2012 London Olympic Design: Did They Miss Their Mark?
As some may have already realized, there’s no lack of controversy associated with this year’s Olympic logo. Highly abstract and completely in contrast from logos released during prior Olympic games, the 2012 logo has been the subject of scrutiny and criticism among both established press and social media. Although not everyone disliked the logo, it seemed to gain more recognition for its flaws than anything else. In examining the logo from a designer’s point of view, there were several factors which probably contributed to the hit-or-miss style seen in the 2012 typeface.
Font Usage: One of the elements of the logo which is immediately noticeable is the type of font that is being used. Although the intent of the original designer may have been to select a more active or sporty type of font, the overall appearance translated into something that was very difficult for viewers to read. Choosing a font that complements the design instead of overpowering it is a crucial factor. The font provided on the logo ultimately clashes with the design and some individuals have even deemed the font purely unreadable.
Too Abstract: Sometimes, using an abstract design can be a welcome format when designers are seeking to appeal to a different audience or provide a more noticeable change in comparison to designs that have been presented before. However, perhaps one of the biggest problems with the 2012 Olympic logo is that it is too abstract. The lines of the overall design are mainly jagged and harsh, which can make it hard to distinguish shapes and other elements of the logo. Whether examining the Olympic logo or the designs on the Olympic tickets, it is difficult to determine what the design is trying to convey.
Color Scheme: The 2012 Olympic logo makes two serious mistakes in consideration of the color scheme. The first issue can be seen in the logo itself; the entire design is comprised of two highly contrasting, bright, clashing colors which are not friendly to the eyes. Some sources have suggested that colors such as bright neon yellow were selected because many people associate the shades with sports or highly physical activity. However, when these colors are combined with the jagged, abstract style of the design itself and the poor choice of fonts, the logo feels visually abrasive to the viewer, as if the logo were dropped on the floor and the broken pieces slapped together.
Meanwhile, the other problem related to the color scheme is instantly apparent upon examining the design of this year’s Olympic tickets; a completely different color scheme is used. Since the color schemes are so different and the designs vary, the viewer doesn’t automatically associate the two designs together, and looking at them separately, it would be easy to think that they were designed by two completely different artists.
Considering the amount of media coverage that a high profile event like the Olympics usually garners, it would be better to use the same color scheme throughout the campaign so that individuals would automatically associate related designs with the official logo.
Perhaps the controversy has been blown a bit out of proportion, but designers would be wise to try to please the people viewing their work, rather than stubbornly going forward with a design no one in the world likes.
Pat Walton has been covering design for over two decades and has written professionally for just as long. When Pat isn’t reviewing internet video production companies, he’s busy working in his recording studio working on his new album.