Monday, 25 June 2012

The Olympic Games and Puma

Well everyone else is jumping on the band wagon so why not....for this years Olympic Games Puma have released the Basket Classic Games, a series of 4 limited edition colourways in remembrance of 4 previous Games.  The Games that Puma have chosen are;

LA 1984 (Blue Red & White)

The 1984 Games are most remembered for the boycott.  In retaliation to the US boycotting the 1980 Olympics in Moscow due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 17 countries including the Soviet Union, East Germany and Cuba from the 'Eastern Block' then boycotted the US Games.  I must say although i'm sure it sent a 'strong political message' it does sound a bit like the playground at school "you didn't come to mine so I'm not going to come to yours".  The 1984 Olympics also saw the introduction of sponsors for the 1st time, they had 43 companies who were licensed to sell 'official' products for the Games.  It was due to the introduction of sponsorship that the 1984 Games were the first ones since 1932 that turned a profit, $225 million to be exact, that is one hell of a turn around, however you have to ask why did they continue for 50 years and 11 summer games (there were no Olympics in 1940 or 1944 due to WWII) before thinking of doing this!!!!  The 1984 LA Olympics also saw the first American woman to win an individual Gold Medal in the women's gymnastics all-around event, she also won the more medals (five in total) than any other athlete in the 1984 Games.

LONDON 1948 (White & Blue)

The 1948 London Games were the first to be held after WWII as such most of Europe was still ravaged from the war.  Many people debated and protested as weather it was a good idea to have a 'festival' when most of  Europe was in ruins and many people were quite literally starving.  However after so much austerity it was decided that a celebration and a coming together of countries could only be a good thing after the recent happenings (Germany and Japan were not invited to participate, it was a bit to soon for that).  To 'help' England out (we were still in post war rationing at the time) it was agreed that all the athletes would bring their own food and any surplus food that was left over was all donated to British hospitals.  Unlike now when there a millions of pounds being spent on new facilities for the 2012 Games back in 1948 the funds and time was not available, there was no new stadium or Olympic Village, Wembley Stadium had survived throughout the bombing and made an adequate facility whilst all male athletes were housed in Uxbridge at an Army Camp and all female athletes at Southlands College in their dormitories.  There was one major debacle at the London 1948 Olympics, although the US 400m relay had won the race by over 15 feet an umpire ruled that the baton had been passed outside of the passing zone and so the US team were disqualified making the UK the Gold Medalists (yey!) however after the US officially appealed a careful review of photo's and films taken of the race it was decided that the pass had in fact been completely legal and the US were in fact the rightful Gold Medal winners.  The UK team had to give up their Gold Medals (boo! hoo!) and give them to the US, the Italian Team had to give up their Silver Medals to give to the UK whilst the Hungarian Team had to give up their Bronze medals to give to the Italians.  The poor Hungarian Team who thought they had won a medal ended up with nothing :(

MEXICO 1968 (Grey Violet & Amazon Green)

The Mexican Games in Mexico City 1968 were surrounded with controversy before they even began....10 days before the Games were due to open the Mexican Army surrounded a group of student protesters at the Plaza of Three Cultures and opened fire.  It was estimated that 267 people were killed that day along with over 1000 injured.  What a way to start an Olympic Games with the eyes of the world on you.  The controversy continued into the Games with Tommie Smith and John Carlos who were both from the US and won Gold and Bronze medals in the 200m race.  Tommie and John both stood on the platform and during the playing of their nation anthem each did the 'Black Power' salute (raising one hand covered by a black glove) to bring attention to the conditions of the blacks in the US, however the IOC ( International Olympic Committee) believed that this action went against the Olympics ideals that politics plays no part whatsoever in them (umm... I think they should read this blog as there seems to be an awful lot of politics involved in the Olympics!!) anyway... due to the IOC believing the action went against their ideals both Tommie and John were expelled from the games.  The Mexico City Olympics also saw the beginning of the 'Fosbury Flop' whilst high jumping.  Previously most competitors had generally all done what is now called the 'Scissor Kick' when you effectively just jump over the pole with your legs.  Dick Fosbury caused a sensation by jumping over the bar backwards and head first, after winning the Gold Medal the 'Fosbury Flop' was born. 

The 1972 Munich Games began with tragedy, the day before the Games were to start 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team were taken hostage from inside the Olympic Village by Palestinian terrorists.  The Palestinians demanded the release of 234 of their countrymen who were being held in Isreal.  A rescue attempt was made however it failed spectacularly all of the 11 hostages were killed along with 5 of the terrorists.  After such a tragic event the IOC made the difficult and controversial decision to continue with the Games. They postponed the opening by a day and instead held a memorial service for the victims, all the Olympic flags were flown at half mast in rememberence.  As with all the other Games there was more controversy to come during a basketball match between the Soviet and US (I bet that was a right grudge match).  With 1 second left on the clock and the score at 50-49 to the US, the Soviet coach called a time-out, the clock was reset back 3 seconds and play began again, the Soviets didn't score and for some unknown reason the clock was again reset back 3 seconds.  Play resumed again and this time they did score!! The game ended 50-51 to the Soviets.  The Timekeeper and a referee both said that the second reset, and extra 3 seconds were illegal however the Soviets were allowed to keep the Gold Medals.

Some other interesting Olympic Facts that you might like to know (or not...I'm going to write them anyway)

  • The Olympic Flag was designed with the 5 rings to represent the 5 continents, their interconnection is to represent friendships gained from the Games.  The 5 colours were chosen as at least one of each of the colours appear on the flag of every country worldwide.  You've got to admit it's a nice sentiment.

  • Gold Medals - The last time a REAL Gold Medal was awarded was in 1912, now considering they made a profit of $225 million back in 1984 and I'm sure continue to do so you would thing they could afford the real thing!  The Medals are designed by the host city's committee at each individual games although each Medal must be at least 3mm thick and 60mm diameter, the Gold & Silver Medals must be made out of 92.5% silver, with the Gold Medals covered in 6g of Gold.  At least they get some real Gold on it.

  • At the start of the Modern Olympic Games the Marathon was always an approximate length, it wasn't until 1908 when the Royal family requested that the race be started at Windsor Castle (so the kids could watch it) that there became a standard length.  The distance from Windsor Castle to the Olympic Stadium was 26 miles and 385 yards, in 1924 it was finally agreed that this would be the official Marathon length.

  • The Winter Olympics didn't begin until 1924 and originally used to be held the same year as the Summer Olympics although in a different city.  In 1994 it was decided that the Winter Olympics would be moved to the halfway point between the Summer Games so now each type of Olympic Games is 2 years apart.

  • The word Gymnasium comes from the Greek gymnos which means nude.  The literal meaning of gymnasium is 'School for naked exercise'.  It still amazes me the literal meanings of some of these words.  That would never be allowed nowadays!! LOL

OK I'll stop boring you all now, I'll be honest I have learnt so much about the Olympics that I never knew just from writing this, some of it very interesting.  One thing I have pondered though is why all the hoo ha over what is essentially a giant school sports day, it even has the school yard bullying and cheating.  Don't get me wrong I love to watch the Games and am looking forward to this years in London but couldn't it all be a bit well.....nicer and sportsmanlike?  I guess that probably is a bit to much to ask :(

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Top Ten Shoe Brand Logos

With the thousands of shoe Brand Logo's that are out there, which logos are the most well known and really catch your attention!?!  Some fade away to nothing whilst others really stand the test of time and are almost ingrained on our brains, this is my list of what we think the top ten brand logos are and why.

NIKE, the Nike swoosh has to be one of the most recognised logos world wide, created by a frustrated graphic design student in 1971 who was originally charging only $2 an hour for her design work on the branding.  By 1983 the brand and the 'swoosh' were so big that Phil Knight (one of the Blue Ribbon Sports Executives) presented her with a golden 'swoosh' ring with an embedded diamond, now that's what you call expressing gratitude!!!  The Swoosh's clean lines and eye catching style mean that as a logo it stands the test of time and even after 40 years is still just as relevant.  Nike's namesake the Greek Goddess of Victory combined with the 'swoosh' gives it's message of movement and forcefulness, with Nike's motto 'Just Do It'    finishing the branding perfectly.


Now Crocs are actually quite greedy and have 2 logo's, my favourite is the classic Croc himself Duke! he appears on most Crocs at some point usually on the rivets holding the strap in place.  Although Duke was on all the Crocs from the beginning he wasn't the official face of Crocs until April 2005 when he was officially named.  In recent years the Croslite man has appeared more regularly although more on advertising than on the actual shoes, in our store we have a giant Croslite man currently sat in the window waving to passers by, unfortunately there are currently no jibbitz big enough to decorate him!! :(


 Rocket Dogs, Rocket Dog, does what it says on the tin, a dog going at rocket speed.  Now as a dog owner and lover this has and probably always will be one of my favourite logos and if I had my way would have been number 1 but it's a team effort :(
Another recent company Rocket Dog was only founded in 1997 and originally specialised in womens beach and casual wear, nowadays they do a HUGE range from winter boots to school shoes & flip flops and this year they have introduced some lush bags!!  Rocket Dog took it's name from one of the founders actual dogs who loved to run on the beaches in Southern California, what better way to name your company and design your logo!!!


The Converse Allstar Logo!!!! Must be one of the MOST iconic logos across the world.  Converse are one of the few brands that are worn by all age groups and look great with pretty much all attire.  A legend of a company they began in 1908 although the famous Allstar boot wasn't introduced until 1917.  It wasn't until 1921 when Chuck Taylor ( a basketball player) complained to Converse of having sore feet, he was given a pair of Converse and became both a salesman and ambassador for Converse, in 1923 his signature was added to the Allstar logo.  A logo that has been around for nearly 100 years and can be spotted a mile off, a true legend of a logo!!!


Yep it's another animal, actually another croc (there seems to be a trend here).  Lacoste logo came about through it's founder the tennis player Rene Lacoste who was nicknamed 'The Crocodile'.  Originally founded in 1933, Lacoste and they're crocodile have really stood the test of time, they soon branched out into all sorts from perfume, shoes & clothes to their own sheets and towels.


Timberland is another classic brand that has been around for years, although the brand name Timberland and its iconic tree didn't make an appearance until 1973 the brands roots really began in 1918 when Nathan Swartz started his training as an apprentice footwear stitcher in Boston.  By 1955 he had bought out the Abington Shoe Company and from there Timberland was born.  Timberland have the philosophy of 'Doing Well, and Doing Good' by making world class products and making a difference in the world community,  Timberland firmly believe in 'putting back' what they take out and their employees regularly volunteer in communities to 'help make a difference' to the world we live in.


A simple logo Gola use clean lines and what is now a 'retro' looking logo to emphasise their brand.  A UK company Gola were founded in Leicester in 1905 making sports wear, in 1972 the Gola bag was born and caused an international craze!!  Gola seemed to disappear briefly towards the end of the last century however in the early 00's they relaunched the Gola brand as a 'retro' style bringing back some of the best sellers like the Harrier and of course the bags.  Gola has an enormous bag range and I have heard many a parent buying them for their kids (who all want them at the moment) in the shop stating 'I used to have 1 of those' strengthening their branding through their original customers all those years ago.


Yep it's another animal! Yet another reptile, alot of brands seem to love they're animals for logos. El Natura Lista was only founded in 2001 and chose the frog as its logo as it is the symbol of 'a land made fertile by water' and 'the permanent fight against stagnation'.  They chose this as they believe it represents El Natura Lista values to align with the natural world.  They use as much as possible biodegradable and recyclable/recycled materials and use all natural dyes and materials avoiding toxic substances.


Ok so it is probably one of the most recognised logo's and certainly the most recognised welly logo, so why is it all the way down at number 9!?! Well although it is a very, very, very well known logo it is also boring.  Yes it gets the name and branding across easily and quickly but there is nothing that particularly stands out about it.  Essentially it is the word Hunter in a red box...boring, and no meaning behind it like with Nike.


Iron Fist, although not a boring logo it is still down a No.10, Iron Fist have so many variations on their logo it's difficult to pick just 1 out although this seems to be one of the most used.  Iron Fist are another recent company with their beginnings in 2001 with mens clothing, using funky, inspirational artwork they started to play with adding it to womens items and before long the womens line overtook the mens line as a best seller.  They're shoes use the unique artwork and stand out a mile, abbreviated to IF - they are made with love for a heartless world.

So thats it, our top 10 brand logo's for this year at least.  It all changes so fast!! :)