As Alice Rawsthorn noted in a piece in today’s New York Times, the reaction to the London 2012 Olympics logo has been vitriolic since it was first unveiled back in 2007. It turns out that it’s so bad that even non-design types find it offensive.
“Garish colors, aggressive shapes and dodgy typography were just a few of its design crimes. Some thought it looked like a swastika. Others spotted Lisa Simpson doing something unmentionable. The animated version caused seizures among some people with a particular type of epilepsy. Fly posters appeared across East London featuring an unofficial version of the logo in which the numbers 2, 0, 1 and 2 were replaced by the letters of an off-color word.”
Rawsthorn feels that when a logo is as visible and expensive as this one, it should in turn be well-designed. Makes sense. Especially when it’s representing London, a city that has produced some of the most names in graphic design history. Her suggestion: That they go vintage, and pay homage to Lance Wyman’s geometric graphics for the Mexico City Games in 1968 or Otl Aicher’s elegant work for the Munich Olympics in 1972, as seen below.
It should be noted that Wyman thinks we should give the London 2012 logo a chance. Which is exactly what organizers said in the face of the original backlash, claiming that the logo would “evolve over time.” Rawsthorn, for one, is not buying it. And she insists that she’s not alone.
“I wish I could say that the London 2012 logo has grown on me, as the organizers predicted, but it hasn’t. Everyone else I’ve asked feels the same — designers and ‘civilians’ alike. Far from being ‘ahead of its time,’ it looks increasingly like the graphic equivalent of what we Brits scathingly call ‘dad dancing,’ namely a middle-aged man who tries so hard to be cool on the dance floor that he fails.”
So what do you think? Should they go back to the drawing board, or is there a way to fix the current version? When it comes to the Olympics, does sport ultimately trump design?