2012 Olympic Posters

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was so saddened and disappointed to see what can only described as some laughably weak Olympic posters revealed recently, that I am having to write my third Things I Don’t Like post (I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s significant that 2 of the 3 are about the forthcoming 2012 Olympics…)

Honestly, this country has such a fine and strong tradition of graphic and poster design; think of Abram Games, Edward McKnight Kauffer, Edward Bawden, David Gentleman, that its too easy to consider these efforts an insult to such great designers. And let’s not forget that the event itself has generated some truly memorable images, some of which can be seen below and here.

The majority of the twelve contemporary artists that were invited to submit designs have so missed the opportunity to sell the games, stuck as they are in their sad, self referential little worlds… far to cool for school & scared that if they show any enthusiasm, understanding or ability, they will be ridculed by their peers (or even worse, produce something of value, heaven forbid). I think the organisers should ask for their money back. Only two designs reference the Olympics (Rachel Whiteread and Anthea Hamilton) and only one references London (Sarah Morris).

All the designs can be found here and as I said, of the 12, I think only Rachel Whiteread, and Sarah Morris have in anyway risen to the task of designing a poster for this specific event. Bridget Riley and Howard Hodgkins posters are ok, but in a stand alone, this is what I do, no real relevance to the subject kind of way.


As for the exceptionally poor efforts of Tracey Emin, Martin Creed and Gary Hume, I would like to think that they will eventually come to look at them with shame and admit that they didn’t take it seriously, but I suspect not. In fact, I think these efforts are all so shit, that I can’t even be bothered to write about them (except to wonder how truly mind numbingly awful Tracey Emin’s five rejected posters must have been..)

Why oh why couldn’t they have invited some half decent graphic designers: Olly Moss, Airside, Noma Bar, Kate Moross even Banksy!! … committed people with talent, ideas and ability who could rightly carry our great tradition of excellent poster design onto the next generation….

So yet another seriously missed opportunity for the Olympic Committee. Which is a real shame; what a fantastic graphic design legacy these games could have had, instead I hope that these posters will be as quickly and hurriedly forgotten as the hideous logo (and here) and the lamentable mascots…

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