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British Olympic observers take home some lessons from Vancouver

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Are these memos an "Olympi-leak"? ;)

U.K. ministry memos weigh pros and cons of Vancouver Games

A summary of the observations and lessons British Olympic officials took home with them

Some negatives:

-Volunteers were underfed.

-The branding was bland yet complex.

-The Vancouver 2010 logo was not as prevalent.

-Signage was inadequate.

Some positives:

-Red mittens were a success.

-Volunteers were friendly.

-Games atmosphere was very spirited.

-City was quick to remedy any transport problems.

Their key piece of advice to London 2012 organizers?

“Ensure the city and people embrace the Games. If we can go some way to creating the same passion within London and throughout the U.K. as was witnessed in Vancouver, the Games will be a resounding and memorable success.”

My two cents...

Most of this is a fair critique, intended to help LOCOG formulate their plans. I felt that VANOC was too sensitive to the initial negative response to their logo, something that had died down over the years. Since LOCOG faced a harsher response, will be interesting to see how they respond. The branding and look of the games was busy and muted. It was nice and looked good in some applications, but for being essentially wallpaper, it was pretty damned busy stuff and the colours blended in too much with the rest of the greens and blues found naturally around Vancouver. I don't think LOCOG will have that problem considering the colour scheme they have shown thus far.

I don't know if the signage critique was fair...I'm a local, after all. But the Winter Games are smaller and most of Vancouver's events were in a few "hot spots" that were easily accessible by transit. Although, sometimes, it was a bit confusing in finding the entrances for venues, especially since they were not in the usual places, often requiring more of a hike than normal as some entrances (BC Place and Pac Col, in particular) were on the complete opposite side one would normally use.

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Indeed. OK, maybe it's moot at this point...but I'll do my Thursday morning quarterbacking nonetheless. The Ilanaaq logo NEVER grew on me. The idea was kinda stupid and primitive to begin with: commemorating a pile of rocks that meant something to primitive peoples. So #1 - it's an immobile and static image to begin with...no sense of movement (unlike say, Rio's newly unveiled logo). And #2 - it was "cutesyfying" an essentially backward idea. I mean a WOGs in the 21st century should've branded itself as FORWARD-LOOKING and not going back to stone basics. (Think London going with a Stonehenge theme--and the IOC would probably revoke the contract and give it to Paris instead.) It was just a dumb, regressive choice.

The Look? Was never too crazy about the colors either. Blue and green will fade into the hazy blues and greys of a winter morning. You want something warm AND vibrant (reds, oranges, pinks) to bring the event OUT from its background--especially if your theme is "With Glowing Hearts." Of course, London is going the other end to make sure it stands out; and Rio it looks like is heading for a more harmonized but Carnavale-colorful palette. All that swirly, tentacle stuff of Vancouver was "pretty" at one glance...but too busy. And what was all the more surprising about Vancouver's palette was its whole design team was headed by a red-blooded Catalan!?! He must've been over-ridden by the bland Canadians on the team.

Anyway, to me, Vancouver got a "C" in its Look, graphics and choice of colors.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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I may have mentioned this before (not sure) but during the Games, I had a random meeting with a few UK branding experts. They were in town to observe the Games and we ended up sitting at the same table in a crowded burger joint. That busy brand was one of their bugs about the Games. They told me that while VANOC's brand was essentially blue and green, it employed 18 different shades of blue and green. Not exactly a smart option when you are trying to manage a budget restricted by a weakened economy.

These fellows also said they expected that London 2012 would be bolder and "edgier" with a more simplified palette of colours.

In the end, I think the big mistake that VANOC's brand team made was trying to emulate Vancouver's environment in their graphics. Uhhhh, the games were held in Vancouver's environment. The branding should have made a statement about the emotions of the Games.

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I loved the branding and was entirely relieved that the stodgy logo made few appearences. From my point of view, I'm surprised that was an area that was criticised.

I can't comment on the signage or the togetherness of the decorating of the city as I wasn't there. I'll trust others' judgements on that one.

Entirely agree about the "fanzones" and the atmosphere. That came across loud and clear on TV and indeed on these forums, and is the one element London should try to emulate if they are to pick one thing from Vancouver's Games.

The mittens point is obvious. London 2012 will surely be looking to find some item of merchandise that can have a similar success.

And the point about volunteers' meals has been raised before. I can't remember who by, but it's interesting that it comes up in this report as well.

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I thought the signage was reduced due to a budget cut?

I still think the logo sucked but the branding was great. For Vancouver2010's look, it was all about the Canadian landscapes as we have also observed in the opening ceremony. The official poster was also the best ever IMO.

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I also thought (and still think) that the branding of the Vancouver Games was very good and very original. I'm glad that they don't use the same palette of bright (if not garish) colours for each Olympic Games. I mean, already Athens had a lot of different colours, Torino's design was probably as colourful as Baron would have imagined for Vancouver as well and don't remind me of the branding with all colours of the rainbow in Beijing. Since we'll have bright neon colours in London, I found that Vancouver was a refreshing break.

No, I found Vancouver's branding very authentic -- since Canada is a country with an extremely rich nature, especially with lots of forests, lakes and rivers, I found it very fitting to choose green and blue as the two main colours. And I also liked that all the designs were made like a quilt, with tiny details of images and traditions of Canada, British Columbia and Vancouver woven into it.

And I already said it many times before: But the logo has grown to me in the last few years before the Games. It's not an excellent logo, but for me (also in retrospective) it embodies the hospitality and friendliness of the great Canadian hosts, while also displaying the strong First Nations heritage of British Columbia. And even if Ilanaaq was chubby and clumsy -- I found those imperfections quite likeable actually. ;) But I also have to say that I like the dynamic logos like Rio's a little bit more. But that doesn't make Vancouver's logo a bad one for me.

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I was working at Vanoc when the "look" was revealed. And was totally unimpressed. My opinion turned 180 degrees when I saw it being applied to the city and venues.

Vancouver is GREY in the winter usually: low flat grey clouds, rain at sea level, even fog. The mountains below the snow lines are black because they're rainsoaked (this is a rain forest, after all); the sea doesn't exactly sparkles either. So the blue, green and WHITE brightened things up considerably.

I also think VANOC's Brand and Creative function expected a lot of RED and needed to find a scheme that wouldn't look a mess when les feuilles d'erables and red lights were mounted by businesses and residents.

The volunteer experienced varied widely. Where I worked (Pacific Coliseum/Forum at the PNE) we weren't underfed--the food got a bit monotonous though. But it was hot and fresh during the Games itself. Vols in other functions--especially transport--weren't treated as well. Paradoxically, apparently the volunteer food in the village in Vancouver was dire. :(

Signage inadequate? Where? The CBD had great signs and maps installed in both official languages. The Canada Line is exceedingly well signed. The only venue I went to that wasn't super clear was BC Place--where the signage has always sucked (and it was the pre-existing "go this way for Gate F" signage that was fubered. I was at PAC, HIL, CYP, ROO, CHP, BCP and the signage was fine.

Some of the critique is fair; some of it is archetypal British p1ss1ng--the whole country wasn't behind the Games? Give me a break! Torch relay, golden goal, people singing O Canada spontaneously in TORONTO for Chrissakes!

They did the same thing during the Games. Whinge whinge whinge. Karma bites hard dudes...especially when Lisa Simpson's on her knees....

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Wow, bit of a twattish last sentence which makes me think you can't have actually read the article. :rolleyes: Nobody is whinging; it's an internal report which has only been made public because of a FOI request from a Canadian newspaper. There's no reason for it to contain anything other than what was observed by the DCMS' team. If you observed things differently fair enough, that's just one of those things.

I'm sure Vancouver's organisers would have had similar teams working at past games and reporting back.

Edited by RobH

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The biggest problem with the games I felt was that for almost every venue it was a massive trek to get to the doors. The oval was a good 2km from the train station and this was the case for many of the venues.

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I read it. Twice. And that's Dr. Twat to you. :)

Wow, bit of a twattish last sentence which makes me think you can't have actually read the article. :rolleyes: Nobody is whinging; it's an internal report which has only been made public because of a FOI request from a Canadian newspaper. There's no reason for it to contain anything other than what was observed by the DCMS' team. If you observed things differently fair enough, that's just one of those things.

I'm sure Vancouver's organisers would have had similar teams working at past games and reporting back.

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