Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Olympic Logo Saga Continues

Okay, so controversy continues to build around the Olympic logo and this time its' supporters have delivered their case to the media. Doesn't anyone realize that Paris Hilton is still in jail?

First, sources say that the design firm behind the logo, Wolff-Olin, are pleased with the response the logo has received and that everything is going to plan. Uh-huh. Apparently they feel this nuclear burst of negative publicity was expected all along, and that the logo will "evolve" over the next five years to something everyone will want tattooed on their chest next to their tribal Clara Peller likenesses. Not sure I'm buying that, but I can't find a quote so maybe it's bunk anyway.

Next up refers to the pictures you see above you. On the left is what's called a "tanagram set". Chinese in origin, they're used to create indentifiable shapes like the pic on the right. A design studio in Chicago by the name of Coudal Partners suggests, among other things (ten in all, to be exact) that the logo's similarity to such an ancient puzzle game makes it "timeless". Other examples refer to mostly design elements of the 1980's, and may I say that even in the 1980's, the Olympics didn't care to use anything neon and, well, new wave of sorts. How did that competition fare? Did they sell a lot of t-shirts? Because I don't recall needing a lot of reminding that the Olympic Games were on their way, but I do remember a beach towel that I quite liked that had the '84 Olympics logo.

My personal view, after reading Coudal's views, is that it's still a huge miscalculation by a company who was paid well for their mistakes. It happens. I know they meant well, but all this analyzing is kind of missing the point for me. We don't need timeless for something that happens every four years. In fact, I'm not sure we need anything more than the traditional Olympic rings. A logo, in the end, catches on or it doesn't. Hardly anyone I know outside of the design and advertising business deconstructs the artists' vision when taking the half second to decide whether they like a logo or not. And let's face the heart of the matter, it's about what it will be on: t-shirts, mugs, hats...beach towels. Unless someone is dying to bring back the 1980's yet again, who's going to care how many different shades of day-glo it can service?

Apparently it works better in motion, which is saying something, I suppose. But it's when it's still that most of us will be delivering our consumer opinion.

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