Sunday, August 12, 2012

Designing A Very Public Logo For London, England

I read with great interest the very public way London, England is developing it's new logo. It has at its basis the tried and true "I Love NY" logo. After the public out-cry and backlash the city fathers received from their Olympic logo, they decided to involve the public in this next one. I believe this to be a very bad idea. Look beyond the fact that you simply can't satisfy everyone. Designing a logo has much more going for it than simply coming up with an attractive image. A lot of the brand has to be incorporated into it. And any reputable designer will tell you that designing by a committee is a recipe for failure. Mediocrity can result in playing it safe to appease a public. And you couldn't get a bigger committee than Twitter. To their credit, the powers that be, have assembled a panel of designers to flush out all the comments and suggestions and come up with a consensus design.

I'm sure the public are loving this one. They get to be a part of the process, all be it - a process they keenly don't understand. Frankly, I believe it is wrong headed. Asking the stake holders at large and because it's Twitter (the world) is asking for trouble. Professional designers can do exactly what is needed without input from the entire world. Many would argue, including the public that their opinion will deliver to them what they want. I contend that the public doesn't know what it wants. In this case they know they like "I Love NY" so of course they try and "copy" that. The public en mass have no imagination. Given the public's love of all things Apple these days, it might come as a surprise to many that the great Steve Jobs NEVER asked for the public's opinion on any of their products. Apple never holds focus groups or surveys to determine product and design decisions. Henry Ford summed it up perfectly, when he said, "If I had asked them what they wanted, they would have said Faster Horses." The most powerful way to engage the public (stake holders) is to invigorate them with powerful images that they would never have envisioned. Deliver the unexpected. 

Say what you will about the hated London Olympic logo, it IS original thinking. It did inspire conversation. Myself I'm not a fan. Focusing on the date not the location left me flat. BUT, I appreciate the effort and the process in which it was created. Sometimes you miss - that's all. 

I'm anxiously awaiting the outcome of London's logo experiment.  I have my favourite from what I saw. What ever they come with, I hope that it fulfills the goals set for it. I'd hate to see them doing this again in a few years. I'm also thinking out loud that if they have a problem with the brand - the logo is not the issue. Changing it will not resolve brand issues.

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