Olympic logo

2012 olympics logo

"Interactive" olympic logo: £400,000

Mascot design (and other ancillaries): Not included

Ah, but this is no ordinary logo. It "will be available in four colours – pink, blue, green and orange". Perhaps that's where the interactivity comes in.

It "is based on the number 2012 - the year the Games take place and includes the Olympic Rings and the word London." Genius. How did they come up with the concept? And the location and Olympic symbol are so cleverly and subtly integrated into the whole.

"The same 2012 image, with the Paralympic agitos, symbolises the Paralympic Games." Brilliant. So that £400k doesn't include any additional creative effort for the Paralympics, just a 5-minute Photoshop job to change the symbol inside the "zero".

"The powerful, modern emblem symbolises the dynamic Olympic spirit and its inspirational ability to reach out to people all over the world." How exactly? It helps if words combine in sentences to actually mean something, you know.

"This is the vision at the very heart of our brand. It will define the venues we build and the Games we hold and act as a reminder of our promise to use the Olympic spirit to inspire everyone and reach out to young people around the world. It is an invitation to take part and be involved" said Lord Coe. Get me a bucket. It's just a picture, Seb.

"The new emblem is dynamic, modern and flexible reflecting a brand savvy world where people, especially young people, no longer relate to static logos but respond to a dynamic brand that works with new technology and across traditional and new media networks." It must take years of training to learn to spout claptrap like this. I hope we're not paying for that training (of course we are).

"It will become London 2012's visual icon, instantly recognisable amongst all age groups, all around the world." Because any other image would have been visible only by certain groups of people in certain parts of the world?

"It will establish the character and identity of the London 2012 Games and what the Games will symbolise nationally and internationally." So that's not the job of the Executives then. We'll just leave it to the logo. It's going to look good chairing meeting and holding conferences. Though it may be a little quiet....

"Messages from the Prime Minister, Opposition leader David Cameron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacque Rogge and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven were aired at the launch". With a crowd like that behind it, what could possibly be wrong?

"IOC President Jacque Rogge commented: 'This is a truly innovative brand logo that graphically captures the essence of the London 2012 Olympic Games - namely to inspire young people around the world through sport and the Olympic values.'" Innovative? Right up there with the spinning jenny and the steam engine, I'm sure.

"IPC President, Sir Philip Craven commented: 'The new emblem for London 2012 is youthful and exciting.'" Or to quote the Bellman: "Just the place for a snark, there I've said it twice. That alone should encourage the crew. Just the place for a snark. Now I've said it thrice. What I tell you three times is true". But I suspect this snark is also a boojum.

"Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell commented: 'This is an iconic brand that sums up what London 2012 is all about'". I thought it was time, not Tessa Jowell, that established the iconic nature of things. And did she really mean to let out of the bag that what London 2012 is all about is bullshit? I mean, we all knew it Tessa, but couldn't you have kept up the pretense? As for: "It takes our values to the world beyond our shores, acting both as an invitation and an inspiration. This is not just a marketing logo, but a symbol that will become familiar, instantly recognisable and associated with our Games in so many ways during the next five years". Quick, get me that bucket again.

"Colin Moynihan commented: 'Standing alongside the Team GB logo, the new London 2012 brand represents the passion, inspiration and achievement which encapsulate Britain's Olympic Ambition. Together, I have no doubt that they will inspire those athletes who are aiming to compete as part of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and capture the imagination of generations of future Olympians.'" Because competing on behalf of your country to prove you are the best in the world isn't enough. Do it for the logo, guys.

Ken Livingstone, on the other hand, managed to sound positive without saying anything directly about the logo. He's a wily operator. I guess we know what he really thinks. Good on you, Ken.

Still, it was bound to cost £400k - that's the "going rate", as Gordon Farquhar observed. I must have missed Gordon's appointment to the Newsnight economics team. Oh sorry, he's still just a sports commentator. And not just a sports commentator, but a sports commentator at the BBC. Just the man to turn to for advice on market rates, then. Remind us, Gordon, when was the last time you commissioned a logo for an organisation? And did you simply accept the price you were told was the "market rate", or did you set a limit to the budget based on what you thought you could justify? Keep blowing those bubbles, Gordon.

Anyway, we shouldn't complain, because as Seb Coe explained on 5Live, this has been paid for by sponsors, not taxpayers. But what if those sponsors' £400k had gone towards something more useful? Would taxpayers have had to contribute less? Sorry Seb, but it's obvious that you were doing the rounds, and had lined up a load of your pals to tell us how superb it is and how much it symbolises the vision, and what great value it is, because you know there is going to be an almighty ruck about spending £400k on a logo for the Games.



From the BBC website, via comments on Iain Dale's site, the logo is being described as "Lisa Simpson Giving Head". Fantastic. Makes you proud to be British (the comment, not the logo).

Dear Committee,

Honestly. You just have to admit you have made an error and get a new logo. Try this, ask someone who is familiar with it to draw it without copying one in front of them. They won't be able to because it is an incoherent jumble of shapes. Jagged. Unpleasant. Pedestrian. Unremarkable except that it is meant to represent all the joys and hopes of 2012. And 100% guaranteed to be out of date in a year's time.

Please fix it. For your own pride, for the pride of London and for the pride of the Kingdom.

No Olympic logo, ever, has received such a bad reception. You may delude yourselves that it is because it is edgy and new and different but it is because it is just plain bad and it seems a lot of the money spent on it has been used to brainwash the Committee.

Best Regards



Agreed it's a lousy logo, as you illustrate nicely. But spend even more money on another one? I think we'd better just put up with it.

Perhaps we could ask Seb Coe and the other people involved to take a pay-cut in penance/compensation?


Well I'm afraid it's not over yet!  London 2012, in an effort to defend their logo has said "The emblem is flexible and will evolve over the next five years."  An admission of a balls up and u-turn if ever I heard one!

Does that mean more money spent on the damn thing?  Does it mean we're in for ever more ridiculous designs? 

I think this is what you're looking for!