Monday, March 8, 2010

Criticism a-go-go for new Glasgow Commonwealth games logo

SCOTLAND'S largest city has been responsible for some of Britain's most iconic marketing slogans. "Glasgow's Miles Better" and "Glasgow: Scotland with Style" both captured the vibe and culture of the city and its people.

But yesterday city chiefs were forced on to the defensive after the new logo for the 2014 Commonwealth Games was met with stinging criticism from design experts.

Unveiled to much fanfare after months of cogitation, the £95,000 design was derided as complicated, serious, messy and old fashioned.

The logo consists of four coloured circles which represent different aspects of the sporting games.

It is based around four numbers associated with the games – the 20th time the games have been held, the 17 sports represented, the 11 days of the competition and one host city.

The second ring is precisely 17/20ths of the size of the full outer circle, and the third ring is 11/20ths of the size. At the heart of the logo is the letter G standing for the host city.

But asked by The Scotsman to evaluate the logo, Steve Creamer, creative director for Peek Creative, said: "It's not clear what this mark is meant to represent. It seems confused and a bit messy.

"Any brand mark that needs an explanation to go with it hasn't really succeeded in achieving its goal."

He said examples of successful brands, such as those for Apple, Nike or Adidas, were simple and obvious.

He added: "Anything that needs an essay in explanation isn't really very good because we don't really interact with brands in that way."

Mr Creamer thought the logo looked old fashioned, belonging more to the 1960s than 2010. "The G reminds me of the old Girobanks," he added.

Paul Hitchens, creative branding director at Verve, a creative brand consultancy, thought it looked "heavy" and "serious".

"There is a mathematical reasoning behind it – behind an event that's about sport and passion. It's so academic that I don't think that will really connect with the multitude. It's quite perplexing when you do read the rationale for it."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games denied it was complicated.

"It has a very strong rationale behind it," she said. "We wanted to create something that was stylish and passionate and fun and graphically very clean."

The logo, which cost about a quarter of that created for the 2012 Olympics in London, is expected to help generate about £80 million. It will be used as a key part of the branding of the games and used to attract sponsorship.

For the first time, the Commonwealth Games Federation approved the use of an alternative Gaelic form of the design. The Gaelic version reads Glaschu 2014, followed by "20mh Geamaichean a'Cho Fhlaitheis" (20th Commonwealth Games).

The logo was designed by Marque Creative Ltd, a Glasgow-based firm chosen from 66 entries.

The green G in the centre was chosen because Glasgow means "Dear Green Place" in Gaelic.

Mark Noe, managing director of Marque, said: "We hope the identity will become an iconic symbol celebrating a very special moment in time."

John Scott, chief executive of Glasgow 2014 Limited, praised the new design's "fun and flexibility".

He said: "I believe it is a classic piece of graphic design. I think it will last the test of time and serve us well as we launch our commercial programme.

"We are both delighted and excited about our new identity. We believe it is truly iconic and befitting of a world-class city."


• THE logo for the 2012 Olympics in London cost £400,000 and it took the best part of a year to create. It immediately attracted widespread disapproval, being described as a mess.

• The logo for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa features a football player kicking a ball in the air – the stance of the player pointing upwards apparently symbolises the growth of football in Africa.

• The Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games motif was inspired by the Chakra, the national symbol of freedom, unity and power. A rainbow Chakra spirals upwards in the shape of a human figure.

• World Cup Willie, the mascot for the 1966 competition, was the first World Cup mascot, and one of the first mascots for a major sporting event.

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