The Euro 2012 graphic sign

Disaster. The graphic sign of Euro 2012 is a complete distaster. For many reasons. The main logo supposes to be the sign of two hosting countries - Poland and Ukraine, but it is not. It is the sign of Ukraine alone. Anyone who has been to Ukraine at least once, has dined in a roadside bar or has gone to the shopping there, notes, that the sign perfectly fits to the Ukraine's folk iconosphere.


The authors of the sign claim that they were inspired by Polish paper-cut. Unfortunately, this is a missed claim. Polish paper-cut uses completely different graphic language. Even though the authors did fuse modern folk elements of both countries, they’ve ended up with a perfectly Ukrainian style, but not the Polish one.  The sign alludes more to Russian matryoshkas than Polish paper-cuts. Polish elements in the sign are illegible, while the Ukrainian ones are clear, in separate and as a whole.

What is more, for the first time the sign was presented with Kiev Orthodox Church in the background, which had nothing to do with Poland. Juxtapositions like that create semantic relations between the sign and illustration. In this case, it says that the ball in the sign is like dome of the Orthodox church.

Perhaps for the Western Europe Byzantine and Orthodox in its essence Ukraine is visually more exotic and interesting than Roman-Catholic and Latin Poland, but still, the sign should represent both countries. On the other hand, the influence of the European Football Championship on the country’s promotion is rather exaggerated. According to the research Euro Championship is not even in the top 10 of the events that influence the country’s image (btw, there is an event that has a negative impact in the country’s image: Miss World competition). But again, Poland and Ukraine should have used that properly.

In this context, the sign is inadequate to the situation of the both countries, as well as Polish and Ukrainian mentality. It does no good to anyone. “A tribute to the flora and fauna of both countries” – say the authors of the sign. That explanation sounds rather hilarious. Both countries bring potential for changes, they are not the skansen or folk museum.

Euro is an event based on emotions. Emotions are energy - the energy, which you can't see while looking on the sign. The sign of Euro 2012 could be better used for ecological organisation or farm tourism promotion, not for promotion of two countries.

That kind of sign has to be investigated in the context of other contemporary signs functioning in mass culture, not only in sport. On that background Euro 2012 sign is sad, unemotional and unattractive. I think that after the event nobody will remeber it.

In this situation good logo is in maximum original, strongly emotional and attention! even controversial. Good example is logo of Olympic Games in London 2012 - different from other Olympic Games logos, controversial, but also modern. There is a lot of discussions about it in England and all over the World, and certainly it is unforgettable. The logo realises one brand-important thing - "tells" us: "if you think that you are in avangard culture, you are wrong, because we are the avangard."

In the language of proffesionals this means that England and London has been positioned perfectly and effectively. Unfortunately we can't say the same about sign Euro 2012 Poland - Ukraine. 

Author: Wojciech Mierowski
Agency: Brand Nature Access