Friday, August 3, 2012


Despite needing to keep my eyes popped open with matchsticks right now due to staying up far too late many school nights in a row this week watching The Olympics, I wanted to do a brief little review for us all on branding and design for this world-class event. Reason being, and I'll cut straight to the chase, is that I've been pretty thrown by the typeface they're using for the London Games this year. Love or hate it… we are not in total agreement here in the studio, but in all honesty I'm leaning toward 'hate'. Actually correction, I'm not leaning at all, I conclusively completely detest it. 

The London 2012 custom typeface is known as "2012 Headline" and was designed by Gareth Hague of Alias Foundry. I'm wondering how on earth the designers so successfully held the wool over the committe's eyes, to convince them it was a good idea to go with something so clunky, irregular and quite frankly, uncomfortable. Perhaps it may have worked as an upright typeface, especially since the 'o's are not slanted anyhow, but to me the decision to italicise something already pretty awkward just seems to make it visually choke. 

I've had a dig around the net to see what people have been saying, and my favourite was a succinct comment found on a forum which said, 'where THE F did they manage to find a font uglier and more moronic than comic sans?' Funny.

We look back over the years and although the Sydney 2000 font, ITC Binary has definitely dated, it certainly oozed personality and screamed 'important, big and exciting sporting event with serious competition'. Both Athens and Beijing settled for classic sans serif typefaces, Gill Sans and Frutiger (I think). And then we come to the font "Rio 2016", which is the font designed by the prolific and classy Dalton Maag foundry for the games in Rio (I know, surprising name eh). These guys have absolutely nailed it – this font is a great reminder of why we call type symbols 'characters' – its fluid form really personifies the richness of the city of Rio, its joyful Brazillian people and the energy of the athletes in action. Thumbs up from me.

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