London 2012 Olympic Logo: Was It Really So Bad After All?

Wolff Olins execs look back at the criticisms

With the London Olympics now in its final days, Fast Company's Co.Design blog has an interesting interview with two executives from Wolff Olins, the design firm behind the much-maligned (though, by some, avidly defended) Olympic logo. Brian Boylan, the firm's chairman, and Ije Nwokorie, its managing director in London, explain some of the reasoning behind the branding, and look back at some of the critcisms, too. A few highlights:
     Boylan: "The mark itself came from an energy grid we drew of lines that moved around, contained within a rectangle, which we stopped at one particular moment. This was used in a very random way to create a pattern, so this idea of freeform is right at the heart of the brand. The typeface very much links back to that. We never recommended anything with horizontals or verticals—it was always slightly to one side, to make people look at this thing and think twice. We used the term 'prescribed anarchy'—it wasn't [that] we just wanted to draw something spiky."
     Nwokorie: "When you do something like this you expect to get a very mixed response. … The critical reviews tend to point out the rules we've broken, and in that sense they tend to be correct; the only disagreement is whether those rules need to be broken. Take a look at the attacks: 'It's too dissonant.' Absolutely, the dissonance was intentional. 'It doesn't reflect any of London's famous landmarks.' Absolutely, the world knows about those, we don't need to tell them. 'It's too urban, it's too young.' Absolutely. It's really interesting that even though the tone might be off, they shine quite an acute light on exactly the points we were trying to make."
     How do you feel about logo now?