Think London logo design
Think London logo by johnson banks

The Mayor of London’s office wants to rebrand the city and is inviting agencies to tender to create the new image.

Mayor Boris Johnson and his team have allocated a budget of £600,000 to create a new brand identity ahead of the 2012 Olympics. They want to have this in place by next spring.

Read the full story on Brand Republic.

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August 14, 2009


I definatley think that London should rebrand. I do think they are cutting it quite close on time with 2012 just around the corner, when speaking interms of Olympic prepreations. We’re a small firm, but we got ideas I think London would be interested in. Where would one go for more information on submitting a bid?

Wow, just wow.

I just hope he doesn’t suddenly become a civil hero and put the preliminary sketches up on a webbie and invite londoners to comment. The nightmare would never end.

Ironically enough, where would one go to research the ‘competition’ ?

Rebrand London? New logo and identity? Londinium was founded by the Romans in about AD47 & it’s been a sexy, lusted after, desired and coveted place since then. If you want to create a logo and identity from London, look at all the ladies wearing gladiator sandals (including me)….reach into the past and you’ll find your idea. If the logo and identity has anything to do with the Romans, I want my cut of the £600,000…carpe diem peeps…..carpe diem.
Natalija – Italian by birth and proud of the Roman influence on London innit.

This is unquestionably a gargantuan project. Boris has possibly called it correct as in this ‘current economic climate’ more designers/agencies will be desperate to speculate hoping to accumulate. I’m sure he’ll be inundated with proposals (of varying quality) but I feel this is a job for one of the big London agencies, for example the magnificent Johnson Banks. Whatever is chosen, it will be subject to mass criticism, warranted or not. I wonder if Wolf Ollins will pitch?

What price on the Mayor showing unprecedented bravery and appointing a foreign agency for their different take on all things London? ;)

I can’t wait to see what comes of it. The potential is there to create from a new, fresh perspective that other cities will look up to for years to come.

I have to say I’m a little confused.

You’ve got the Think London image linked in this post and which you’ve written about here and although this is apparently only designed to “sell the city as a location to the world’s businesses”, I see absolutely no reason why this can’t be used for London in general. It’s a fantastic logo with a hell of a lot of thought gone into it.

Your post mentions that Boris wants the logo before the Olympics – The Olympics are an international event and given that the Think London is aimed at an international audience, again, I see no reason why it couldn’t be incorporated into a rebrand of London.

Am I missing something?


I was also wondering the same thing. My guess is that the government has little to do with those promoting London as a vacation spot/travel destination. This sounds more like an official city logo. However, I’m in agreement with you in your opinion of the Think London campaign. I see no reason why it couldn’t be adopted as the city’s official branding.

Brilliant! … it’s a wonderful opportunity and a lot of money.

Wait a minute… why are they offering so much money? is this gig really a nightmare? or is this a result of the moral of the Olympic story?

Anyways, whoever gets this job will be getting very very very lucky afterwards. Think you’ll agree.


£600,000? I wonder how many many of work this would take. Even if the chosen design agency charged £100 per hour for such a prestigious project, that’s 6000-designer-hours. I’m wondering what exactly is involved in a project this scale apart from the logo?

If the process is anything like the one to work on the Olympic branding then I should imagine they’ve already got a shortlist of candidates lined up.

Martin, I agree with that. Johnson Banks would be a great choice, or how about Moon Brand or 300million?

Neil, Matt, that’s something I was wondering about, too. Maybe the marketing director isn’t so keen on the Think London identity.

Andrew, I’m pretty sure work would be ongoing from now until next spring. No doubt a huge project, incorporating the entire range of applications, from digital media to public transport.

I think almost EVERYONE in the design community agrees with that Lisa!

When working on a project the size of rebranding London, or branding the 2012 olympics you’re opening yourself to MASS critique which can work for – or against you.

I don’t want to turn this into another London 2012 logo debate but I can’t let Lisa’s comment go unanswered.

Personally, I’d take the 2012 logo over most of the previous, instantly forgettable logos from previous events – notable exceptions such as Mexico ’68 and Munich ’62.

And that’s not me being patriotic and waving the flag. I think it was a bold and exciting move and should be applauded rather than trashed.

Back on topic; I think it would be a project any designer would love to be involved in. However, as with most city branding projects, i’ve a feeling the final outcome will please and annoy in equal measures.

I like the 2012 Olympics logo too, Abbas (and I’m *not* from the UK). It isn’t, in itself, a thing of beauty (neither are many other Olympic logos), but it’s *different.* It’s unique and youthful and attention-getting. And from what I’ve seen of the system, it’s great. I think it will continue to grow on a lot of people until 2012.

For £600,000 I’ll do spec any day of the week!

Unfortunately, I’m unavailable to present to the panel on the day.

I ‘get’ the revulsion over spec work but the biggest branding agencies in the world do spec work…..

I agree, Nate. For a project of this size the deadline seems tight, even with an agency team working full-time.

Abbas, they are two notable exceptions. I’m right there with you.

Mark, there’s a big difference between writing a proposal and actually completing the project (the latter being what 99designs, Crowdspring, elogocontest, LogoMyWay etc. expect, and what I’m firmly against).

Fair one, but it’s my understanding that a certain *very* well-known and repected agency goes whole-hog, even with concepts in order to win the contract.

Moving sideways slightly; what are your thoughts on DesignOutpost?

I’m not very familiar with Design Outpost, Mark. I had a quick glance over the website and notice the copyright tagline in the footer says 2002-2005. Why do you ask?

Well, they run ‘design contests’ but under *very* strict criteria and what I would class as ‘peer mentoring’. One of the world’s best logo designers came from there… and I’m not referring to me! Lol ;-)

Younger designers email me from time-to-time, thanking me after reading one of my anti-spec posts. They tell me they started-out participating in design contests in the hope of earning some money, but that it didn’t take long before they became demoralised. From reading a lot of the comments left on spec websites I’m not at all surprised.

With you there – I left them not demoralised but just a little frustrated so went into business on my own. I do think however that design contests can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, yes they don’t do the industry any favours (or the client) but they can produce superb, world-class designers albeit very rarely. Who’s never heard of ‘Raja’? ;-)

Spec work/Contests/Template sites *must* end though for sure.

But you and I know that they won’t. Ever. We can campaign and whine until we’re blue in the face. In business, low cost will win out every time I’m afraid.

That’s one point where we disagree, Mark. I don’t believe that low cost wins every time. People will always be prepared to pay a premium for a higher quality service, or to buy from a vendor they trust.

As designers, it’s up to us to present those benefits, to build that trust.

No, I don’t think you get me. Yes, we can present the case for good value to a client that we engage directly – and most of the time convince them of the benefits. However, to the masses, they won’t ever understand *why* we’re good value. :-)

Showing what we do so others gain an insight is certainly an ongoing task, Mark, particularly as graphic design is a relatively new occupation. Barely a day goes by when I don’t receive an email asking “how much for a logo design”. And there was me thinking I already do enough to highlight my FAQ page.

It’s for the reason you state that I won’t target the masses as potential clients, preferring to deal with only those who already have an appreciation of the design process. Now finding those people, that’s another task altogether. :)

“Pricey stuff isn’t about the work, it’s about all the meetings and paperwork and golf games and connections and whatever else that’s unrelated to the actual work that goes waaay over budget and somebody gets mocked in the press but only after somebody else gets paid…”

From this forum thread.

You’re right. It’s a brilliant summary of what many of us were thinking. I’d also be gutted if I was part of Moving Brands, even if I didn’t agree with their call for the public to offer free work.

It’s not just the logo, it’s what people think of you. You can’t brand something that constantly changes and evolves. Do the I LOVE NY thing, that works like a charm.

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