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UK designer Roy McCarthy has developed an alternative Olympics brand, intended for people to celebrate the Games in their own environment. McCarthy was inspired by an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show last weekend in the UK, during which Lord Coe was questioned about legislation around the use of the London 2012 branding. Coe’s remarks were later quoted by Owen Gibson in The Guardian, saying that the legislation was essential “in protecting the sponsors who come to the table with a lot of money to help us stage these Games”.

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McCarthy felt this approach to be heavy handed, preventing smaller businesses and individuals from using any element of the Olympics identity in their personal celebrations at home, in pubs, shops, venues and at work. McCarthy was inspired, and created an identity for the Olympic games.

McCarthy’s solution was to create a free-to-use brand kit called Pymlico, comprising of a logo, posters, and various supporting idents available for people to download and utilize as they wish in order to demonstrate their support for the Games.

The final outcome is based around a target design similar to the one submitted by designer Daniel Eatock as part of his bid for the 2012 Olympics logo in 2003. After the reaction to the official 2012 logo by Wolf Olins, Eatock also made his roundel design available as an alternative logo for the Games in 2007, available as a download from his site as an eps file.

“I had done a design that was more similar to Eatock’s, with its distinct rings,” says McCarthy, “but as I was about to make the mock-ups I thought I should research it and check, which is when I found his design. So I took the white out and started again with a new design, which became the “LOOK HERE!” logo. I expanded the idea, including a circular version. Since publishing the idea a number of people have pointed out the similarities between the two logos, but I think the differences between the two are big enough to mean there won’t be any confusion.” (via Creative Review).

Unlike the official logo, McCarthy has placed no restrictions on the way the Pymlico brand and logo can be used. “I see it as a way of putting posters up in windows and saying ‘we’re watching the Olympics’ without using the rings,” he says (via Creative Review). “I suppose I want people to respect the needs of the official sponsors, and at the same time show that they don’t need to use the official branding, if it’s unavailable to them.”

Brand Strategist David Young, of Signals, tweeted that McCarthy’s brand kit is “A proactive response to Olympics heavy handed approach to #branding protection.” Other design industry figures have commented that Pymlico is “an alternate brand for London 2012 that you can use without getting locked up” (via Twitter, @mattround) and that “There’s a small, polite & rebellious revolution brewing in London. Follow @vivapymlico and get the logo”

(via Twitter @Scicilian_Donkey)
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