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Is it the Olympics? Or a recycling program?
The Vancouver 2010 graphic identity is a prime example of over-thinking and under-achieving. It's also a prime example of forgetting your audience and forgetting that this is branding. This graphic identity is intricate, layered, textured, colored...and it doesn't say Olympics. It doesn't say winter. It doesn't even say Vancouver.
The graphic identity for each Olympics is supposed to represent the place where the games are being held - its people, geography, culture, and spirit. But it's also supposed to say Olympics. "We're a great people. Watch as we host the biggest games in the world."
The Vancouver 2010 graphic identity pastel color-scheme doesn't even whisper Olympics. The intricate renditions of nature and urban intersection would be neat if they were standing alone as elements of a campaign, and if the campaign was about recycling. But, even so, this could be the identity for recycling in South Carolina.
Take a cue from the olympic icon - five rings, five colors. It was designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1912 to represent the five continents in the Olympic games. Simple.
Or take a cue from the games themselves - hard, fast, and competitive. Emboldened. This is an opportunity to showcase your people and your culture as they relate to the competitiveness and comradery of world-class athletes. These soft flowing curves take the viewer to pushing a stroller in a park, not racing down the luge at 90 miles per hour. (At which speeds, by the way, you don't notice the grain of the wood or the lapping waves).
This is a prime example of where the essence of the message wasn't captured, and the end product will not resonate and remain with the viewer.
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) has produced a video about the creation of this graphic identity that is worth watching if you're interested in the formative process. Unfortunately, the video is named Transmoflection - a title that once again tries to achieve too much and results in the non-memorable.
In the BrowserLab
I didn't want to kick-off this blog hocking Adobe products, but here it goes.
Far and away, the worst part of web development is cross-browser testing. There just isn't any one simple, quick way to see what your site is going to look like, and more importantly, how it's going to function, across different browsers.
Our market cornering friends at Adobe are trying to change that, however, with one of their latest projects, BrowserLab. Now in Beta and available for demo online at labs.adobe.com/technologies/browserlab, this software is attempting to become the one stop shop for browser testing.
At first glance, you may not think this is anything new. True, there are other services out there, such as browsershots.org, that can provide you with screenshots of your site on virtually every system-browser configuration possible, and they're free.
But after only using BrowserLab two or three times, I can assure you it's better to wait six seconds to get your screenshot than six minutes. Besides, as long as this is in Beta, it's free anyway.
Where Adobe really distinguishes itself from BrowserShots, though, is with its integration with Dreamweaver. I personally don't use Dreamweaver when I develop, but if I can start testing dynamic functionality as I go, I just might have to.
BrowserLab extensions for Dreamweaver will include the capability to test user interaction, print shots of multiple states in an application, as well as the ability to test AJAX functionality.
So in theory, we could be close to the day when you don't have to wait 5 minutes for screenshots, a day when you don't have to remote into another machine, and better yet, a day when you don't have to even own a product with Internet Explorer installed on it.
And isn't that all we really want anyway?