Feeling 2012

Last night a few MB’ers attended the latest ‘Because’ event by Wolff Olins to hear them finally tell the story of the 2012 Olympics logo. This was the first time WO had had the opportunity to speak publicly about their work and their vision for the identity since the launch of the logo in 2007 – a launch which was met with strong public opinion and brutal media coverage. WO’s Chairman Brian Boylan spoke of the personal intrusion from the press throughout this time, but also of the intention to create an identity that had the strength to endure several years before its full roll-out. Indeed, it is only now – as we ramp up to the Games – that the public are seeing the full breadth and capability of the identity.

When asked about their regrets or disappointments about the 2012 brand, Boylan said he was sad not to see more anarchic expressions of the logo and identity. The brand purposely had limited consistency or compliance so as to allow anyone and everyone to use it in their own way. What resulted was one or two benchmark expressions, amidst many unimaginative badging exercises. Speaking more generally, Boylan explained the importance of senior level buy in when it comes to brand implementation. Without the appointment of a Creative Director to work with LOCOG and oversee 2012 (and barricaded by legal restrictions) Boylan felt that brand’s full potential has failed to be realized.  Can legal and commercial wrangling really be to blame for a lack of creative innovation around the brand, or does true anarchy require a strong catalyst? How much is it down to the brand’s creators to light that fire?

What stood out most of all from the evening was the palpable sense of excitement in the room. The audience may have been aimed those wanting to know about the creative work, but the genuine interest went deeper than merely professional. And there you can see the real success of the 2012 brand – people care, they’re invested and they’re interested. We can snip and snide about the intrusion of the Olympics on our city, but there’s no denying that Wolff Olins’ work stands as bold, brave visual cues for this historic moment.