and heritage and the Olympic Games.

Obviously the first word that comes to mind is ‘boomerangs’ but the touch of the blue Olympic torch/Sydney Harbour Bridge really links both entities together smartly.

The Bad

Very distant from the normally friendly, inviting emblems that most countries aim to produce – the 1960 Rome Summer Olympic logo presents a malicious design that would more than likely frighten travelling tourists and competitors rather than welcome them. If any of you out there are thinking what is this supposed to represent – it retells the story of the Roman she-wolf, from which Remus and Romulus are suckling. They are the twin brothers who, according to legend, founded the city of Rome.

Also interestingly this is the only Olympic Logo not to have the host countries name somewhere in the design.

Okay before you say “I’m noticing a few similar elements here from the 2000 Sydney logo” let me just say it’s all about the finish. I know my work colleagues, our clients and the most suffering of all, my close friends, have heard me harp on about this before – What were they doing with the font?!

Come on 1992 Barcelona Games you’re better than that! A country so rich in culture, history and organic matter you would expect them to at least try to get past the default Word font when producing the final product.

The Ugly

Well here it is, the logo that has divided opinion between design and effectiveness. The 2012 London Olympic Emblem certainly has gathered publicity and momentum in the build up to the games, so in that respect it has worked exceedingly well. However I’m afraid that is where the plaudits stop. The wacky shapes and various colours seem to be designed to appeal to today’s web 2.0 generation and they have even turned their back on it.

I couldn’t help but include the ‘Bart and Lisa’ representation of the logo that has hit the blogosphere. Classic.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the Green and Gold being awash the Olympics although Atlanta 1996 wasn’t necessarily what I had in mind. A nice idea, with some nice movement and shapes however basically it seems the design team accidentally pressed ‘invert’ on the background colours before being sent to print.

Well, enough of my diatribe. Looking forward to seeing what the Adelaide bid for the 2024 Olympics looks like. We would be due, surely?