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Critics slam London Olympic logo

Fourth-Place Medal

The official logo of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Though "Inspire a generation" is the official motto for the London 2012 Olympic Games, inspiring a generation to hate the official logo for the London Olympics wasn't what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had in mind.

In 2007, shortly after the emblem was unveiled, a Change the London 2012 Logo petition was set up on GoPetition.com. The creator of the petition believed the logo was an embarrassment, and that it portrayed the host nation "in the worst possible way." Two days and nearly 50,000 signatures later, the petition was closed, as it became clear that the logo would not be changed.

Last year, the IOC responded to accusations from Iran's National Olympic Committee that the logo was racist because some believed they could see the word "Zion" in the abstract design. IOC President Jacques Rogge dismissed the criticism, saying the logo has nothing to do with racism and represents the year 2012.

[Related: Collectors hoard official Olympic coins, offend the gods]

Others take issue with the design. According to Feargus O'Sullivan of the Atlantic Cities, "A more serious failure is the Games' garish dog's dinner of a logo. A slapdash mess in acid colors, it looks like its designers have accidentally dropped it on the floor, then decided to use the shattered pieces anyway." Another critic insists that "anyone trying to equate this Olympics logo with what is no more than a marketing-driven branding exercise for a commercial endeavor really needs to step back, take a deep breath, and maybe a few eye drops. Sometimes bad work is just bad work."

To some it is an unlovable logo, but to the IOC the disjointed, puzzle-looking thing is a bold emblem that represents a brand identity. That brand is the year 2012, and the colors (pink, blue, green, and orange) are meant to convey an energetic and youthful tone.

According to the IOC, the logo represents the year in which the Games are taking place -- nothing else.

From the official London 2012 website:

"At the heart of the London 2012 brand is a bold Emblem. The Olympic Emblem is based on the number 2012 -- the year of the Games -- and includes the Olympic Rings, one of the world's most recognised brands, and the word 'London' -- the world's most diverse city. For the first time for a Host City, the Emblems for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are based on the same core shape, reflecting London's commitment to hosting a truly integrated Paralympic Games."

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