London 2012 Should Have Crowdsourced its Logo

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This is a guest post by Alec Lynch, the founder and CEO of DesignCrowd a leading design crowdsourcing website and previous winner of ‘Startup of the week’.

London 2012 (the best Olympic games ever) had a major flaw – its logo. London 2012’s logo was, arguably, the worst Olympic logo ever. Perhaps Lake Placid’s Winter Olympics logo from 1932 was worse or maybe Montreal’s 1976 logo (that looked like someone giving everyone the middle finger) takes the gold medal. Either way, London’s logo (which cost £400,000 and took a year to make) is up there on the podium.

London’s logo was slammed when it was revealed in 2007 (50,000 people signed a petition to have it changed) and during the Olympics it some claimed the logo was being hidden. Even Iran publicly criticized the logo (claiming it was racist and included the word “Zion”). You know when President Ahmadinejad has a crack at your logo that you’ve got a problem.

In summary, many people hated the logo and £400,000 was too much to spend. Personally, I love the London logo as a case study in traditional design. It encapsulates three core problems many people have faced when buying design – slow turnaround times (it took a year to make), expensive fees (it cost £400,000) and risk (the design was crap). So, what should London have done? What can we do to avoid embarassments like this in the future?

The answer is crowdsourcing. Design crowdsourcing fixes the problems with the traditional design industry. It’s fast, cheap, more creative and risk-free. This is why crowdsourcing is disrupting the traditional design industry.

Imagine the response if the London Organising Committee had offered £100,000 (or even £10,000) in a design contest open to everyone around the world? They would’ve received tens of thousands of entries, generated positive publicity and saved hundreds of thousands of pounds. Lastly, and most importantly, this approach would’ve eliminated the risk of getting a poor result.

Here are 6 Reasons London 2012 Should Have Crowdsourced their Logo:

#1 – The Creativity

Crowdsourcing the logo would’ve attracted hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of great designs from people around the UK (or even the world).

#2 – The Savings

London could have saved at least £300,000 by crowdsourcing their logo (providing enough money to buy a proper North Korean flag).

#3 – The Olympic Spirit

Crowdsourcing is based on principles of competition, meritocracy and openness. This fits perfectly with the spirit of the Olympics.

#4 – The Wisdom of the Crowd

London could have used the crowd to help pick the winning logo. Public voting would’ve helped validate the decision.

#5 – The Need for Speed

Running a contest would have taken days or weeks rather than 12 months!

#6 – The Best Logo

Ultimately, a crowdsourced design contest for the London Olympics logo (if handled properly) would’ve found the best logo the world had to offer. A logo loved by the people and made by the people.

In conclusion, crowdsourcing – without doubt – should have been used for the London Olympic’s logo. Crowdsourcing is not just for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s also suitable for (and being adopted by) big brands, governments and large charities. So whether you’re a small business owner or Richard Branson, Lord Coe or President Ahmadinejad – you should use (or at least consider) crowdsourcing.

Catalin is the founder of Mostash – a social marketing boutique – and he’s always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.

  • J

    Are you mad?! Crowd sourcing = spec work. They would have been ” burned alive” for it. End result would have been worse than the London 2012 logo.

    • cortjezter


      If they went the crowdsourcing route, they should have offered tiered rewards for all entries, including a fair price for every submission, bonus for the final selection round, and then the big prize for the ‘winner’. Hell, throw in a gold medal while they’re at it.

      Or, they could just go the normal route, pay for X number of concepts, and then let the people vote on them.