Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games logo

by Jonathan

June 2013

Why does Australia put up with bad graphic design? We can point to some wondrous examples of design in architecture, furniture and industrial design, but the area of design that frequently lets the whole of Australia down is graphics. And so it is, once again, with the launch of something mind-numbingly awful, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games identity. Prepare your eyes for the onslaught, for this is tackiness taken to new hyper-colourful extremes, a Technicolor vomit reaching out in all directions in some vain search for a reason for its existence. It reminds me of that Ripley clone in Alien: Resurrection, crying out for the real Ripley to kill her, to save her from the pain of living, and save us all from the horror they are trying to breed inside her. In this case they are desperately trying to gestate some sort of happy clappy sporting narrative; cue words like vibrance, endeavour, joy! And so we have the bland ‘brand story’ telling us that this monstrosity ‘reflects the depth of heritage and deep humanity of the Games’. Yes, look at the logo again and wallow in that heritage and humanity. WTF?!

Let’s just admit that this is lazy and puerile design. We need athletes. Check! Bright sparkly colours. Check! Something special that will make people know it’s the Gold Coast…….eh…….I said something that will make people know it’s the GOLD COAST! More colours? Check! But no, apparently we need skyscrapers, as they are unique to the Gold Coast, evidently. I see that the spiky central building is meant to be the Q1 building – so we have an apartment block, resort and spa as the central element of the Australian Commonwealth Games logo. From the press release: Games Minister Jann Stuckey described to the crowd how the Q1 building at Surfers Paradise had also been represented along with the city’s golden beaches and green hinterland. ”It captures the essence of the Gold Coast and what the Games are all about,” she said. So the games must be about high rise excess then? Hurrah for the heritage and humanity. The real estate agents must love it.

There was a bit of an online rush of apologise for this mess when it was launched a few weeks back, to point out that this was probably design by committee or focus group, so maybe it’s not really the fault of some hapless (and bafflingly website-less) ‘design’ agency in Sydney (WiteKite if you are interested). That argument is pure defeatist, i.e. it would have been just too hard to get an innovative and refreshing idea past the dinosaurs in Queensland. Well, to me that’s just insulting to the organisers, Queenslanders and Australians. And to try and excuse the designers is to excuse them for not doing their job. So we, Australians who love good design, have to grin and bear it while this communicates its trashy message to the world: an Australia that’s a crass disco ball of skyscraper real estate, an Australia that looks back (again) to Sydney 2000 for a laid-back typestyle but then makes this mess, an Australia that has nothing innovative or genuinely exciting to say to the world. Well, I’ve had enough. I managed to contain my rage when I saw the blatant South Africa 2010 World Cup rip-off that is the Asian Cup 2015 logo, but this takes the Anzac biscuit.

Reading the hype I now wonder if the logo has to be pumped up to balance the inferiority complexes of the place, committee or state, because the creators want us to believe that it is an overachieving and iconic image. To me it perpetuates the idea that the Gold Coast feels second best, so once they create something they have to tell us why it’s not really bad, but in fact it’s brilliant….dynamic, vibrant, energetic, heroic even! What these people fail to understand is that true heroism lies in creating something brave, something different, something we didn’t know was right until we saw it, something that gives us a new perspective about a place, an event or a country.

I feel sorry for Queenslanders yet again, being portrayed as tacky, glittery and tasteless…by NSW designers! The Commonwealth Games are surely a great reason to visit the Gold Coast but if this logo epitomises what’s on offer, it’s reason enough to stay away. I leave the last comment to a Mikey Butz, commenting on the Brand New website: ‘At times it seems that Australian design is either total shit or total candy; this looks like shit made of candy’.

Disclosure: We wanted to design the logo but as we couldn’t even dream of producing something like this, we didn’t make the shortlist.

Image(s): N/A

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