No aspect of design seems to get the popular press more feverish than logos. And the Olympics, rolling around as it does every couple of years (Winter included) and having a wider reach than almost any other brand, provides a practically unfathomable well of discussion for people who otherwise couldn’t give two shits about branding. Well, except for when they rename a favourite chocolate bar.
This week saw Budapest unveil its logo and brand for its 2024 bid to host the Summer games and very nice it is too. I suppose.
It’s just so very, Olympic-y. It’s pretty safe, uses the rings in a fun, if not particularly interesting way and can be successfully applied to a whole range of material (check out Design Week’s article ) but it’s just so… bland.
Aside from this, I would be a little concerned also about how the logo, featuring as it does a standing figure would work for the Paralympics. I know the figure is supposed to represent this statue, which overlooks the city but still.
Also, there was/is a really good restaurant in the citadel behind it. Try the risotto. I digress.
Tokyo’s Olympics still hasn’t got a logo (25/04 – update, yes it has) after the whole plagiarism row but it’s clear that they’re not going to add anything particularly earth-shattering to Olympic logo canon which is a shame when there are so many possibilities in a country with such a beautiful and rich aesthetic heritage.
Digital Synopsis has a round up of past Olympic logos and to my mind, it’s pretty obvious which one stands out. London 2012 is a remarkable piece of branding work. It was at the time largely considered an abject failure but its versatility, scope and sheer standout makes it a work of minor genius.
I think what people loathe about it is that it seems so unconsidered, so random. Comments from the time seem to mostly be of the “my kid could do better than that” variety but they don’t take into account how it was supposed to be used. It’s not difficult to find examples of how the brand and logo in use proved what a smart piece of work it was and is.
When going through a couple of old comments sections for this post I read comments that cited the logo as an example of how the government, the designer and the Olympics themselves held the British people in contempt. The fact that people think this at all speaks to the work’s success. It’s a virtual two fingers, a tiny island of punk aesthetic in a sea of habitual orthodoxy. And in this, it captures a facet of our national personality perfectly.
So go bold, Olympic logo designers. Show your captive, worldwide audience what you can really do and screw the haters. It’s Wolff Olins’ ironically timeless London 2012 they will be talking about in design schools in thirty years’ time. Rio 2016 will barely be a foot-note in logo history by the time Tokyo 2020 rolls around.