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Adrian Shaughnessy Survives Journey Into Wolff Olins Den of Crazies

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We admire the courage of Creative Review and Design Observer contributor Adrian Shaughnessy, we really do. He has done something we wouldn’t do, not even if our blogging careers depended on it. He has visited a dangerous realm known worldwide for its proliferation of controversy, protest and seizures: He has visited the offices of Wolff Olins. Don’t worry, he was screened for epilepsy ahead of time.

He was even so bold as to ask them about the deadly Olympic logo, risking life, limb and permanent damage to his eyesight when speaking with the creators of the biggest design scandal of 2007, Brian Boylan and Patrick Cox. And even though Shaughnessy had called it (pick one) “ghastly, dreadful, impoverished, bad, unmemorable, trying to be trendy,” they were nice!

Both Boylin and Cox stand by the 2012 work. I expected them to be evasive, constrained by gagging orders from the London 2012 committee, but the opposite was true. They discussed it freely and with quiet enthusiasm, which made me realise that Lord Coe and his team committed an Olympic-sized error by not allowing Wolff Olins to defend their work. Their considered response would have deflected some of the media criticism.

To our amazement, Wolff Olins has done plenty of work that we hadn’t previously recognized them for, and we noticed some common themes. So without delay, a look back at the response to their other big clients:

London 2012 Olympics: Controversy, protest, seizures.
(RED): Controversy, protest.
NYC logo: Controversy, protest.

The only one that doesn’t fit the mold?

New Museum: Widespread praise (finally).

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