When it comes to creating the correct branding identity for your company, getting the logo right is crucial. The ‘face’ of your business, it needs to be simultaneously memorable, unique, eye catching and versatile while remaining consistent and giving your audience a sense of what your brand is all about. PHEW. No wonder so many people get it wrong.

You will have heard (and maybe been a part) of the backlash against the London 2012 logo. Google ‘the simpsons olympic logo’ for some amusing comparisons, but be warned – you won’t look at it in the same way again. At a hefty £450,000 even Boris, arguably one of the most enthusiastic supporters of all things Olympic, has been left unimpressed.

Olympic Logo 2012 Design

2012 Logo


In case you were wondering, its supposed to contain the number 2012 and appeal to the internet generation. We aren’t too sure and a quick search of the internet shows even official sources listing several confused interpretations. What do you think of it compared to Rio’s attempt?

Rio 2016 Olympic Logo

Rio 2016


More recently, Microsoft have come under fire for their ‘boring’ logo redesign, although views have been polarised, many have criticised the simple design as not being distinctive enough .

Microsoft Logo

Microsoft Logo


So what can we learn when designing our own business logos from these reactions?

Standalone V A Good Fit

Much of the criticism of the 2012 logo was down to a lack of understanding. The real purpose was not as a standalone logo, but as a brand that extended to every part of the games. Unfortunately the logo did not come to life, as expected, as the other branding in the games came to light. Although the potential was there to transform it in various marketing forms – it has been used primarily used as a stamp, a position in which it was confusing and uneasy

Lesson: Application is very important. Integrate your logo into the wider brand environment.

Simple v Distinctive

The Microsoft logo represents the struggle logo designers encounter when trying to create an image that is both simple and distinctive. In Microsoft case, many feel that while it is a strong simple image, it has failed in creating a distinctive corporate identity.

Lesson: Pick something simple, but not familiar.