Archive for June 8th, 2007

Creative of Tonbridge Wells

There was a nice article in the Independent yesterday talking about the outpouring of creativity following the new Olympic logo announcement. Send us yours they say, shame they’ve not got round to publishing any yet. The Daily Mail has, along with the Sun and BBC online as well as the 2012 group themselves.

Let’s face it this logo was doomed from the start, the likes of the Mail and Express had probably written the copy months ago, they were only going to be satisfied with the Queen mum dressed as a beefeater upon a union jack draped bulldog jumping Big Ben or something. There’s now a a lot of ‘what’s wrong with the old one!’ (We see this a lot when the Bank of England introduces new shaped currency – though there was little fuss about the new £20 notes strangely) A lot of people want to keep the logo that won us the games, maybe because it’s tied up in our minds with 7/7?

So, as in times past, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, outrage, disgrace, and a ‘child could do that’ etc… so far so British. The natural perpetual state of the Englishman is to believe the country’s going to the dogs, to rack and ruin, stop the world I want to get off. We’ve become a nation of complainers, not in a ‘out on the streets storming the barricades’ kind of way, but in a moaning letter writing way, complaining not about erosion of our civil liberties or the right to protest within 1 mile of the ‘cradle of democracy’, but on the choice of contestants on a TV game show – after all it’s far easier to dash off a email or add a splurge a comment on a website about something inconsequential these days that actually do anything about it.

Except in the case of the London Olympic logo lots of ‘children who could do that’ have actually had a go, as well as teenagers and adults. Despite what you think of the logo, you can’t deny it’s been a catalyst for the public to start designing – that’s a good thing I think. No one did this when the Millennium Experience man logo came out, and everyone hated that remember?

Mullenium Man logo

Mullenium Man logo


So a similar outpouring of moaning; ‘waste of money’ looks rubbish – zero creating a better version as far as I remember. Why is that? Well I reckon its two things. One, we have better access to creative digital technology, we can not only create stuff much easier, but we can distribute and promote it much faster too. We’re more visually fluent, we’re taking more and more pictures of our lives, and are world is now saturated in imagery. Second is the fall of the expert – or perhaps that should be the rise of the amateur – With vast amounts of information and increased leisure time, anyone can voice their opinions on everything from creationism to composition.

This isn’t always a good thing mind. If you look at a lot of the entries, they look like t-shirts you see in souvenir and other tourist stalls and shops don’t they?

And I should know having had a job in Athena on Trafalgar square in 97. Is London no more than Big Ben, beef eaters and the underground roundel? We’re often guilty of over-venerating our design classics. The routemaster bus: outcry at its replacement, but they were cramped, noisy, a nightmare for the disabled and most were over 50 years old. Scott’s Phone box: 80 years old and now only used for prozzie cards and for drunks to have a piss in, be honest when was the last time you used one?

You can see how this design came about, ‘we want something youth, something different’ was the brief, it’s in every brief. And so they tried for something different, and let’s be honest, every other Olympic logo has sucked; 5 daubs of abstract colour and the rings, silly mascot, and forgoten before the Olympic flame has cooled – yawn.

We’ve got five years; maybe it’ll grow on us? Here’s my favourite.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
June 2007