London 2012

Upon the unveiling of the London 2012 olympic logo, the Beveridge Seay inboxes have been flooded with articles, commentaries, musings, and profanities. I’ve tried to read through it all, hoping that somewhere along the way my own opinions of the new mark would solidify and I could lay to rest my befuddlement over the whole thing.

One of my favorite articles to surface was one called London Broil whose favoritism of the widely detested logo was a refreshing read. The authors make a strong case on behalf of the new mark, hailing it as reproducible, flexible, and unexpected. The writers also express their surprise that fellow designers are not in support of the new logo’s break from the status quo.

That last comment, in particular, called to mind an article Leo Steinberg wrote for Harper’s Magazine in the 1960s called “Contemporary Art and the Plight of its Public.” In the article Steinberg talks at length how the public will always be repulsed by things that are TRULY innovative. Even fellow artists were repulsed by cubism, feeling that it was an insult to their values and degrading to what art is about and stands for. Innovation forces people to throw out the systems they’ve already invested in… and, honestly, who wants to do that?

I bring this up because I’m afraid Wolf Ollins may think they’re in this camp and all the hubbub is thanks to true brilliance. How often does a logo create such outrage worldwide? Does this controversy and provocation automatically define a work as successful?


For me, though, the concern continues and even if I have to eat my words in 2012, I don’t mind admitting that I still see the logo as a disappointment.