An Emblem of Profligacy

In a spat reminiscent of the row over the London 2012 logo, the newly revealed branding for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games has come in for criticism today - for looking too much like some other logo, designed by the same agency a couple of years ago.  So games organisers are now left with a design that no one seems to like that has cost them tens of thousands of pounds... hmmm, sound familiar?


Brand consultants Marque Creative proudly offered the design on the right for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.  Critics quickly pointed out that it looks remarkably like the design on the left, which was produced for The Common Guild several years ago, by the same company.  Organisers spent about £95,000 on launching the new branding, which will be used to attract sponsorship for the 11-day sporting event.  Surprisingly, members of the selection panel were even aware of The Common Guild logo before choosing the design by Marque from more than 60 other entries.

£95,000 is an awful lot of taxpayers' money to spend on a branding in the first place, let alone on something reminiscent of the 'Masterchef' logo. 


Or perhaps they could have saved the money by not hiring a pricey design firm in the first place.  When the late Dame Anita Roddick set up the Body Shop she reportedly ran a competition for someone to design a logo for it, with the winner (a local student) signing over all copyright to her for a nominal sum.  The image is now widely recognised and continues to be used; it worked for the Body Shop, why can't it work for the games? 

One reason why creating branding and logos costs a lot of money is because the designs carry within them a meaning and an intellectual property right.  In this case taxpayers have been ripped off: the design doesn't uniquely identify the games as it's heavily derivative of an older logo.  The designers should hand back their fee.  On top of this, I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned that the logo reflects
nothing unique about Scotland, references nothing Scottish, or
Glaswegian and doesn't seem to invoke the spirit of the city or country
at all.  Then there is the almost mystical air that creative-types try to propagate around the business of logo-creation.  It is an attitude that only high-minded designers can understand the value and import of what a logo conveys, so it all comes at a premium.  But this is all a story spun by the industry to preserve itself; The Body Shop story is testament to the fact that logo design can be done successfully for a fraction of the cost.  The organisers of Glasgow's Commonwealth Games have failed to get value for money in every way, and the designers are laughing all the way to the bank, having fobbed off their clients with a second hand logo.

It's criminal to spend these huge sums of money, especially when ordinary taxpayers are struggling to get by and cuts are being made elsewhere.  The logo, like those in charge of the games, is all show and no substance and already a disappointment to the Scottish public.

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