Beyond 2012 - an integrated Design Story

A graphic design story

“Our core idea was to use the lines and shards ¬that emanate from the logo to create a ‘burst of energy’.”

Shane Greaves,
Executive Creative Director

Tell us about the early design brief

FutureBrand, as part of the McCann Worldgroup (which was employed as the LOCOG official marketing services provider), was responsible for creating ‘The Look’ of London 2012 and developing an identity system that worked across every touchpoint, from venues, signage and interior dressing, to street dressing, ticket design and medal ribbons – essentially every physical touchpoint that spectators, sponsors, officials, the media, and athletes would come into contact with during the course of London 2012.

What inspired your design concept?

FutureBrand inherited the basic design components from Wolff Olins; the logo, colour palette, and typeface. Using these base components our core idea was to use the lines and shards ¬that emanate from the logo to create a ‘burst of energy’. The feeling of energy stems back to the idea of a festival of human endeavour, with athletes pushing beyond their personal best.

The grid is used in a flexible and dynamic way, creating shard patterns and textures that radiate from a central focal point. The joy of this graphic device is that it can be adapted across lots of different spaces and places, yet remain clearly recognisable and consistent. This allowed us to tell a single design story, from the seating bowl designs to the patterning on the concourse.

The ensuing look is provocative, unexpected, distinctive and bursting with life. It captures the youthful spirit of London and the energy of the London 2012 Games. This core look was evolved to create separate but related identities for each of main sub-brands that are a vital part of the London 2012 experience such as the Games Makers, torch relay and London 2012 Festival – each had to remain true to the core spirit of the Games look, but develop a distinct take on it.

What challenges did you face along the way?

Limited budgets and the need to be able to easily manipulate the design across multiple applications required a solution based on a highly flexible design system that could be interpreted to be used on 2D applications, such as ticket designs and medal ribbons, to 3D applications such as wayfinding structures.

To ensure that all parties from architects and designers to culture teams, the GLA and sponsors understood the immensity of the design task, we ran a creative stakeholder workshop at the British Olympic Association over two days in 2010 to engage these parties and start to germinate the creative ambitions for the London 2012 brand.

What about specific design challenges?

We needed to ensure every individual creative agency fully understood the system and its creative nuances. We held regular critiques with design teams from within and outside LOCOG, including sponsors, merchandisers and digital teams to ensure designs reflected the spirit of the design concept.

How did it feel to be involved in such an important British project?

Immense pride. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to one of the most truly globally visible sporting events.


Company name

Design of the look of the Games, ticket designs, city dressing for London and the UK, London 2012 Festival, prestige ticketing brand, pavilion environments, London 2012 retail stores and Olympic and Paralympic torch relays.


Project team

Shane Greaves
Executive Creative Director

Matt Buckhurst
Creative Director

Adam Savage
Design Director

Gio Rodolfi

Lou Swaine

More 2012 stories

Olympic Cauldron
Stage One Creative Services Ltd

Olympic Mascots
iris Worldwide

Olympic Torch and Relay Artefacts
Paul Raindle

Olympic Cauldron
Heatherwick Studios

Paralympic Games medals
Lin Cheung