The Look of the London Olympics

By Peter Farnell-Watson, VI360

With the London Olympics 2012 fast approaching, we have started to see glimpses of the look of the Games and what we may be seeing on TV over the next few weeks.

Most of us have only seen parts of the identification system so far and it is very interesting to see how a number of different design and architectural companies have taken the core idea and expressed it in their own particular area to contribute to the whole. Key, of course, will be how it all looks on the TV and as a backdrop to the competitors.

From a branding point of view, an Olympic Games is an interesting case history as the 'brand' is really only used in very small doses over a four year period in the lead up to the Games by partners declaring their connection to it and by national sporting bodies for athletes and contestants to aim for. Then suddenly the brand becomes alive and ramps up to a two week crescendo when it will be almost the most recognised brand in the world; then weeks later after the event it will be yesterday's brand and it will have little or no commercial value, except as a heritage brand. It is rather like a butterfly – beautiful but with a short intense life.

Some of the design executions are better than others, but overall it is pretty impressive. It will be a wonderful Games from a contemporary design point of view.

Peter Farnell-Watson is a senior brand consultant with VI360 and has over 30 years' experience of global branding and design with clients such as GE, Shell and UBS.