Friday, June 08, 2007

London 2012

No don't glaze over. New slant coming up. Promise.

This blog does not really concern itself with design matters. Not even having a colour memory I have concentrated mainly on painting word pictures. But many of the blogs I visit have had something to say about this new logo for the London Olympics.

Steve Clarke is unhappy but Dave Walker likes it. In the media the discussion has been about the £400,000 it cost to arrive at this result and since I know a little about the work that may have gone on to justify that fee let me explain.

First up it is important to respond to the, 'My little sister could have done that' school of criticism. She didn't. Art is owned. The artist produces and may then choose to sell. Your little sister didn't get the commission so she couldn't have done it.

But let's be lenient and assume your little sister did a nice little drawing. Here's the problem. The Olympic Games is the biggest multi-cultural international event on the planet. And around the world different cultures represent different things differently. Are you sure your sister's drawing doesn't spell out 'Bastard' in Polynesian? Does it (accidentally of course who would doubt your little sister's integrity?) include a symbol that is Japanese for penis? Are those colours the southern ocean community's recognised depiction of the death penalty?

Well probably not, but you do need to check. And that costs money.

As to the complaint that the logo, once animated, may cause epilepsy. Lots of things might. That is why warnings are given at shows, movies or gigs where such effects as strobe lighting are used. The failure to issue a warning, if that was indeed the case, was not the fault of the logo designers.

OK I'm having a day off today so I think I'll play with my willy; my 1966 World Cup Willy. He's a lion on a ball-bearing and jolly nice he is too. Times change don't they?

By the way did anyone else notice the remarkable resonance between the style of the logo and the geometric and vibrant work of Hélio Oiticica on display in ‘The Body of Colour’ at Tate Modern until 23rd September? Thought not.


Ruth said...

That's interesting because in 1950s inner-city Nottingham, 'willy' definitely already meant what I presume you are flagging as a recent meaning. (And I think you meant 'play' not 'pay'? Can't believe World Cup Willy is the new currency!)

St said...

Thanks Ruth. Have edited. Wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea.

You are right there was that meaning but it was in parallel with being 'just a name'. It was also my nickname at school because of the obvious rhyme.

Mrs Thatcher once, famously, said of Willy Whitelaw, 'Every Prime Minister should have a willy.' She was not joking (she had no sense of humour) and this would have been around 1983 or so.

Ruth said...

That is interesting. I had a schoolfellow called Wilma who had moved to Nottingham from Scotland. In Scotland she had been shortened to 'Willy' but in Nottingham she very rapidly learnt that this was not a good name to have. So maybe there was some regional variation as well as a temporal one.

I can't help thinking Freud would have something to say about Mrs Thatcher's need for a Willy!

david said...

Unfortunately, my own World Cup Willy got lost sometime in one of the various house moves since 1966. I recall that I also had a Dalek of similar size with a ball bearing in the base. Could probably flog them for a fortune on e-bay now.