‘The 2009 UK Countdown to London 2012 £5 Coin is an Official Licensed Product of London 2012 and as such is housed in specific London 2012 packaging and features the official London 2012 logo.’ And that’s the problem.
The coin is the first in a series of four to be launched annually from now until 2012. On the reverse, it features the number three to signify three years until the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, alongside images of swimmers racing to the finish line, while the framework border is a reference to the new Olympic stadium as seen from above.
A press release explains that “The gold and silver versions of the coin are the first UK £5 coins to feature the Olympic rings and logo in full colour.” And doesn’t it stick out like a sore thumb?
Ever since the logo was first unveiled, designers have been querying its ability to work alongside other visual elements. In our May issue, we have a major feature on design and the Olympics in which this issue is further discussed and cited as a reason for some leading design groups choosing not to apply to work on the games (read it here).
Print ads from sponsors have been featuring the logo for sometime now, with decidedly mixed results. Every morning, I pass a BP billboard on which the logo appears in black and white, stuck as far as possible into the bottom left corner. And still it looks wrong.
In this instance, it doesn’t help that the logo has, bizarrely, been rendered in bright blue. While it’s an interesting development to see colour used on a coin, here the effect is to make the logo appear even more awkward as it totally overwhelms designer Claire Aldridge’s composition.
Anyway, here’s what she had to say about the design: “The central theme to the coin’s design is counting down to 2012, with the design depicting the idea of a ticking clock and the number of years until London 2012. The 2009 coin represents the sport of swimming and features figures made up of angular shapes to echo the style of the London 2012 logo. While the idea of counting down is dominant, it shouldn’t jump out immediately due to the use of frosting.”
Only 4,000 gold proof coins (which cost £1,295 each) will be produced by the Royal Mint. In addition, 30,000 silver proof coins (£54.95 each) and 500,000 cupro-nickel coins (£9.95 each) will be available.