Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Visualizing The Olympics - Shaping An Iconic Brand

Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Olympic logo is a heroic piece of design, arguably the most identifiable symbol in the world. The simplicity of its creation, with five primary-color interlocking rings, belies a complex symbolism of continental unity. This global camaraderie in the name of sportsmanship has been broken at times, in the World War interruptions, the Munich tragedy, and the Cold War boycotts. But for the most part, the quadrennial harmony evoked by the Olympic logo fulfills the 1912 wish of its creator, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern games.

The summer and winter Olympics also offer each host city a chance to brand itself in the international marketplace, attracting tourist dollars, advertising revenue, and local pride. Smooth stagings and triumphant architecture are long remembered by athletes and television viewers. In the opening ceremonies of these London games of the 30th Olympiad, Director Danny Boyle realized the daunting challenging of living up to the visually euphoric standard of Beijing 2008.

The individual logos for each city's games have featured notable successes and failures. Several sites, such as Webdesigner Depot, feature every emblem from 1896 to the present. Featured below, in our opinion, are the five best and worst from Olympic history:

Best

 

Worst

 

In more recent times, cities have also paired a unique Olympic mascot to complement the overall messaging. Some of these have hit perfect notes, such as the sensational Fuwa pandas from Beijing 2008. Others have been head-scratching disasters, such as the amorphous Izzy alien from Atlanta 1996. Personally, we have a soft spot for the cute First Nations animals from Vancouver 2010.

Sources: Olympic Mascots Wiki, Antiswank, Squidoo











The current London 2012 mascots, though, have been almost universally ridiculed. Named Wenlock and Mandeville, the characters are supposed to be playful and child-like. Critics and casual viewers, however, all seem to hate the baffling shapes, comparing them to everything from the secret Illuminati society to something we won't discuss on an educational blog.

London 2012; Source: International Business Times

One of the best Olympic design feats comes from Sarah Hyndman, a London-based graphic artist, who one year ago initiated the "Olympic Logo A Day" project. Each day she blogged about her newest Olympic ring inspiration. Her collection of imaginative, kooky images is breathtaking to behold. She gathered the completed designs in the video below. It truly captures the spirit of Olympic passion and talent.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting point of view about the 2012 mascots - the kids seem to disagree with you. You should lighten up and do the mascot dance ;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuI8SizQYnA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    ReplyDelete

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