Britain's Olympics Logo Stinks--And It Paid Way Too Much.

For the equivalent of $800,000 Britain has bought itself the worst kind of logo—one that stirs up horrible images of the past rather than wonderful images of the future.

It’s edgy, all right but in a weird, Nazi swastika kind of way. Sorry, but the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, is right when he says the logo makers, Wolff Olins, branding agency, didn’t do a “health check” before rolling it out. It didn’t check to see how it played in public.

New logos need to be empty vessels that represent nothing but an idea, an opportunity for a product/service experience that consumers learn to love. I’m drinking from a Starbucks coffee cup with a mermaid on it. Mermaids have nothing to do with coffee but we’ve come to associate it with a great experience. It now is a meaningful logo.

The Olympic torch is the only image we have from one Olmpic to another that touches us and reminds us of what the contests are supposed to be about—community, what binds us together around the world. Beyond that, each national logo every four years, is essentially meaningless. At best, it can be filled up by great athletic events, images, experiences and memories (or bad ones—we’ve had some awful Olympics).

As for me, I’m basically a NoLogoMan. I especially hate them on clothes. The Plains Indians are now shifting their tradition of beading moccasins to beading on Converse sneakers. Each pair is a work of art. That has meaning to me.

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