London Games Logo stirs controversy

By Kevin Hilton

SVG Europe correspondent

The organizing committee of the 2012 London Olympics Games has been
weathering a storm of criticism and controversy since Monday when it
unveiled the logo for the event. Over two days 48,615 people signed an
online petition demanding that the symbol be scrapped, epileptic fits
were triggered by the animated version of the logo and now several
members of Parliament have signed motions in the House of Commons
calling for a re-think.

The symbol was created by design agency Wolff Olins at a cost of
400,000. At the launch Lord Coe, chairman of the organising committee
and, as Sebastian Coe, an Olympic running champion, acknowledged some
might find the design startling but said London did not do anything
that was dull.

Almost instantly derision was heaped on the symbol, which was
described variously as looking like two drunks supporting each other
or, more memorably, as Lisa Simpson committing a lewd act. On a more
serious note the animated logo, intended to be used on websites, mobile
phones and billboards, was withdrawn after 22 people called the charity
Epilepsy Action saying they had suffered fits as a result of watching
it.

The man who devised the method of testing photo-sensitivity levels
in TV programming, Professor Graham Harding, said the footage should
not be screened again. London 2012 has said it will have the film
re-edited.

The BBC, other broadcasters and national newspapers encouraged the
public to see if they could design a better logo. Readers of the BBC
website voted for a design that took graphic designer brothers Richard
and Chris Vosey 20 minutes to create. However, the font used for
‘London’ makes it read as ‘Zoizdon’, which is not much of an
improvement.

The online petition has closed, with the organizer, Jonathan Ellis,
saying the logo is “here to stay” and that the intention was not to
damage London’s Games. But MPs are continuing to campaign against the
design. Aside from the medical implications politicians dislike the
modern image. Conservative MP Philip Davies called it “a pathetic
attempt to appear trendy”.

London 2012 has said changing the logo is “not an option.” The Mayor
of London, Ken Livingstone, said the agency involved should “not be
paid a penny” for a “catastrophic mistake”. The co-founder of Wolff
Olins, Michael Wolff, although no longer with the company, defended the
logo and criticized the organizers for not publicizing it properly.
There’s still a long way to go until 2012 but the Games will not be out
of the headlines often – but not perhaps for the right reasons.