Roy McCarthy is a Liverpudlian artist and designer who has put together an alternative branding campaign for the London Olympics. As you may know, the Olympic committee is insanely protective of their brand and name, despite claiming to be an amateur sporting competition, and having stolen their name and idea from the ancient Greeks (ancient Greece must be in the public domain by now, right?).

On a local note, the International Olympic Committee bullied the Chicago improv troupe Improv Olympic into changing their name to the now-meaningless acronym IO; which the theatre decided to further bastardize with a lowercase initial (iO).

Mr McCarthy explains (better than I’m about to paraphrase) that he created the campaign for the sake of the small business owners who have legitimate fears of displaying the official Olympic brand. If you cannot pass out a Bible with the London 2012 logo (even though you could in Communist China), for fear of my very life, I will not post here the sacred image. Perhaps it is sacred. Iran believes the logo conceals the name ZION. (I don’t. I don’t think those strange neon blocks contain any rational code, least of all the year.)

With all the madness surrounding the official logo, it’s easy to sympathize with Mr McCarthy’s mission. The benefactors of his campaign now have a recognizable signal, free of charge and rights, to display to their customers; you know, those blokes who just want to watch the games without getting into a legal scuffle.

One recalls the recent nonsense of a billion-dollar American company threatening legal action against an English pub over recently acquired rights: Stephen Fry has confirmed he and Sir Ian McKellen will pay a copyright licence fee so a Southampton pub can carry on trading as The Hobbit.

I absolutely love this man and his mission. I particularly love the Pymlico designs that suggest re-arranging the letters.

I just hope Mr McCarthy has a security detail to protect him against the wrath of Wenlock and Mandeville.


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