Today hundreds of 'enforcement officers' from the Olympic Delivery Authority have been deployed, able to take companies and individuals who they think are trying to tie themselves to the Olympics without permission to court where fines of up to £20,000 can be given.

Our breakdown of the rules around Olympics branding has proved to be a popular part of our feature on top quality design projects for the Olympics, Euro 2012 and other sporting events – so we're breaking this out into its own article.

As writer Laura Snoad notes, sport-led design work is bound to be a hit this summer, but link your work too closely to the Olympics and you’re likely to elicit unwelcome scrutiny from the organisers. Any commercial work, whether for a client or personal work for sale, cannot reference these items:

  • The Olympic logos, rings, emblems, mascots and pictograms (shown below and designed by SomeOne)
  • The words ‘London 2012’, ‘Olympic’, ‘Olympiad’, ‘Olympian’ or similar words such as ‘Olympix’ (and their Paralympic equivalents)
  • The Olympic and Paralympic mottoes 'Citius Altius Fortius (or Faster Higher Stronger in English) and 'Spirit in Motion'
  • The Team GB, ParalympicsGB, British Olympic Association logo, and British Paralympic Association logos

As a lot of ad campaigns this year have shown, you can associate brands with athletic prowess and success easily without breaking the rules. The phrase 'summer of sport' has nearly been worn out by non-sponsoring brands referencing both the London 2012 Olympics and the Euro 2012 football championships – and many campaigns have tapped into renewed British patriotism across both the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

So far, what's considered infringing – and what gets brands into trouble – seems to be based on factors such as how high-profile something is, how near it is to the Olympic site and a large portion of luck. But with this new crackdown starting today, it'll likely get even tougher to design around LOCOG's rules.