Jump to content

The Look of the games

Recommended Posts

London's strength again is in its simplicity. As I mentioned about the shard-esque shapes and grid lines, it has a back story (that of the energy lines of people coming to London, the shards erupting from the bursting of the logo, etc) but at the same time can evolve itself into massive urban applications tied into everything- one thing that springs to mind is those pink signs we saw in the Park for the test events, and the shards crisscrossing the Park on the concourse. Even the 'Boris pods' feel part of the brand. Anything shardy and pink and you're going to know it's to do with London 2012 this summer.

It's a fair point saying it's simple- but that I feel that is one of its strengths and one which I think Rio will emulate, but with curves.

Simplicity is not automatically a strength. You can be simple and pedestrian. Or you can be simple and be Henry Moore.....

The London look is in the former camp. I love eloquent, arresting simplicity. This isn't it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 1k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I think you have a good point Lee, Ive probably been at the other end of the scale, coming from the I like it slant. It has been a bit: I like it. I dont like it. I like it. I dont like it. Im definately not commenting futher til we see the look coming together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I took these yesterday.

Oh wow they put up more now. Looks great!! Somehow these photos have a very 50's mood to it, looks like taken during the coronation of the queen. Something about the grey hazy air feels very 50s haha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think we all get that Athensfan. I only pop into this forum a couple of times a week but every time I do you are saying exactly the same things. We get it, you don't like it.

That's a little harsh. These threads by their nature go round in circles. Athensfan is only responding to mine and others' posts. And to be fair, what we're saying isn't that new either!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think we all get that Athensfan. I only pop into this forum a couple of times a week but every time I do you are saying exactly the same things. We get it, you don't like it.

Funny, I thought this thread was a conversation about aesthetics. I don't hear you complaining about those who repeatedly write about how brilliant an innovative they find the Look. New pictures go up and there's something more to discuss. So we discuss.

I weighed in to the conversation surrounding the latest street banners. I have also explained WHY I don't think the Look is an example of strong design. I'm not stupidly repeating "I don't like it" over and over again.

Finally, I do like the pictograms and the ceremony tickets.

If you want to extol the merits of those pink and purple ambassador outfits, monochromatic venues and the brilliance of intersecting lines, please join in.

For my part, these London Look posts constitute a very small percentage of my time on these boards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I said before... I think the banners look rather nice but quite average at the moment. It could look modern and dynamic and memorable by using strong color contrasts.

Athens Look of the Games is for me an example of excellent design. Absolutely stunning. You can see the greek patterns playing a great role but also a bright palette of colors.


Taking this to the London 2012 Look of the Games, I think they have to be more extravagant in the use of colors. Be bolder. Something friendly but strong like this:


or like this


But we have to wait until the full range of elements is there ..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Athensfan said earlier that other hosts' mistakes do not mean that London is original or inspired when I referenced Beijing. I'd like to flip that around and say just because what Athens did was extrordinary doesn't mean what London's doing is substandard.

Those pictures from Athens are wonderful, I've always liked what Athens did in this regard. But actually the only Look that comes close to this for me is London's in terms of how well it zings out and its instant recognisability. Athens and London, probably in that order at the moment, stand head and shoulders above other SOGs Looks for me.

Nice mockups by the way, perhaps something like that could've worked for London (I prefer the second graphic to the first one which looks too Latin-Americanish for London).

But I'm quite happy with the dual colours and blocks of colour London is working with. It works really nicely on the tickets and sports guides (the first of mine arrived yesterday!!), and in the Sega Game, which I think gives an accurate impression of the venue dressing. And the shots from Torquay give me a lot of confidence in the street dressing too.

The photo you posted above elsavas gives London a target to aim at anyway. It shows the best application of a Summer Games Look inside an Olympic Park (although I'll add the caveat I've only seen Olympic Parks on TV, never in person). Be interesting to see in this sense whether London's Look changes when it's in the Park which obviously isn't itself dressed yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice post, Rob.

I'd just like to clarify something. I don't think the London look is BAD. I think the logo, the mascots and the Orbit are bad, but the look is doing its job. It is serviceable. It's ok. It is not particularly creative or inspired though.

I'm a visual person and because I love the Olympics and they only come around every 4 years, I hope to be visually dazzled. I was dazzled in LA and in Athens. From what I can tell no other Games have reached their standards (though I did like Torino quite a bit, but I only saw it on tv).

I thought Atlanta was quite unappealing, Sydney a bit plain and forgettable, Salt Lake clean and strong, but not amazing, Beijing ok, a bit better than London so far, but not by much, Vancouver gets an A for effort, but ultimately it was too cold and too busy.

My grades would be as follows (I'm just omitting the Games whose looks failed to make any real impression on me):

A: Athens, LA, Torino

B: Salt Lake, Beijing

B-: Vancouver, London (so far)

C+: Sydney

C: Atlanta

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me the London Look of the Games could be even better then Beijing. I thought Beijing could have been much much better with such a tradition and amazing history and culture. Even that I dislike the Logo and — sorry — the pictograms and I think that until now the design lacked of emotion and love for detail, I like the "line" concept and the banner decoration could be really nice if they do it right by using the right color combination.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Athensfan didn't care for the Quilt of Leaves look from 1996, but it sure made me feel like I was a part of something really special when I was at the Games.

Here, here. I don't know what's with Athensfan, he is so hooked on those bankrupt Games of 2004. Just because they were in Greece...BIG DEAL!!

It's just getting sickening how 'glorious" bankrupt Athens was...yeah, if it's the ONLY Games you've attended...but doesn't make it the be-all. NOT BY A LONG SHOT.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you have any examples of LA 84 look, curious now you mentioned couldn't find it in google

From a post by 'Soup or man' on Skyscrapercity:

A lot of what London is doing for these Olympics reminds me of what LA did in 1984. Colorful banners and art pieces everywhere. The art that went up around LA was called 'festive federalism.'






I wouldn't doubt that London looked at LA at how to dress up a city for the Olympics as I see quite a few similarities.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Go in here, too: http://www.la84foundation.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1984/1984v1pt1.pdf

That's a HUGE document. It's from the LA Official Report. It's in Chapter 10.

And here's the description of LA's concept:


Concept and goals of the

design program

The primary objective of the LAOOC

design program was to transform

approximately 75 separate Southern

California sites into a common and

easily recognizable celebratory

presence during the Olympic Games.

This goal was not easily accomplished.

Sites were as many as 150 miles apart

and the transformation had to be

discernable to three different

audiences: television viewers,

spectators attending the Games and

local residents. Another objective of

this program, which was called the

Look of the Games, was to turn

skeptical residents into active

supporters by the sheer emotional

pageantry of the event.

The overall Look, described as an

“invasion of butterflies” or “urban

confetti,” succeeded in turning the

streets, sites and other public areas

into a constellation of ephemeral colors

that brought residents a heightened

sense of excitement, emotion and

history. The Look was achieved

through a team approach. Overall

design concepts were developed

through the integration of participants

from numerous fields, such as

architects, landscape architects,

graphic and industrial designers, fabric

designers and transportation system


The design concepts and patterns

integrated the Star in Motion emblem

and the Olympic pictograms, which

were created in 1980 and 1981,

respectively. These symbols were

interwoven with a color palette that

replaced the traditional red, white and

blue with a more festive and international

scheme composed predominantly

of magenta, vermillion, chrome

yellow and aqua. The overall concepts

were packaged into a kit of parts which

were worked into a variety of

configurations. Thus, the effect was an

urban sprinkling of confetti over an

area of roughly 4,500 square miles that

served to promote a happy, festive

atmosphere during the Games period.

The environmental graphics design

program was complemented by a print

graphics program that was equally


The primary goal of the

graphics program was to ensure that all

Olympic-related printed material had a

consistent appearance. This was not

an easy task since each of the more

than 30 graphic design consultants

used by the LAOOC had his or her own

conception of how to create an

Olympic Look. The print graphics

program thus initially displayed

tremendous diversity and some

inconsistency. The variety of printed

materials ranged from billboards,

posters and signs to accreditation

badges, napkins, pins, tickets,

commemorative certificates and

scoring forms. It was not until late 1983

that the print graphics program began

to embrace the Olympic Look

advocated by the environmental

graphics program, creating a uniform

Olympic Look program which

communicated the brief yet significant

nature of the Games to its audience "

You'll find others in the other Official Reports, including the award-winning one for Atlanta.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What LA did was wonderful. It's crazy that it was done in 1984 and that a lot of subsequent host haven't come close to repeating it. Barcelona, Lillehammer, and Nagano all had good design ideas and potential but weren't executed thoroughly enough to be distintive when looking back. The "quilt of leaves" concept of Atlanta was brilliant for a Games in the South, but it's a shame the majority of 1996 decorations came in that dodgy green.

I've been watching a lot of footage from Sydney and all that blue around the field of play at venues actually looked great. It's the perfect color for television and when coupled with golden Olympic rings and lighter shades of blues and teals in the background, it wasn't completely monotonous. The subtle "kinetic energy" motif was used very well and added the necessary Australian touch.

Salt Lake's was very American and there wasn't much to it, but it worked well.


Athens had the perfect combination of very inspired, distinctive motifs and patterns that were also simple enough to be used in a variety of colors.

Torino's piazza concept was a very good one, though it didn't translate so clearly on television. It was all very sleek, very stylish, very Italian. I wish London would take note and use black like Torino did.

Beijing had tremendous potential with its "lucky cloud" motif and an elegant palette of colors but it really dropped the ball in how everything came together. Those gradients used were terrible and looked very cheap. The best of the Look was used where cameras weren't pointed at, such as the inside of the Bird's Nest.

Vancouver's was easily the most inspired Look so far. All the details of urban city life and natural textures made for something that screamed Vancouver. One of my favorites.

I think when it comes to Look functionality, London will do everything right. Everything will be thoroughly thought out - banners will be arranged as to create the best effect, the Olympic rings and "London 2012" will be placed as to appear perfectly behind athletes at venues, etc. I just wish the Look itself felt more inspired and distinctive. We'll see how it all comes together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LA's look is indeed quite unique. Given it is the 80s and the post-modernish design is quite fitting of the time. I like that there's all these pop-art pieces to complement the look. Hope London will be the same using the shards concept and make it into more 3D art around the city

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Amusing though that some were griping that those banners pictured in Cardiff didn't have the rings, those LA banners didn't seem to have them either. Still a great look though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here, here. I don't know what's with Athensfan, he is so hooked on those bankrupt Games of 2004. Just because they were in Greece...BIG DEAL!!

It's just getting sickening how 'glorious" bankrupt Athens was...yeah, if it's the ONLY Games you've attended...but doesn't make it the be-all. NOT BY A LONG SHOT.

I had a wonderful experience in Athens. That's why I chose my username. It is not the only Olympics I've attended.

I would never argue that Athens was the best GAMES ever. I wouldn't make that argument about any edition because they are all so different. I did have a great time and I treasure the memory.

I WOULD argue that Athens had the best LOOK ever -- and that is what this thread is about. Of course it's a matter of taste, but I think my opinion is certainly arguable.

I'm glad BTHarner enjoyed the atmosphere in Atlanta and I have no desire to take that away from him. I know what its like to value an experience. Nor do I want to rain on Lobdon's parade. I hope everybody has a great time and if they enjoy the Look as a part of it -- good for them.

I wasn't in Atlanta and I'm not going to London do my evaluation of those Looks is purely design-based. Yes, my experience of Athens put a rosy glow on things for me, but I still think one can easily argue that Athens design is some of the best we've seen.

Baron (everybody knows its you now anyway), I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't belittle my positive memories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm so glad other people love the LA Look. I have the official report of those Games and the images are just gorgeous. I was in LA for the Games and the city looked amazing. I agree that it's pretty impressive they did that back in the 80's and it hasn't quite been equalled.

I did love Athens, but LA had more variety. Recent Looks have been so standardized and modular that they've lost something. LA was very cohesive, but it was full of unexpected twists and surprises. I loved that.

"Festive Federalism" all the way!

For those who didn't know that was the name of the Look......

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...