Global Uproar Over London Olympics Logo

11 June 2007

AUKLAND: Even on the opposite side of the world, the controversy over London's 2012 Olympics logo is raging, memorably summarized by a headline in Friday's New Zealand Herald: 'Logo Looks Like A No Go'.

If good design - like beauty - lies in the eye of the beholder, beholders in large numbers are blowing a fanfare of raspberries at the Olympic creation of UK branding agency Wolff Olins.

By Thursday evening, over 45,000 'signatures' had been posted on an internet petition calling for the logo to be scrapped; and though there are other petitions endorsing the design they have so far attracted a negligible number of signatories.

And despite Thursday's declaration of support from event sponsor Visa, there is a deafening silence from the event's other commercial patrons.

Even the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has declared his opposition and suggested the fee be withheld from Wolff Olins: "I wouldn't pay them a penny," he said. "Who would go to a firm like that again to ask them to do that work? I mean, this is a pretty basic thing."

While former sports minister Kate Hoey went straight to the core of the matter: "This could have been a wonderful logo that would have sold this great city," she said. "But it has only sold someone's ego."

Conservative MP Philip Davies, a member of the House of Commons culture, media and sports committee, was of like mind. "It is incredible that someone has been paid £400,000 ($791.9k; €588.5k) to come up with this garbage," he opined.

However, the logo does have one loyal supporter - Michael Wolff, co-founder of Wolff Olins, now running his own independent business.

His former colleagues, said Wolff, had come up with something "entirely new". He added: "Prejudice is comfortable and lazy. I think most of us will come to see this symbol as a breakthrough."

Criticism of the design is swelling blogs worldwide, one likening it to "a rejected logo of an early 90s children's programme"; another, "a failed soft drink label". It is also drawing unfavourable comparison with its Beijing 2008 counterpart.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff