LONDON - When the London 2012 logo was unveiled, such was the reaction, the sound of an entire population collectively sucking air through its teeth was audible in space.
Following the release of the latest Olympic offering, the branding for Sochi 2014, Russia's first Winter Games, Brand Republic called on some of the UK's leading agencies to offer their thoughts on the new logo.
"My first reaction was thank goodness it's not trying to be desperately hip. Because, as we all now know, you just end up looking a bit desperate.
"My second was to wonder how the organizers had managed to send me 2500 words over four separate documents to explain a logo containing 11 characters, a bit of mirroring and the Olympic Rings. People do overcomplicate this stuff, don't they?
"So I've ignored all that gumph and decided, without the aid of the organisers' PR gurus, that it's simple modern, straightforward and professional.
"I don't thinking adding a URL is akin to a major breakthrough in medical science, neither do I think this alone will transform Sochi 2014 into the first multimedia digital games in the history of mankind.
"I think it's just a good, commonsense idea. And at least everyone will know Sochi is in Russia. Job done."
"I'm no fan of the London 2012 identity so it's a relief to see Sochi 2014 restore some sanity.
"As a logo, it should work well in small sizes and next to other partner logos — key from a commercial point of view. It feels fresh and up-to-date, promising a new Russia that perhaps the wider world does not know (think how Beijing benefitted in this regard).
"I'll be interested to see how the URL plays out — has the system been designed to drop the '.ru' in certain circumstances? But I'd applaud Sochi's commitment to driving their audience to a URL, something that will allow them to control the experience much more directly.
"The typographical mirroring of the 'h/y' 's/z' and '0/o' feels clumsy, however, and undermines the symmetry of the logo.
"But, as ever, it's the experience not the logo that will make this brand. I've forgotten the Beijing logo already.
Executive creative director
"What has been heralded as a 'ground breaking logo' for the Sochi Winter Games looks to me disappointingly, not very 'ground breaking'.
"At first glance it simply looks like text next to the Olympic rings. On second glance you realise it's been designed with some interesting symmetry. And on the third glance it becomes apparent that what looks like 'Sochi Zoiy' is in fact 'Sochi 2014'. So, a dull design which, when persevered with, communicates a and a date.
"It's hardly the 'icon and inspiration to people from across the world to celebrate the thrill of Russia's first Olympic Winter Games' that it promised to be. On a positive note it looks infinitely more stylish than the controversial London 2012 jigsaw logo but nowhere near as memorable. At least the London 2012 logo looks as if it's trying to break ground — or something, at any rate."
"Not so much 'Gateway to the future!' as 'Back to the Future by way of Heroic Soviet Past'.
"Muscular, cold and imperious, it reminds one of the 1970's Soviet Union with its retro feel rather than the open and contemporary Russia that the organisers say they want to promote.
"While much better than the traditional fluffy bears and snowflakes often deployed it nevertheless feels very expected."
"I think that the Winter Olympics have produced some of the best Olympic identities overall, Lake Placid '80, Sarajevo '84, Torino '06 and my personal favourite Sapporo '72."
"I think that the disappointment I have with the Sochi Zoiy (first impression - I didn't didn't see 2014) is that it's pretty much devoid of any kind of an idea, the mirrored hi/so typography didn't register for me at first.
"It's all a bit basic, blue and white for Russia and winter. The overarching Games message is that Sochi 2014 is the 'Gateway to the Future', but this identity kind of feels like a throwback to 70's Soviet Russia, and not in a positive way."