Well, the Olympics and Paralympics have now finished and I think it’s time to reflect on what is probably one of the greatest logos of all time. The Olympic Rings are truly iconic symbol of sport and culture. They are one of the few internationally recognised logos. But what is it that makes the Olympic Rings truly iconic and one of the greatest logos ever?
Any great logo should symbolise more than it represents. The Rings (and the Ageters) represent an organisation and a sporting event but they symbolise friendship, excellence and unity. They symbolise the striving to be better, to push yourself harder, jump higher, run faster, throw further, to swim and cycle quicker than anyone else. They symbolise national pride, the overcoming of the odds and the desire to be the best in the world.
But as we have seen so recently, they symbolise even more than that. Because the Olympics and Paralympics happen in front of an audience of billions. As we saw so recently, 80,000 people screaming home their heroes is an incredible thing to witness. To stand in that throng and sing the National anthem is a truly powerful experience. New words have been used: Legacy and Inspiration. The Olympic and Paralympic games of London 2012 were truly inspirational.
And five simple rings and three simple curves simply symbolise all of that.
It’s incredible if you think about it. How something so simple can symbolise so much.
Logos don’t have to be complicated things. As a designer, it is so easy to get caught up in the designy-ness of it all but as with so many things the simplest things are often the best. A logo shouldn’t say what you do, it should represent who you are. It should convey a message, symbolise the values of the organisation, the things that makes its heart beat.
A great logo represents more than just the organisation, it symbolises, communicates, informs and inspires.
And the Olympic Rings and Paralympic Ageters do just that. Which is why, together, they win my vote for Best Logo of All Time.