So I was reading this AIGA article the other day [AIGA being an incredible designer’s resource, by the way] & I came across a rather odd use of a common English idiom. The writer states the London 2012 Olympics identity has stood the test of time. Maybe? But the problem is that it was used for four years, four years ago. This identity, albeit for a temporary event, has had no time to stand the test of time.

What is the test, exactly?

To say it lasted as long as the Second French Republic, or most U.S. presidential tenures, is hardly a test of time. Unless you’re talking about brevity, then bravo! Everyone has moved on! That identity will never be used again except in Wolf Ollin’s portfolio & maybe academic use.

Sadly, the article was written that London 2012 stands the longevity test. The previous version of the Olympics we just watched. Has the the previous version of anything had enough time to stand this test? Then what of an identity that is predictably reinvented two-to-three times a decade? I think it unlikely. Graphic design legend Milton Glaser didn’t score the logo as highly as several of its predecessors, even when narrowed to just summer Olympics.

What identity has stood the test of time?

Coca-Cola. Apple. Mastercard. Guinness. Nike. BMW. And so on.

Let’s stick with the first one. Coca-Cola, the beverage & the company, have been around since the late 1800s. It’s one of the 30 stocks that make up Dow Jones. It ranks 206 on Fortune’s Global 500 list. It’s had the same basic logo since 1891, with some variation in legal lines & tweaking of the script. They did have that weird blip in the ’80s where they tried being another beverage, but then they went back to being Coca-Cola & they’ve stayed that way ever since, forever & ever, Amen. Coca-Cola ranks near the top of every list of universally recognized brands, & thus has truly stood the test of time.

London 2012 can’t hold a candle to that.


What’s your opinion on the London 2012 Olympics identity—do you think it holds up? Leave a comment below!

The image above is a Halloween quilt design I’ve mocked up featuring the popular log cabin block, which has also stood the test of time.