03 JUL. 2012

Branding Strategies Behind the London Olympics Logo

When the official London 2012 Olympic logo was unveiled in 2007, it sailed into a media storm of controversy and public criticism. Many find the logo disassociated to London and sports or simply unpleasant to look at. The public made many interpretations on the internet, attempting to dissolve the real symbolic meanings behind the logo. What are the branding implications and strategies behind this logo design? What revolutionary changes did the logo adopt? And more importantly, how can it trigger public interest and attract sponsors with its unprecedented design?

The organizers firmly believe the logo can engage with youngsters and excite sponsors. With all the letters designed angular and slanted, the logo is a combination of the numbers “2012” looking vaguely like the melding of Greek stone carving and graffiti lettering. The unconventional design was meant to create a palette of colors and lines that can spark energy, interest and inspiration. "We don't do bland. This is not a bland city. We weren't going to come to you with a dull or dry corporate logo that will appear on a polo shirt and we're all gardening in it, in a year's time. This is something that has got to live for the next five years," explained by the London 2012 chairman, Sebastian Coe.


The use of lines and colors is unconventional and the committee allows sponsors to apply minor changes to the logo during advertisements. The logo is being unconventionally implemented and even alternated in the print and online media of the official sponsors. For instance, in the Coca-Cola partnership print ad, the Olympics logo and the British flag were equally placed beside the classic arc-shaped Coke bottle. There was never a case in previous Olympics that the product logo itself is bigger than the Olympics logo within a printad. Similar cases can be seen in the Atos and McDonald’s ad where the designers used different colors for the original Olympics logo. The logo fits seamlessly into all the corporate colors and stands cohesively alongside any company logos. The high degree of flexibility and ease of production is definitely one of the phenomenal traits of the logo. Thus, this design openedup many opportunities forcorporates to designfuture related products, maximizing brand recognitions and fostering esteem for brand loyalists.

The logos of the modern Olympic Games have always been powerful and iconic. As technology advances and visual representations evolves, the role of the designs is not merely a symbolic representation of the time, place and sports spirit, but a facilitation of the seamless communications between the games and its audience, just like how a brand strategically communicates with its customers.The uniqueness of the logo might have sparked unforeseen controversy among public, but the sharp colors, strongly recognizable form and its compatibility with other patterns are the core strengths that lie within. Therefore, the logo not only insists on representing London’s pride on being a city of innovation, but also carries out multi-million commercial values. 

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