london olympics 2012: the look of the games
original content
jul 23, 2012
london olympics 2012: the look of the games



london olympics 2012 – the look of the games

in four days time the london olympics will finally get underway.
here we look at some of the designs that will help form ‘the look’ of the 2012 games.

the overall look of the 2012 games has been overseen by mccann worldgroup
in collaboration with london’s organizing committee. over the past 3 years they’ve collaborated
with several designers, architects, advertisers, sponsors and others to implement an impressive
visual identity that will be seen across the world for much of the next month.

2012 london olympics logo by wolff olins
image: LOCOG

logo by wolff olins
the logo needs little introduction, love it or hate it, you certainly recognize it.
designed by wolff olins in 2007 the logo aimed to attract the attention of a young audience
and enthuse them about the games imminent arrival to the british capital.

wolff olins worked with london’s organizing committee (LOCOG ) to define
a clear ambition for london 2012. these games were to be everyone’s.
they would call on people to challenge themselves – to try new things, to go
further, to discover new abilities. the brand we created supports this ambition.


2012 london olympics logo by wolff olins
image: wolff olins

the emblem is 2012, an instantly recognizable symbol and a universal form
one already closely associated with the games in london. it is unconventionally bold,
deliberately spirited and unexpectedly dissonant, echoing london’s qualities of
a modern, edgy city.

containing neither sporting images nor pictures of london landmarks,
the emblem shows that the games are more than london, more than sport.
the games are for everyone, regardless of age, culture and language.
the emblem is designed to be populated, to contain infills and images,
so it is recognizable enough for everyone to feel and be part of london 2012.


2012 london paralympics logo by wolff olins
image: LOCOG

for the first time ever, the olympic and paralympic games will share the same brand,
using their own variant of the emblem. and in another first, the cultural olympiad will
be able to share the brand. with the addition of the commercial partners, this will be
the most cohesive olympic brand in history. new technology is being put in place
to get everyone closer to the action and more deeply involved.

variations of the 2012 london olympics logo by wolff olins
image: LOCOG

2012 london olympics typeface by alias
image: alias


typeface by alias / gareth hague

‘the logo was already designed before alias became involved in the project,
wolff olins had used our ‘klute’ typeface as its starting opine and because of this
they thought it would be appropriate for us to design a typeface to accompany it.

the type was briefed and designed to work as a dramatic, powerful and characterful
headline type, for use at large sizes, working within and supporting the logo’s
pre-defined system of angles and shapes. the typeface does this by being linear
and graphic rather than typographic, by capturing a spirit of simplicity, modernity
and angular geometry.

- gareth hague, alias

 


2012 london olympics pictograms by someone
image: LOCOG


pictograms by someone

38 olympic pictograms designed by someone will be used on merchandise, signs and tickets,
environmental graphics and signage – helping spectators find their way to their sport of choice
when the olympics begin.

pictograms of each sport were first used at the 1948 games in london and have become a regular
feature of the olympic movement since the tokyo games in 1964. otl aicher’s pictograms for the
1972 olympics in munich are largely regarded as the design benchmark.

‘we wanted to make sure that whatever we came up with was a great piece of design but it also
worked hard for our identity… to create an asset that we, our licensees and our partners would
use in more creative ways than just at games time – we really wanted to push the concept for
the pictograms and one of the outcomes of this was to create two style versions – a silhouette
version used for high visibility and information-based applications, and a dynamic version used
both as decoration and where a more exciting version is called for. – do I believe they could rival
the munich games’ versions? absolutely, because I strongly believe these will touch and inspire
everyone – whether in london, the UK or more widely around the world.’

- yasmine say, london 2012 organizing committee (LOCOG)


by continuing the outline of the logo ‘shard’ patterns are formed

image: futurebrand

visual identity system by futurebrand
as part of the mccann worldgroup, futurebrand’s role involved developing ‘the look’ of london 2012
and an developing an identity system that works across every touchpoint. from venues, signage,
interior dressing, street dressing, ticket design, medal ribbons, the cars that would ferry athletes
around; essentially every physical touch-point that spectators, sponsors, officials, the media
and athletes would come into contact with during the course of london 2012, both in london
and across the UK.

‘the core idea was to use the lines and shards ­that the logo emanates, creating a ‘burst of energy’.­
whether the entire field of play with the seating becoming a huge graphic, or simply surrounding
the olympic rings with the burst, printed on a coral on the field of play. it all goes back to the idea
of a festival of human endeavour, with athletes pushing beyond their personal best.’

‘the grid is used in a flexible and dynamic way, creating shards patterns and textures that
radiate from a central focal point. the joy of this graphic device is that it can be adapted
across lots of different spaces and places yet remain clearly recognisable and consistent.
this means we can tell a single design story, from the seating bowl designs to the patterning
on the concourse.’

‘the ensuing look is provocative, unexpected, distinctive and bursting with life.
it captures the youthful spirit of london and the energy of the games. this core look has evolved
to create separate but related identities for each of main sub brands that are a vital part of the
london 2012 experience such as – games makers, get set programme, torch relay
and london 2012 festival. each has to remain true to the core spirit of the games but develop
a distinct take on it.’ 

- matt buckhurst, creative director, futurebrand london


drawing showing how the ‘shard’ gird pattern is applied to stadium seating
image: futurebrand

olympic stadium seating by futurebrand
this is a good examples of how the grid system can be applied even to the largest applications.
this design approach was used at a macro level across stadia and concourses down to
a more micro level on individual corals around the field of play where the focal points of the
burst are the olympic rings.

as the budgets were never going to be on the scale of beijing we came up with clever ideas,
like building the visual look into the seating bowls and flooring (no extra cost for changing
the seat colours or aggregate used on concourse areas).


drawing showing how the ‘shard’ gird pattern is applied to stadium seating


image: futurebrand


olympic stadium seating
image: LOCOG / getty


seating and staidum wrap at the olympic stadium

image: LOCOG / getty




track numbers set in the 2012 typeface designed by alias

image:
LOCOG / getty


basket ball arena stadium seating

image: LOCOG / getty


hockey stadium seating
image: LOCOG / getty

 


ground view of stadium wrap by sophie smallhorn
image: LOCOG / getty

 

stadium wrap by sophie smallhorn
the wrap by sophie smallhorn is formed from canvas banners that run from the top to the bottom of the stadium’s exterior,
creating 300 slit-like entrances. each banner is assigned a different colour from a palette of 56 colours in total to create an undulating effect.


stadium wrap by sophie smallhorn
image:
sophie smallhorn

 


stadium wrap by sophie smallhorn
image:
sophie smallhorn

 


entrance gantry at the olympic stadium
image: surface architects

wayfinding signage by surface architects
surface architects
were appointed to work with LOCOG and ISG in the design and delivery
of a family of high profile wayfinding structures for the 2012 olympic park. the proposals combine
historic vectors and iconic influences into a highly distinctive design that fits LOCOG’s original
‘look and feel’ brief. TFL’s johnston typeface is used on the signage in addition to the 2012 typeface.

‘each form incorporates LED backlighting, creating a field of glowing beacons
across the stratford park. six 7m high zone beacons, five 15m high major beacons and two 12m high
entrance gantries are currently being constructed. all are designed from sustainably sourced fabrics
and will be dismantled, recycled and reused post games.’

- surface architects


entrance gantry being contsructed at the olympic stadium
image: LOCOG / getty

signage diagram
image: surface architects

signage diagram
image: surface architects


wayfinding beacon by surface architects
image:
surface architects


wayfinding beacon by surface architects
image:
surface architects


wayfinding beacon by surface architects
image:
surface architects


wayfinding beacon by surface architects
image:
LOCOG / getty

 


360 view of one of the smaller the signage beacons
image:
surface architects


wayfinding beacon by surface architects
image:
surface architects


side view
image: surface architects


stratford subway station
image © designboom


central park bridge by heneghan peng architects
image: LOCOG / getty

central park bridge by heneghan peng architects
while heneghan peng architect‘s central park bridge falls under the olympics architectural program
we have included it here because of its graphic nature, for sure this will be a favorite of broadcasters
and photographers.

the central park footbridge spans over the river lea at a focal point between the
olympic stadium and aquatics centre, and features both permanent and temporary
elements to integrate games and legacy use.


detail of the multicolored rubber deck featured on the central park bridge by heneghan peng architects
image: LOCOG / getty


the bridge features two permanent footbridges linked by a central blade-like walkway,
creating a ‘Z’ shape clad in mirror-finish stainless steel that spans the river lea.
for games-time, a multi-coloured temporary deck has been placed between the
permanent spans of the bridge to increase the width, allowing it to carry increased
spectator numbers. the temporary games-time bridge deck has been covered with
a multi- coloured rubber surface inspired by the london 2012 brand colours.

after the games, the temporary bridge surface will be removed to create new links
from the olympic park concourse level down to the river tow paths and carpenters lock,
a 1930’s historic structure on the river lea owned by british waterways.


central park bridge by heneghan peng architects
image: LOCOG / getty

the areas around the legacy bridge will be landscaped to create new meeting spaces

and the permanent structural elements of the bridge will be further revealed with its

mirror-finished stainless steel cladding designed to reflect the sunlight off the water

in the river lea. a total of 125 tonnes of steel was used in the construction of the

central park bridge which has a games-time width of 58 metres, with the two main

permanent sections spanning 30m in length.

the central park bridge, which was last week shortlisted in the prime ministers better

public building awards, is part of the wider structures, bridges and highways project

– the single biggest construction project the oda has delivered to create new connections

across the olympic park. construction work is now 90 per cent complete on more than

30 new bridges and underpasses that cross waterways, roads and rivers to create

a connected, open and accessible olympic park for games and legacy.

you can find more about the central park bridge here

 


fully dressed water polo venue – banners and environmental graphics by futurebrand
image: LOCOG / getty

 


fully dressed water polo venue
image: LOCOG / getty


fully dressed water polo venue
image: LOCOG / getty


fully dressed water polo venue
image: LOCOG / getty


fully dressed water polo venue
image: LOCOG / getty




archery which will take place at lords cricket ground will look something like this
image: LOCOG / getty


hockey field using the london 2012 brand colors
image: LOCOG / getty


dressed BMW with graphics by futurebrand will make up the majority of the 2012 olympics vehicles fleet
image: futurebrand

 


dressed BMW with graphics by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


dressed BMWs with graphics by futurebrand 
image: futurebrand


walk in the park identity by futurebrand
image: futurebrand

walk in the park identity by futurebrand
‘walk in the park’ gives you the chance to see the olympic parklands from a completely different angle,
surrounded by meadows, trees, flowers and wildlife – and to discover fascinating facts about
its history and redevelopment. whether you have time for a 30-minute stroll or a three-mile walk,
it’s the perfect way to explore the olympic park – just follow the butterflies along the trail.

 

view of the parklands
image: LOCOG / getty

250 acres of new parklands, on former industrial land, that will provide a colourful and festival
atmosphere for the london 2012 games and afterwards become the largest new urban park
in the UK for over a century.

over 1,500 trees have been planted along with thousands of wetlands plants and the wetland bowl
in the north of the park is complete with 15,000 square metres of riverside spectator lawns,
timber seating, frog ponds, loggeries, wetlands, woodlands and tree-lined footpaths.

walk in the park identity by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


just follow the butterflies along the trail
image: futurebrand


olympic torch relay identity by futurebrand
image: futurebrand

torch relay identity by futurebrand
the olympic flame is an iconic symbol. the moment when the torch passes through
their neighbourhood is the moment when the olympic games becomes ‘real’ to them.
it is a moment when people feel connected to what can seem like a distant entity.
we wanted to make the most of this feeling of being ‘part of it’. we invited the public
to nominate people they knew personally, inspiring people, to become a torch bearer.
we encouraged the public to ‘give people their moment to shine.’


olympic torch relay uniform by adidas and livery by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


the sentiment is reflected in advertising and design. the design used the idea of reflected
and refracted light, always harking back to the flame itself. this design motif appears across print,
web and even the livery of the british airways plane bringing the flame from athens.

at the end of the application process we had found enough inspirational people to
fill the available torch bearer places tenfold. everyone nominated by their own peers,
nominated to proudly bear the torch through the streets of their own neighbourhoods.

olympic torch relay livery by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


detail of the olympic torch relay livery by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


british airways firefly with graphics by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


british airways firefly with graphics by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


aaron bell holds the olympic flame at the historic estate of temple newsam in leeds at the end of day 37 of the london 2012 olympic torch relay
image: LOCOG / getty

olympic torch by barberosgerby
winner of the london design museum ‘design of the year’ 2012, the torch is made from
a golden aluminium alloy that is perforated by 8000 circular holes, each representing one of
the 8000 torch-bearers that will take part in the olympic relay. it has a height of 800mm and
weighs 800g. more information about the torch can be found here and here.


paralympic graphics on the torch designed by barberosgerby
image: LOCOG / getty

 


medals by david watkins
image: LOCOG / getty



medals by david watkins
the medals’ circular form is a metaphor for the world. the front of the medal always depicts
the same imagery at the summer games – the greek goddess of victory, nike, stepping
out of the depiction of the panathinaiko stadium to arrive in the host city.

the core emblem is an architectural expression, a metaphor for the modern city, and is deliberately
jewel-like. the river thames in the background is a symbol for london and also suggests a fluttering
baroque ribbon, adding a sense of celebration.  the square is the final balancing motif of the design,
opposing the overall circularity of the design, emphasizing its focus on the centre and reinforcing
the sense of ‘place’ as in a map inset. the ribbons used for the medals were designed by futurebrand.


olympic winners podium by kims
image: kims

podium and ceremonial costumes by RCA students
the royal purple podiums and costumes were created by students at the royal college of art (RCA) in london.
the students have worked with london 2012 over the last eight months to create and develop the designs.

when designing the podiums, the team of students – gaetano ling, hong-yeul eom, luc fusaro, heegun koo
and yan lu – used dynamic lines representing the energy that the games and athletes represent.
40 podiums will be used across all the victory ceremonies and approximately 4,400 medal-winning athletes
will stand on them to celebrate their success formally.

 


olympic winners podium and ceremonial cotume

image: LOCOG / getty

the ceremonial costumes will be worn by games maker volunteers in athlete and presenter escort roles
and flower and medal bearer roles. the elegant and dynamic designs by students thomas crisp and
trine hav christensen represent london and its architecture with a modern twist. when designing the
costumes the students were inspired by greek mythology as well as british heritage. a hat will also
be worn by the presenter escorts. the inspiration for this design by former student zara gorman
included the architecture of the london 2012 olympic and paralympic games venues combined
with aspects of british tailoring and sportswear.


tickets by futurebrand
image: futurebrand

tickets by futurebrand
designed by futurebrand, the tickets incorporate someone’s pictogram designs
toegther with images of the venues each ticket features the relevant sport pictogram.
a specific colour scheme is used to denote each venue and use a hologram,
a barcode as security measures.


olympic merchandise store by futurebrand
image: futurebrand

merchandise shop by futurebrand
the merchandise shop had to reflect the core brand values of london 2012.
but, it also had to be an efficient and commercially viable retail space,
driving flow through the shop and up to the till.


olympic merchandise store by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


olympic mascots ‘wenlock’ and ‘mandeville’ by iris
image: futurebrand

 

‘wenlock’ and ‘mandeville’ mascots by iris
‘wenlock’ and ‘mandeville’ designed by iris are just as flexible as the rest of the 2012 identity,
with their appearance changing to incorporate different elements of the branding elements.
the one-eyed characters were created from the last two drops of british steel used for
the london 2012 olympic stadium – more information on the mascots can be found here.


sonnet wenlock, part of stroll: discovery trails
image © designboom


london 2012 festival billboard by futurebrand
image: futurebrand

london 2012 festival identity by futurebrand
the cultural olympiad runs alongside the olympic and paralympic games. it is a little known
and often misunderstood part of the games experience. the challenge is to drive awareness
of it and make it seem inviting and approachable. for many people ‘culture’ can seem heavy
and ominous. calling it london 2012 festival was the first step to making it more accessible.
the second step was the development of the pink ribbon, a symbol of celebration and inclusiveness.


london 2012 festival guide by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


london 2012 festival guide by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


london 2012 festival billboard by futurebrand
image: futurebrand


london 2012 festival graphics by futurebrand applied to turner margate galler
image: futurebrand

comments policy
LOG IN VIA
login with designboom
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

product library