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The Look of the games


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The hot pink uniforms aren't to be liked, they're to be seen. The same goes for every other contrasting colour used in venues and uniforms, it's so every visitor during the games can distinguish easily between different people and places.

So they're utilitarian choices rather than aesthetic ones? Ok. I guess I can accept that. I don't see how it can be argued for the logo, mascots or Orbit though.

I would love to be shocked and impressed by the way it ultimately comes together. I promise I will eat my words. I hope I do. I genuinely wish London 2012 all the best. So far, though, I feel there have been many miscues.

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Okay, I can see why the pink jars with people. It's a colour and vibrancy that's bound to be polarising and it's understandable that it leaves some people cold. I can totally get that, I don't blame anybody who's uneasy with it.

That said, I know I'm probably in a minority, but I don't mind the pink. It's bold, it's in your face, it's totally unlike any colouring done for a games before, and for that reason I think it's going to brand London more memorably than any other colouring that's been done before. It's warm to me, and cheerful and upbeat to me rather than being drab or muted. Like all the other colours we've seen in the palette too, like the purples and yellows, they're all vibrant and energetic.

What do you think London's doing that's game changing, out of interest?

I've been thinking about this. For better or for worse, I don't think the London branding and look has ever been anything but confronting. You can't accuse them of being too traditional or staid or playing it safe. It's been defiantly in your face and electric, and I admire it for that, even if it's obviously hit or miss for every individual. I like how they've never compromised, even in the face of a lot of ridicule and dislike and I think are really making a statement more with their branding than anyone before. Not everything's worked, I've had to allow time for parts of it to sink in and become comfortable with it, but all in all I just like how it's different and prepared to push boundaries and buttons.

Those of us here who are a little older might be able to remember how in its day, the Barcelona branding was also considered brash and shocking and too abstract ("what in the name of f**k is that logo meant to be?" and "that mascot is just weird!" was pretty common for the sorts of reactions you'd hear). Even in pre-net days, it was obvious that it was sparking strong polarities in opinions, and was seen as really very daring compared to what had gone before. Looking back now, it almost seems pretty staid and conventional.

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Okay, I can see why the pink jars with people. It's a colour and vibrancy that's bound to be polarising and it's understandable that it leaves some people cold. I can totally get that, I don't blame anybody who's uneasy with it.

That said, I know I'm probably in a minority, but I don't mind the pink. It's bold, it's in your face, it's totally unlike any colouring done for a games before, and for that reason I think it's going to brand London more memorably than any other colouring that's been done before. It's warm to me, and cheerful and upbeat to me rather than being drab or muted. Like all the other colours we've seen in the palette too, like the purples and yellows, they're all vibrant and energetic.

I've been thinking about this. For better or for worse, I don't think the London branding and look has ever been anything but confronting. You can't accuse them of being too traditional or staid or playing it safe. It's been defiantly in your face and electric, and I admire it for that, even if it's obviously hit or miss for every individual. I like how they've never compromised, even in the face of a lot of ridicule and dislike and I think are really making a statement more with their branding than anyone before. Not everything's worked, I've had to allow time for parts of it to sink in and become comfortable with it, but all in all I just like how it's different and prepared to push boundaries and buttons.

Those of us here who are a little older might be able to remember how in its day, the Barcelona branding was also considered brash and shocking and too abstract ("what in the name of f**k is that logo meant to be?" and "that mascot is just weird!" was pretty common for the sorts of reactions you'd hear). Even in pre-net days, it was obvious that it was sparking strong polarities in opinions, and was seen as really very daring compared to what had gone before. Looking back now, it almost seems pretty staid and conventional.

Nice post Rols - Good point about Barcelona - Mariscal's mascot was a bit like marmite - love it or loathe it! To a certain extent that's what London has done with the logo - the orbit - the medals (which I love) & the overall look elements - mascots & uniforms (which I am less keen on). Made all the more controversial as with the net everyone can have an opinion and the negative ones are always the loudest - lol! I am looking forward to seeing it all come together & hope we do the country and the athletes proud!

My only other slight worry is the hysteria when the medal hostess costumes are revealed & also as a guest of mine (who stayed with me this weekend) said there is no buzz in london with 4 months out you are hard pushed to notice that the games are coming to town!

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Nice post Rols - Good point about Barcelona - Mariscal's mascot was a bit like marmite - love it or loathe it! To a certain extent that's what London has done with the logo - the orbit - the medals (which I love) & the overall look elements - mascots & uniforms (which I am less keen on).

Except of course the Orbit design is nothing to do with the London Organising Committee or the ODA. I don't really count it within the Look - it's so alien to everything else in the Park, alien to everything to do with the Look (the colour isn't complementary to the Games colours). It's a complete one-off and should probably be judged as such.


The hot pink uniforms aren't to be liked, they're to be seen.

Okay, I can see why the pink jars with people. It's a colour and vibrancy that's bound to be polarising and it's understandable that it leaves some people cold. I can totally get that, I don't blame anybody who's uneasy with it.

That said, I know I'm probably in a minority, but I don't mind the pink. It's bold, it's in your face, it's totally unlike any colouring done for a games before, and for that reason I think it's going to brand London more memorably than any other colouring that's been done before. It's warm to me, and cheerful and upbeat to me rather than being drab or muted. Like all the other colours we've seen in the palette too, like the purples and yellows, they're all vibrant and energetic.

I agree with Rols that I've no problem with the pink. You see it in the Gymnastics venue - both at the recent test event and in the graphics of the Sonic and Mario game - and it looks great. You see it around the edge of London's hockey pitches and it looks amazing. Not at all controversial or jarring, just vibrant and brilliant.

Where the pink looks rubbish is where design has let it down. The colour itself is bright sure, but we know it can work. The ambassadors' uniforms, for example, would look much better if they didn't look like something jockeys would wear at the start of the Grand National. It's not the pink that lets them down but the design. So TrisL93, there's no reason why, if they really wanted them to stand out using the pink, they couldn't have come up with a design that also looks good. And ditto the website; the pink comes out at you and hits you, but I don't think London's website would look any better in more traditional colours.


I'll put my cards on the table since we've now seen nearly everything (if only in glimses for some things).

I dislike the ambassador's uniforms, the website design, and the mascots when they're men in foam costumes (terrifying) rather than animated characters. And I think the execution of the Orbit has turned out to be scruffy (that's the best word to describe it I think), even if I have warmed to the idea and the artistic and engineering merit behind it (but as I said, I don't think the Orbit really counts within the 'LOCOG Look' since it is completely beyond the control of the organising committee).

The logo I still love, the street dressing is looking great from the glimses we've seen and the pdfs DarJoLe posted of the dressing of the city and the lighting schemes are going to be really special, the medals are nice, the venue dressing looks really modern and fresh, the Games Makers uniforms, torch bearers' uniforms and Team GB Kit all look good, the second, dynamic set of pictograms are a masterstroke (even if the 'normal' set are nothing to write home about), the torches are modern but a step-change from the plasticy/curvy looking torches of more recent Games.

So many more hits than misses but not perfect.


And now we await the stadium wrap with bated breath - because that is very much under the control of LOCOG unlike the aforementioned Orbit. If the design has changed from the white with colouring on the back of the strips I wonder whether we're going to get a grand reveal, or whether we'll only see it in its entirety when it's actually up. Quite looking forward to this. Is this the first stadium in Olympic history the outer cladding of which remains a mystery three months before the start of the Games? :lol:

Edited by RobH
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The Orbit Makes the Olympic park and sets everything else off .Red is complimentary to green which the park will be in summer,

Its definitely not alien maybe a war of the world Martian , but not alien.

Also I notice purple seems to be the colour of the Queens diamond jubilee,

Which explains the purple Olympic booths, the two events have to be made to jell somehow.

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I have no problem with pink per se. I have a hot magenta wall in my office. However, the pink of the ambassadors' outfits is not my favorite shade at all. Way too cotton candy. I'd prefer something darker and more intense like Athens' magenta. That would look better with the rest of the London palette too.

The cotton candy pink is best with the green. It's ok with the yellow. Looks like a baby shower with the blue. Looks like a Disney princess with the purple. Looks like hell with the red/orange.

My argument is not that the look is too unusual or progressive. If anything the banners are extremely conservative. My argument is that the look is not cohesive (especially the colors) and features several flat-out ugly elements. 100 years from now the logo will be every bit as much of a dud as it was the day it was unveiled.

The Orbit is a major aesthetic element. It may not be part of the Look, but some effort should've been made on all sides to get the pieces to harmonize somewhat instead of being at odds with one another. That didn't happen with the Orbit or with dome of the other aesthetic choices. I question whether anyone actually developed a style guide for the Games as a whole. It looks like everything was just divided up piecemeal.

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Of course there's a style guide. There's also a Look of the Games style guide.

As has been said before The Orbit is nothing to do with ODA and LOCOG it was placed upon them by the Mayor of London as a sculpture to last long after the Games and the Look has ended its lifetime. To force the artist to design within the Look for such a large legacy piece is ridiculous. You might as well say all the venues should be deconstructivist in style to match a brand launched two years after the bid was won and the venues had outline planning permission.

The look is incredibly consistent. Each venue has the same graphical treatment to it, the only change is venues have two colour ways taken from what I've seen a palette of six colours which are the colours of the banners which run I presume in a sequence throughout the country changing to the two colours when they meet a venue.

As far as I'm aware that's a first for an Olympics and brings whole new perspective on what can be achieved from a look.

And seeing as there is a Diamond Jubilee between now and the Games, there is no point in putting up Olympic parephenialia only to take it down again in May.

Believe me, once that event is over, things are going to change. Fast.

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On another note, the lack of buzz is really worrisome to me. The excitement should've started at the new year and should build in a steady creschendo. 4 months out and Joe Londoner isn't excited? Something's not been Managed well.

You do not need to build excitement in a city the size of London. It is such a large city that you cannot force people to get excited about something that is still relatively a long way off. It would be exactly the same in New York. There is simply too much happening in the meantime for it matter such a great deal at this point. You will see, with a month to go the city will be dressed and the excitement will build. The venues will be full and the city will be alive. Of all the concerns I have, the buzz is certainly not one of them. British people love a party and love sport. Add London as a host and you were only ever going to get a wonderful outcome.

Edited by Lee
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Athensfan, for someone who always emphasises that he lived in London already and allegedly understands the Brits you are remarkable naggy about almost everything London does designwise and preparationwise. What is this all about? Destroying the anticipation of the British (and also of many non-British) members here as best as possible?

I can only repeat what I wrote in the Olympic Stadium thread already: In the end, by the time the Games come, no one will care a sh*t anymore how the volunteers' uniforms look like or how late London started decorating the city and showing its anticipation. Then it will be a big party, a celebration of sport and humanity and I'm sure everyone of us will enjoy it. Even you, despite your initial nagging.

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From day 1 these games have been the most picked apart games on record. Strange, seeing that they have been delivered on time, largely on budget(depending on which budget you choose to believe), and during one of the biggest global recessions on record. I do think it is important for people to have their opinion on the uniforms, mascots, look and feel etc but is it really that important to the average visitor? Of course we are only discussing things to this extent because we are Olympic fans and this is the purpose of why we are here. However, sometimes it is easy to forget the bigger picture when we have our geek hats on. I am pretty sure nobody really cares if the colours of the volunteer uniforms clash as long as they are distinct and the people dressed in them are friendly and knowledgeable.

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Athensfan, for someone who always emphasises that he lived in London already and allegedly understands the Brits you are remarkable naggy about almost everything London does designwise and preparationwise. What is this all about? Destroying the anticipation of the British (and also of many non-British) members here as best as possible?

I can only repeat what I wrote in the Olympic Stadium thread already: In the end, by the time the Games come, no one will care a sh*t anymore how the volunteers' uniforms look like or how late London started decorating the city and showing its anticipation. Then it will be a big party, a celebration of sport and humanity and I'm sure everyone of us will enjoy it. Even you, despite your initial nagging.

He's not nagging at all, just saying what he thinks. And he's always good natured when putting his point of view across.

I would say this thread is going round in circles somewhat though! I think we know who likes what and who doesn't! :lol:

On another note, the lack of buzz is really worrisome to me. The excitement should've started at the new year and should build in a steady creschendo. 4 months out and Joe Londoner isn't excited? Something's not been Managed well.

I think it's wrong to say there's no excitement. Obviously there are lots of people who couldn't care less, but I'd say overall excitement is simmering at the moment and is evident when it matters. When the tickets went on sale last year demand was unprecedented, all the test events sold out within 10 minutes of going on sale (I didn't manage to get tickets to any of them, I couldn't believe it!), the torch relay route which was revealed last week had lots of people talking about how close it'd be to their street and huge page hits on the BBC website. Whenever there's an event or something to engage in London is engaging big-time, but the Olympics perhaps isn't defining London or Londoners' perspectives like they might do for smaller host cities three months out. The Olympics comes up in conversation every now and again, but it's not defining everything in the city or pulling everything into its gravitational field yet.

Edited by RobH
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Ok, just to clarify, I haven't been in the UK for a couple of years. I don't know firsthand how much excitement there is or isn't. I've seen one or two posters say that there isn't much enthusiasm and I've talked to a couple of friends who say that Olympic fever really hasnt caught on. The installation of the Look could help build anticipation, but there are a lot of other things that should be getting the public revved up as well.

I hadn't thought about the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Schedule-wise it does make matters trickier. Stil, I'd hope for a bit more buzz.

DarJoLe, obviously you have caught Olympic fever. I do not mean to give personal offense. I would certainly be disappointed if the Games were in the US and foreign posters were taking issue with the Look. (incidentally, although GB wasn't around then, I WAS mortified by most of Atlanta).

I work in the design field and I have LA 84's style guide. I find studying Olympic Looks a lot of fun. I had super-high expectations for London and I guess that set me up for disappointment.

I've said this before, but I cheered for London all the way through 2012 and was thrilled when they won. I DO want the Games to be a success. The aesthetic choices shouldn't preclude that. And who knows, maybe I'll end up being pleasantly surprised....

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Well, as anything is, until it is all revealed and the result is clear for all to see is the point when opinions properly form. From what we have seen, and from what I expect we are to see, those six weeks in the summer are going to completely change the landscape of the UK. In fact, so much so, that once it is all taken down there is going to be one hell of a grey morbid hangover lingering over the nation.

Athensfan, I'm intrigued to what you expected a London look to be like. Even I've had other ideas, some more in keeping with the geographical and cultural notion of previous cities looks. But I'll be honest in this, I haven't seen one potential other logo that has made its way into the twittersphere that lives up to the existing one, in terms of message, flexibility and recognition.

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The Orbit is a major aesthetic element. It may not be part of the Look, but some effort should've been made on all sides to get the pieces to harmonize somewhat instead of being at odds with one another. That didn't happen with the Orbit or with dome of the other aesthetic choices. I question whether anyone actually developed a style guide for the Games as a whole. It looks like everything was just divided up piecemeal.

I don't really count it as part of the style or look - indeed, it always was a bit of an afterthought and Boris' folly - but I'm with you on the Orbit. It just hasn't grown on me at all. If anything, the pics I'm seeing of it make it seem more underwhelming than I first thought.;

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DarJoLe, to each their own. I'm glad tgere's somebody out there who likes the logo. I felt even the bid logo (which wasn't particularly amazing) was better.

I had no specific preconceived notions for the London look. I just expected to like it because there's such a wealth of good design in the UK. I expected color harmony, something original with a twist, maybe a bit clever -- most of all I expected a strongly unified aesthetic that would be instantly recognizable and enjoyable. So far, my expectations have not been met.

The Orbit is certainly not part of the Look, but it does contribute to (or detract from, depending on your point of view) the visual identity of the Games.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was walking under Black friars Bridge today and its still completely covered in scaffolding and hoardings.

This isn’t just a little bit of scaffoldings, its SEREOUS SCAFOOOOOOLDING!!!! a workman told me it will be coming down for the Jubilee which was a relief, but it looked to me like the work wont be completely finished. It looked to me like they would be working on it right up until the day before the opening ceremony of the Olympics, but because of the Jubilee Thames flotilla it will have to come down sooner.

It looked like the work currently underway is the restoration of the originl parts of the bridge, with the new covering above complete.but the whole bridge compleatly coverd in hoardings.

Black friars Bridge is by the Tate Modern, Damian Hirsts diamond encrusted scull is currently on display in the Turbine hall as part of festival 2012.

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Live sites unveiled.

"London 2012 Live Sites will be among the destinations in 22 towns and cities across the UK for communities to come together and cheer on the athletes this summer. Up to 500,000 people per day are expected to celebrate the Games at Live Sites throughout the country, and watch the sporting action on the big screens. The sites, run in partnership between London 2012, the BBC and local authorities, and supported by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, partners BT and Lloyds TSB, and supporters Cisco and Cadbury, will become fully dedicated to London 2012 from May. Fully branded, there will be seating provided so crowds can watch the sporting action in style. Many Live Sites will also feature 'have a go' sessions for Olympic sports. " london2012.com

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