Giving Branding A Sporting Chance

Olympics and Commonwealth Games Logos

As well as graphic design and branding one of the other areas which I am passionate about is sport.  Not playing it you understand, watching it, enjoying it.  In the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to be able to attend both the Olympics in London 2012 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014.

This has given me the opportunity to experience the branding and graphic design at both, up front and personal.  Now a lot was made about the odd choice of logo design for London 2012.  It was pretty much universally unpopular, myself included.  The problem however ran wider than just the logo in my opinion.  The bespoke type face was also awkward and jarring as well, with other elements simply trying too hard to be edgy and trendy.

Having not long returned from Glasgow 2014 I have been able to see the logo and branding there simply working better in situ.  In my view, it is a better piece of design work, which works better for the purpose it was created, although is less cutting edge than the London 2012 concepts.

The question is, why?  I fully believe that graphic design should be created to reflect the field it is supporting.  The client is king and their needs should be met and not the ego of the designers.  No matter how hard that can be when working on a project.

Olympics and Commonwealth Games Logos

Both the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games are large, multi-event sporting events and the branding should reflect this.  It should be easy to identify for the crowds on the ground and watching at home.  It shouldn’t need to be understood by a clique.  And it MUST reflect sport.


This is where the 2012 design work falls down against 2014.  The angular, angled design work for the Olympics jars against the fluid motion of sport.  It appears mathematical and geometric, almost emotionless.  All things sport is not.  Meanwhile the Glasgow 2014 logo and branding, despite being more ‘traditional’ breathes a feeling of motion.  It flows with the curves and arcs which are reflected everywhere in sport.  The type style used not only flows and curves, but also, brings to mind the concept of lanes on swimming, cycling and running tracks.


Equally when animated and in motion the Glasgow design work allows itself to flow seamlessly across the screen, something the London branding felt awkward doing.  When dropped in to the venues the Olympics design work may have stood out more, but these are sporting events, not graphic design events.  So the Glasgow design settling in and looking more part of the scenery is just more appropriate.


On a positive note for London 2012, when it came to musical introductions and interludes, I much preferred listening to Muse over The Proclaimers!

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