CR Blog

London 2012 Olympic posters unveiled

Posted by Creative Review, 4 November 2011, 14:01    Permalink    Comments (111)

A host of British artists, including Bridget Riley, Tracey Emin, Martin Creed, Rachel Whiteread, and Bob and Roberta Smith, have designed posters to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Any gold medal winners?

UPDATE: Read our folow-up post on the posters here

The posters were unveiled at Tate Britain in London along with the programme for the London 2012 Festival. The full list of contributing artists are Fiona Banner, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, Chris Ofili, Bridget Riley, Bob and Roberta Smith, and Rachel Whiteread.


Here are the six Olympic posters:



And here are the Paralympic posters:


The images will go on show in a free exhibition as part of the London 2012 Festival next summer and they will also be used as part of a high profile campaign to promote the 2012 Games.

Posters (£7 each) will be available to buy from 3pm today via Limited edition prints will also be for sale individually and as a boxed set from Counter Editions who can be emailed on london for more details.

In 1972, the organisers of the Munich Olympics ran a similar (and very successful) enterprise. Like these posters, artists were asked to respond to the idea of the games and celebrate them, not produce pieces of visual communications promoting the games per se. You can see the posters produced (by the likes of Josef Albers, David Hockney and Max Bill)  here

UPDATE: Read our folow-up post on the posters here


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A truly awful selection, saw some much better attempts at LCC's Graphics show this summer.
2011-11-04 14:11:51

appalling. pretentious. crap.

i like the 'credits/lock up'bar along the bottom, though.
2011-11-04 14:15:28

Nasty. Bridget Riley's Rose Rose, isn't too bad though. Liked the pastel palette.
2011-11-04 14:16:43

Am I the only one that finds the whole concept insulting to British designers?
2011-11-04 14:17:35

2011-11-04 14:19:46

Bridget Riley, Howard Hodgkin and Sarah Morris, love them!
Richard Oram
2011-11-04 14:21:38

wow these are astoundingly bad, they look incredibly lazy
2011-11-04 14:24:28

I only try and post criticism if I can justify it with some offering of opinion or my take on possible improvements.

Having said that, these are grim.
2011-11-04 14:24:52

Awful. Why were designers not given this job?
2011-11-04 14:26:25

Don't like any of them at all
Ben L
2011-11-04 14:26:28

Rubbish, you call that design?
2011-11-04 14:27:12

What an absolute load of tosh.
2011-11-04 14:28:10

Just no. As already said very pretentious and also forgettable.
Mathew Lucas
2011-11-04 14:28:45

Before this comment thread goes all Daily Mail (perhaps it already has) can I make an appeal for people to discuss the posters rather than just saying that they don't like them (if that is the case)?

Perhaps it is worth asking how an artist's approach to this task would differ from that of a designer, whether the artists chosen were appropriate or just the most famous the organisers could think of, and also to look at them in relation to the artists' series done for Munich (linked in the post)?

CR PatrickBurgoyne
2011-11-04 14:39:00

Yet, counter editions website says they're out of stock. I'd go for Gary Hume and Rachel whiteread, but they are fine artists.
Watch out 2012 committee as somewhere there'll be a designers POP up exhibition on the theme
hywel edwards
2011-11-04 14:40:08

I don't think these are posters that we want to represent our country with, they're terrible. Although I do like Rachel Whiteread's.
Scott Pearson
2011-11-04 14:42:01

For years we have had to accept the terrible logo. With these posters, it goes from bad to worse. What a waste.
Ross Pichler
2011-11-04 14:44:12

This is cynical but I would imagine they believe they could get more money for limited editon prints by artists than by designers. Somehow missing the definition of a poster here don’t you think?

I love some of these artists’ work - but none of the posters.

Such a missed opportunity.
Avril Broadley
2011-11-04 14:45:16

A great example of why today's CSD announcement is so welcome. We need a graphic design body championing design as a profession to give it the same status artists enjoy.

As far as the posters are concerned they are lacking punch, quite an embarrassing collection considering this is representing British art. Love the movement in Howard Hodkin's poster however.
Oliver Bothwell
2011-11-04 14:47:45

Loving it when some ex YBAS are involved in some works for such events.

We have published this article in French with credit to original source: CR.

Thanks for sharing this info.


2011-11-04 14:53:06

Absolutely love these. Brilliant stuff. Can't wait to see them around London!
2011-11-04 14:55:24

my fucking god they are awful
2011-11-04 14:59:12

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving the Daily Mail approaches 1."

Sorry. :)
2011-11-04 15:01:50

Not a fan.

Perhaps it would have been better to move towards a more illustration-focussed route (I can see people like HelloVon, Mr Bingo etc. having a ball with this sort of project) rather than design which could end up being incredibly dry.

I say this as my initial reaction to these posters is that they would probably go unnoticed or more widely accepted were they not tied into the Olympics. There's something about the idea of a poster produced of and for the Olympics that requires a firmer link between the visuals and the inspiration in my opinion; an objective often sought of illustrators but rarely of 'fine' artists.
2011-11-04 15:03:23

What is the idea?
2011-11-04 15:07:03

Lets discuss why each and every piece of work on the Creativereview blog gets absolutely slatted.

It's disappointing that Creative Review are still allowing so many negative comments to be aired about great work. Do something about it.

As for the bloggers...

Cheer up you bunch of miserable [deleted by moderator]. Maybe if you actually made some work, you might feel happier.
2011-11-04 15:12:00

I watched the BBC interview with Emin and Creed and you can tell that Creed is taking the piss, but it's just so insulting to all the talented and hard working illustrators/designers out there.

I can immediately think of far better people suited to the job of illustrating the olympics. If this is what the selection committee regards as the forefront of art and design in the UK then I guess we're all doomed, aren't we?
2011-11-04 15:14:44

Don't mean to be overly negative. I hate the usual negative responses that something like this attracts.. But I just can't help it. These are truly awful! Posters are meant to inform, to catch your attention.. is this the extent of the olympic poster design? If so I think they have made a serious miss step. None of the above bar perhaps one or two really say anything. Its all well and good getting 'famous' artists to make posters but when they are coming from an art background as opposed to a design background I think the result is muddled. Surely these are artistic 'posters'? Couldn't they have done something similar (and I hate to keep going on about munich) to munich and had a series of proper sports posters
and got artists to create a series of cultural posters?
Anyway I wont hold my breath for this olympic design to leave a lasting legacy. Unfortunately.
2011-11-04 15:25:08

Also in response to Neil... Instead of harping on about the inevitable negative responses... how about you tell us why you think they are so good? Just a thought! You are no different if you cant articulate why you (I'm presuming you like them if you are so aggrieved) like them.
2011-11-04 15:28:29

2011-11-04 15:30:43

There's a reason a lot of people think the posters are rubbish... it's because the posters are rubbish. My thoughts are here:
I'd like to know if people agree.
2011-11-04 15:30:46

@ Martin

I think these are supposed to be the equivalent of the Munich artists series which we linked to in the post (many of which take a far more abstract approach even than the London ones). There may well be other posters dealing more specifically with the events in the games – these are supposed to 'celebrate' the idea of the games rather than act explicitly as a promotional campaign.

@ Neil
CR PatrickBurgoyne
2011-11-04 15:31:00


With all due respect, folk are entitled to their own opinions on work (positive or negative)

But, as Patrick has suggested, perhaps endless lists of people voicing distaste isn't proactive.

I for one am disillusioned by the fact that with such a massive scope to broadcast emerging creative talent the Olympic Committee decided to use "established names" just to boost a bit of publicity. So much for kick-starting the economy and helping young talent.

Secondly, the brief was to celebrate the Olympics and this country, which I feel none of these posters do; they look lazy and I'm not convinced any of the artists truly thought about the project before picking up tools. Because they are already "established" you will inevitably get the artiste elite singing their praises no matter what they produce. For the rest of us (and for Joe Public) we just see lazy-looking artwork with paper-thin justifications (Bridget Riley's coloured lines "represents the lanes of a swimming pool or running track" Howard Hodgkins blue swirls "capture the movement and motion of swimming" Source - BBC News Website) I for one don't see how these are celebrations of the Olympic spirit or the UK.

Granted, had designers been offered the brief many may have taken too much of a commercial eye to the project ('posters' has a different meaning for us) but the committee should at least have considered giving the task to (as @Ed mentions) to illustrators more capable of tackling the brief or to artists/creatives trying to make a name for themselves.

As for the accusations of being miserable and work-shy, I'm jolly and work hard.
2011-11-04 15:34:14

I think they're really great. Beautiful, open, free, positive, inspiring.

I assume just the effect they're supposed to have. And the exact sentiment behind why the Olympics was conceived.

They'll make a refreshing change to the majority of posters they'll stand alongside for sure.

2011-11-04 15:35:00

[Face palms]
Dr No
2011-11-04 15:42:32

The only thing more predictable than the roster of artists enlisted, is the belligerent public reaction.
Stern John
2011-11-04 15:43:40

Bridget, Rachel and Sarah are my favourites

I'd imagine they'll look much better as a print than onscreen.

Let's hope they're printed on some nice paper.
2011-11-04 15:46:47

Well why don't you all come up with ideas and posters and CR can display them here as a designers response, maybe the committee will then take some of these onboard, call it a designers pitch :)
2011-11-04 16:01:42

This is pretty much a predictable outcome.

I'm generalising here but the public will look at most of these and think 'I could have done a better job'. Like with most art theres always that nagging feeling 'What a load of tosh'. The artist isn't going to be there to explain to Joe Public why they did it and comment on any meaning they have for it. Sometimes works can be appreciated when theres an explanation to go with it. However, theres no little placards explaining the art so we all slate it. Artists being typical artists and us designers being typical designers.
2011-11-04 16:02:44

I think the problem with getting artists to create such pieces is that their style and personal touches become very obvious and the content and subject become secondary. However this can also sometimes be a strength, if you select the correct artists.

I would've liked to have seen the posters become a more recognisable set, hints of similarity that connect each one. You may have got a more pleasing outcome if a group of established designers were given the work. We'll never really know.

I don't really like the set, as it doesn't seem to have hit the tone of the rest of the olympics work, both 2D and 3D that has come before it.

One thing I do like about the set (clutching at straws) is that with this kind of set is very different, as are people. Maybe there is something for everyone here.

PS I hope the artist didn't get paid overpaid for this.
2011-11-04 16:09:00

I'm confused. The posters are nice I guess, but most of them don't seem to have anything to do with the topic. Like the blue one doesn't seem to be about anything. Is it about the swim team? Or does it represeant the sky? What does it mean?
I've been taught that when you make posters like these you are suppose to show the main feeling and even of what's going on that's clear and easy to understand.
2011-11-04 16:23:50

I think they could've done with a firmer conceptual structure, such as one poster to represent each event. There are a couple for specific events (swimming/diving) but taken as a whole they seems quite random and inaccessible.
John Scarratt
2011-11-04 16:32:34

@Patrick I stand corrected... missed that last paragraph for some reason.. in that case I don't have such a strong opinion on them.. I may not like the majority of them personally but I don't really have a problem with that. As more art/cultural pieces as opposed to posters they have their place... art is meant to be subjective isn't it? No?

I do hope there are a series of more sports related posters to follow though...

2011-11-04 16:36:04

I think a lot of the comments are missing the point/the brief that it is about a celebration of the Games, rather than 'pieces of visual communications promoting the games per se' as mentioned in the article. If you bothered to read it.
2011-11-04 16:56:27

just appreciate it and allow it to Be.
2011-11-04 16:58:10

Of course this backlash is entirely predictable on here.

Its worth remembering that these are artists posters and not graphic design posters. People seem to always want to hark back to the design of the 1972 Munich games. Stop living in the past and move on.

The 2012 logo garnered the same reaction. It almost seems that there is correlation between the negative reaction on here and the quality of the work, the more it gets slated on here the better the work probably is.

Don't get me wrong, these posters are a mixed bunch in terms of quality but hey thats contemporary art for you. Some you like, some you don't.
2011-11-04 16:59:52

Daniela Shelton
2011-11-04 17:02:10

While I don't think any of these posters work particuarly well - although Sarah Morris' is the best of them - it's interesting to see the approaches each artist has taken and how their work translates into poster design.

The quality of these posters is a result of a poor choice of artists, I'd say, had they chosen visual artists whose work has more of an emphasis on composition and design, they may have got better results than by using artists like Tracy Emin, whose work, I always feel, requires additional explanation (titles, interviews etc) to add interest to it.

There's a gap between visual artists whose work says everything it needs to within the image they create and artists whose work requires additional explanation; the latter type of artwork is too far away from design to enable the artists to create good design.

But it's an interesting exercise, all the same.
2011-11-04 17:05:11

2011-11-04 17:08:49

I'm gonna stoke the already hot fire and add to the dislike of these for a few reasons. One is because they, as mentioned before just seem a bit lazy, i thought anything to do with the olympics was about celebrating the game not the artists who are making the posters and thats pretty much whats happened, brilliant, tracey emin has done a poster. The artist shouldn't outshine the event which is whats happened! also i get them impression that this is the olympics equivalent to the controversial british airways tail fin? - abit crap

I completely agree that we shouldn't really be looking into the past and dwelling on something that was created years ago but if this really is the best that we can do, it's pretty ******* shameful! afterall we only get one chance at this!
2011-11-04 17:21:00

Perhaps the problem here is the description of these as 'Posters' - if they had been titled as 'Prints' taken from works of art inspired by the Olympics and Paralympics, then I suspect they could be seen for what they are - a series of individual creative responses to the events with no purpose other than to communicate that artist's emotional response, and perhaps then be criticised on the basis of their artistic merit.

By calling them Posters, the Olympic Organising Committee puts them into a more commercial arena in my mind, where some of those parameters we are all familiar with come into play - communication objectives, visual messaging and an understanding of the audience to name but a few, and to my mind, it is here where these fail - I can admire and respect them as works of art, but I cannot see how they work as posters for the Olympics.
2011-11-04 17:54:00

Not very inspiring I must say. Tracey Emin should not be part of this. Charles Saatchi must be kicking himself for bringing her forward in the first place.
Linda le Roux
2011-11-04 18:01:25

There are a few of these I like, Sarah Morris and Rachel Whiteread's are both interesting, however overall I think it is a real shame the quality is so poor.

It's a great opportunity to showcase the talent within the country. I really hate bitching and moaning about work I don't like (and generally try to avoid being negative), but none of these really say very much to me, most seem abstract meaningless and a little lazy... they really seem like initial drafts to me.

It baffles me that it was mainly artists approached to produce these posters, I would really love to see a mix of some of the leading (or up and coming) designers and illustrators approached to produce some work.

Here, I will start the list off:

1. Mr Bingo
2011-11-04 18:05:24

Have artists design posters so ostensibly unappealing that hype will surround the 2012 London Olympics? Brilliant... if it's intentional, that is.

Part of what makes advertising design different from art is the need for a more immediate connection with the viewer. The poster is to the event as a 30-second trailer is to a feature film. Regrettable as this analogy is, these posters will probably be passed over unless they are displayed in a venue where people have enough time to contemplate it.

My initial reaction was of disgust; intrigue deepened as I read more into the work. Some of the works are more aesthetically pleasing, but aesthetics alone unfortunately do not inform. Ultimately I think we are asked to accept these works on their unique merits, which is odd, as the Olympics boil down to strictly-monitored direct competition. These posters have our attention, though for many it is for the wrong emotions.
Glen Isip
2011-11-04 18:06:30

@ Simondk

I think that's an excellent point. LOCOG have conflated the two. They talk of 'posters' being 'designed' and that the artists were given a brief to work to but at the same time they describe the process in the accompanying press release as commissioning 'twelve of the UK’s leading artists to create images to celebrate London hosting the 2012 Games', which is slightly different.
CR PatrickBurgoyne
2011-11-04 18:06:37

Without seeing the brief I do not know how we can genuinely comment on these fine art prints. If the olympic organisers wished for high profile art bods to generate a personal take on the olympic notion then these are fine...not necessarily good but then neither are they bad...but if the brief was to "design" a piece of imagery that promotes a uniquely British Olympic theme and communicate information pertaining to the British Olympics then I struggle to see the relevance of the prints produced. On the aside, it is good to see Howard Hodgkins still showing the amazing piece of printwork, colour movemnet etc.
Peter Juerges
2011-11-04 19:12:31

You can come out with all the fancy words you like but The Chris Ofili one looks like it is representing the Greek Olympics not British - these really are piss poor - is it a case of 'painters' trading on their so called fame??? The Tracey E one is the only airy fairy thought provoking one and its not that much cop....

2011-11-04 19:33:00

I absolutely agree with Patrick and Simondk

The self-satisfying approach to this work, that comes from an artists response, has left me feeling no emotional connection to the event or what I associate with the Olympics. They leave little involvement for the viewing audience. However as works of art, by reputable artists, I can accept them as expressions of the Olympic spirit, and what it means to these individuals.

Little credit however is given for the bravery of commissioning these pieces - they are challenging and unexpected... And I really think there's something to be said for that alone.
2011-11-04 20:00:43

I hope this is a wind up.....[deleted], it makes me cry on the inside to think how many pleasing images were overlooked, instead choosing this visual bile....not yummy in the slightest.
2011-11-04 20:44:00

I feel disappointed in these - I want to be inspired. I think the whole of the UK needs to be inspired at the moment! And none of these did it for me. I don't have any training in art or graphics, but I tried my best to be more thoughtful than these
Eddie P
2011-11-04 20:45:24

these are delightful... wait, they're not made by children?
2011-11-04 22:04:58

interesting comments ..... what in the hell were the designers thinking or more to the point the organisers ......

what happend to traditional art work .... what we are good at..... water colours ........oils.....

The swimming theme is just horrid !! my 2 year old could have done better 2 in minutes at no cost .... how much of tax payers money has gone into these !!

There is no variety we are of different ages in the UK yet all these themes are apparently new age !!!!!

UTTER RUBBISH and I am embarassed for the organisers ... there's nothing to be proud of here !!!!
2011-11-04 22:05:27

I think all this disappointment is misguided. These aren't posters they are pretty pictures to hang in your kitchen and make your feel cultured.

The real issue is that this is another example of unimaginative marketing. If you have ever have experienced a soul destroying meeting were your work has had the joy sucked out of by a panel of marketing execs you will know what i'm talking about.

This leads me to believe that 'designers' have no real say in what they do and a good designer is one with the best client.

Why can't creative review look at issues like this instead of constantly showing pretty pictures by alex trouchut.

Off to drown my sorrows and wish i was a carpenter.
2011-11-04 22:18:43

what a load of rubbish,the artists should feel ashamed of themselves.where do their works promote this country ?i`m sorry but i can`t find the words to show how i feel.these are just posters, can you imagine how the rest of the games are going to be run?i predict that this country is going to be made a laughing stock
steve fitzgibbons
2011-11-04 22:49:08

let's face it, these aren't much cop. It looks like they've all spent about fifteen minutes on them.
Just think what some of the great Britiah Designers could have done. it's such a shame.

Design wise the whole event has been a right balls up. The logo, the typeface, the terrible mascots, and now these.

What a shambles.
matt carr
2011-11-04 22:52:07

Tracy Emin - "This is the first time since 1972 that artist have done the posters, for years they have been using marketing, pr or design people"


Look at the terrible pieces of 'work' that 'artist' have produced, I have found much better unfinished work left in school class rooms. I feel bad to be part of this country....

P.S. Bridget Riley, you have just drawn lines [deleted by moderator]

2011-11-04 23:23:00

The focus here should be for constructive, intelligent criticism centered on strategic, fact-based responses or none at all. Very little feedback is ever based on this and where the general public may be forgiven for this naivety, for designers to do so is nothing short of reckless bullying in the name of populism. For some it’s purely self-promotion.

Anyway, I like the different angle that is taken. It has created a buzz, not necessarily positive, but a reaction has been created, and that is what art is about. Hate to say a cliché but art is in the eye of the beholder, meaning everyone from any country can analyse these posters and take from them what they want. Much more exciting than a well laid out poster that sticks to the conventions of graphic design. Maybe these posters will force the british public to use a bit of brain power for once, and think, rather than just see.
2011-11-04 23:53:15
Harry Farrell
2011-11-05 00:07:19

My concern isn't with the posters so much themselves - as others have said, these come across as being more about artists expressing what the Olympics mean to them personally - I'm more concerned at the reasons for choosing these artists. It's more about celebrity publicity than trying to create anything groundbreaking. That probably wasn't a particularly smart move considering the Olympics have gotten enough flack as it is.

I mean, I do find Riley and Hodgkins quite nice, but I think it would be much more inspiring if they got the general public or young talent to try their hand at them. A bit like the 'local hero' campaign to carry the torch. It could give a greater insight as to what the future generations of art and design in the UK are capable of, perhaps?
Dave M
2011-11-05 01:10:59

Sorry but most look like something slapped together with no thought or effort, nice wedding cake by creed and Emin's effort, least said the better must of took all of 5 mins to complete, and Hodgkin's looks like he spilt his paint and tried to wipe it up. Best of British art, god help us.
2011-11-05 06:07:31

I'm a designer, not an artist. But I think I can have the nerve to say this is an insult to art.

Unless, of course, these were done by very talented toddlers. Then heck, by all means these are astounding artworks.
2011-11-05 08:23:08

Real designers usually do not have the time to go on fora and blogs to ehm-*itch about other people's work...

Students and budding designers do.

Is CR these days run by a designer-lynch-mob or can we also expect some proper input about why you like or dislike some work?
2011-11-05 08:28:49

These posters really... "grind my gears" (sorry for quoting family guy but it's an apt phrase).

I'm a graphic designer and I spend hours every day sourcing otu the best art work on the web to keep me inspired.

Britain has real artistic talent, a fitting example in this case may be the work of Manchester based Si Scott - this is his portfolio:

But instead of giving the task of London 2012 posters to REAL artist, as a chance to showcase real talent - the job is given to pretentious pretenders, who, as we can see from these posters, lack REAL artistic talent & technical ability. We get the same old "abstract" and "emotionally minimilistic" shit we are conned into paying for in art galleries up and down the country, and if we don't like it we are told we are out of touch.
2011-11-05 09:31:00

Absolute rubbish, How on earth do those toffee nosed twerps keeping getting away with picking rubbish to represent London? The logo is appalling and these pathetic posters are no better. The world will laugh at London for this crap. The people who made these are NOT artists, they're idiots who have no clue whatsoever.
2011-11-05 09:36:00

@ Richard

I'm a designer too, and you know as well as I do there are people in this country capable of making fantastic work. But the self appointed [deleted] who think they no best by picking the work by their select bunch of clowns who are a laughing stock. The people responsible for picking this incredible nonsense should never be allowed to judge art again because quite clearly they have no idea what they're doing.
2011-11-05 09:59:00

some respectable artists within sight of these posters must be tearing their hair out in frustration!!! the artists that clearly emulated the productions of nursery children, must be laughing at the deciept.
2011-11-05 10:35:10

A couple of nice examples. But that is it!

I've scene better undergraduate work executed than alot here. For a country with so much talent in this field this really is a poor show. But it is subjective and there is enou critisms on here already.

My main gripe is what this project (whether officailly or unoffically) is trying to emulate. The Munich artwork is highly regarded because it was unique and raised the bar. What was wrong with Britian trying to take on that mantle rather than trying to replicate it.

Are people really going to look back at these posters in 20-30 years from now in the same way as the Munich or Tokyo Winter Games (to name a few) in the same regard. My instinct tells me not.

There is still time though. Maybe the Creative Review team (if they haven't already) put together a brief and put it out to the design community?
2011-11-05 10:37:23


does not represent the 'spirit' of the games... they should outsource the desigh to china and see real creativity
2011-11-05 10:39:00

These are such a breath of fresh air. So different to the kind of generic boring posters you could expect from most graphic designers. I imagine these poster will be remembered and collected for years to come. Can't say they are all my cup of tea, but at least they are trying to do something original. The Hodgkin is truly beautiful.
2011-11-05 10:40:13

I knew the design community would be outraged by these posters and the comments here say it 'in spades'. I've been a graphic artist for 14 years and like everyone here have a very keen interest in many forms of art, including modern art.
What is disappointing for 'professional' artists and designers is that we collect inspiring work, we see it every day and aspire to it. We work hard, make mistakes and improve, as Samuel Beckett put it, we 'try again, fail again, fail better'. We are restless, enthusiastic for the new, we want to communicate visually and in that is inextricably linked the requirement to have something to communicate, something articulate, intelligent, engaging, funny, clever, beautiful etc etc. There may be a certain pragmatism and at times commercial functionalism in our art but it is this rigour that has made us more than preachers who never practiced.
I have no doubt that we all appreciate many modern artists but those chosen for this task seem ill equipped to deliver on a brief, however vague or undemanding. I find a couple of the images interesting to look at, others seems crass or infantile. As a group they really say nothing to me. Without their association with the games I wouldn't look twice at most of them and I have already typed too much to begin disecting each one.
I agree with most of the comments here that illustrators could have done much better and should be valued as artists more than they are (no, I'm not an illustrator). I also agree that these posters are generally lazy, uninspired and cliched. They do nothing for the art of poster design and make little attempt to understand that art. Naither do they say much about, English/British/UK art.
I do not doubt that the art critics will disagree in articulate if empty sentiments.
2011-11-05 11:10:31

It's the artists who are trying to tell the public they are wearing a brand new set of clothes when in actuality everyone is running around stark naked....

Come on, Britain, you can do much better than this...
An ashamed fellow artist
2011-11-05 12:16:56

Eh! Not great.
Mark Schofield
2011-11-05 12:53:39

I really like Rachel Whiteread's poster. Coffee-Cup stain Olympic rings? A brilliant take on the armchair athletes that make up most of this country. Hope there's nothing else on telly for those weeks...
2011-11-05 14:48:07

Sarah's wheelchair archery is good but the rest would be more functional as a contribution to tonight's festivities.
2011-11-05 18:03:39

For those people who think these posters are awful please consider reading the concept of Formalism.
2011-11-05 20:48:02

Ugliest things I've ever seen.
From the USA
2011-11-06 15:15:48

These posters are really, really poor. Just like our pathetic excuse for 'Mascots'. The whole thing reminds me of the artistic nadir that was the Millennium Dome and its pitiful contents.
Mike Lepine
2011-11-06 18:19:04

Have artists design posters so ostensibly unappealing that hype will surround the 2012 London Olympics? Brilliant... if it's intentional, that is.

Part of what makes advertising design different from art is the need for a more immediate connection with the viewer. The poster is to the event as a 30-second trailer is to a feature film. Regrettable as this analogy is, these posters will probably be passed over unless they are displayed in a venue where people have enough time to contemplate it.

My initial reaction was of disgust; intrigue deepened as I read more into the work. Some of the works are more aesthetically pleasing, but aesthetics alone unfortunately do not inform. Ultimately I think we are asked to accept these works on their unique merits, which is odd, as the Olympics boil down to strictly-monitored direct competition. These posters have our attention, though for many it is for the wrong emotions.
Glen Isip
2011-11-06 20:02:38

Which six-year old designed these posters?
Rob Brettle
2011-11-07 13:55:42

So this is the output of the UKs creme de la creme of art. I am disgusted, but more than this I am embarrassed. The emporer's 'New Cothes' comes to mind. Such rubbish can surely only be appreciated by those whose heads are stuck where the sun doesn't shine!
Michael Nottage
2011-11-07 15:34:07

As someone who loves sport and especially the olympics - and who won't be able to afford to watch any of the events (except on TV) I was hoping to at least be able to buy a poster or two and put them up on my wall to commemorate the event. Thanks to these so called "artists" even that has been denied me. Absolute rubbish ! Those responsible have obviously spent no more than 10 minutes on them - an insult to proper designers, art, sport, the athletes and the general public.

Were any Disabled artists commissioned to produce the paralympic ones? - I think probably not. I am really disgusted by each and every one of these posters. Shameful!
Jo Ritson
2011-11-07 16:25:00

I want to believe that all of these are jokes.

How on earth does a studio release these? Didn't ONE person speak up?
2011-11-07 21:18:28

I'm really ashamed of these 'posters'. In my opinion London has the best designers in the world, why ignore them?
2011-11-08 08:13:44

Interesting ideas, but mostly not related to the subject matter. Mostly too "clever" for me. Maybe I just don't like the direction so-called "art" has been taken in by these posters?

My five-year-old nephew has more talent than this.

2011-11-08 12:06:00

hello, there seems to be an argument going on about artist or designer and who should be producing the posters. I am wondering what the difference is? Give a designer a paint brush and an artist an apple mac for a day, swap the names around and then tell me. The other argument is about the effort put into the work, someone commented "my three year old could do that", i agree, are children not respected artists then? Often something done in a very short space of time can display more energy and impact than something that has been meticulously worked on. I think both of these arguments is based upon the attitude of the artist/designer and the viewer. I know which one works for me but i'm not going to vote on it.
2011-11-08 13:14:26

Howard's looks like a 3 year old put that together in 30 seconds
2011-11-09 08:22:00

Artists around the world should have been invited.
2011-11-10 01:57:26

What an embarrassment for all of us! Why did you not make it an open competition for schools throughout the country----I doubt you could have found anything less lacking in talent! And of course it would have been a sight cheaper than this pretensious crap, which,I might add, Is paid for by we taxpayers. Or is this another £400,000 down the drain? It really is too toe-curling for words (although I expect the art "luvvies" will be up in arms as they point out to we uneducated rabble the deep and inner meaning of it all!
Christine Bragg
2011-11-10 16:30:00

Loved the logo. This however is trying a wee bit too hard to be 'progressive'.
Look at some of the classic Olympic posters of old - great design, captured the mood, stood the test of time. These posters aren't/haven't/won't.
Jay Wizzle
2011-11-11 16:57:00

In mine opinion they should thrown the veil back on, It seems today very few can take a right hook to the head, I am talking about "criticism " if something is bad it's's as simple as that. These artists were asked to visually capture the “values” of the games. Instead we see personal emotions, bearing no relationship to the games.

“A representational pictures of emotional situations” give us a break, to whom? A poor conceptual attempt at context was ignored … we will always have the defenders defending bad art and communication. First a bad Olympic logo was launched, now we have these chicken scratches…being called “Olympic Posters” not worthy of the name “Olympics” I grant you one or two have some inkling of “Olympic Spirit” the rest are horrific!
From 1936 through the last Olympics I have never seen such poor talent-less attempts to capture the “spirit”. I been involved in visual communications for over thirty years…and I must say , sacrificing principles of communication for the sake of personal emotions, is not only irresponsible it’s shameful and damn embarrassing, not to mention insulting to professional creatives around the world.

Konstantine Vaneris
konstantine Vaneris
2011-11-25 18:11:10

In mine opinion they should thrown the veil back on, It seems today very few can take a right hook to the head, I am talking about "criticism " if something is bad it's's as simple as that. These artists were asked to visually capture the “values” of the games. Instead we see personal emotions, bearing no relationship to the games.

“A representational pictures of emotional situations” give us a break, to whom? A poor conceptual attempt at context was ignored … we will always have the defenders defending bad art and communication. First a bad Olympic logo was launched, now we have these chicken scratches…being called “Olympic Posters” not worthy of the name “Olympics” I grant you one or two have some inkling of “Olympic Spirit” the rest are horrific!
From 1936 through the last Olympics I have never seen such poor talent-less attempts to capture the “spirit”. I been involved in visual communications for over thirty years…and I must say , sacrificing principles of communication for the sake of personal emotions, is not only irresponsible it’s shameful and damn embarrassing, not to mention insulting to professional creatives around the world.

Konstantine Vaneris
konstantine Vaneris
2011-11-25 18:16:04

The problem is that truly outstanding art comes from emotion, memories, experiences ect. The artist would never be able to creat something special from a brief that tells them to promote 2012.
Joe Rolph
2011-11-27 12:39:47

Love some of them and have bought Hodgkin, Creed and Riley. It's art, it will always as be hit'n'miss, and I'm not sure that designers could have done a better job, although we'd like to think so.
Ed Wright
2011-11-29 23:31:51

All terrible!
2011-12-04 06:30:02

Disgusting some of them look like a 4 year old has been fed a bag of sugar and given a paint brush .. graffiti / street artists should of been employed to do these , professional pfttttttttt disgusting posters
2012-02-02 18:45:06

As mentioned above this really is a case of the emperors new clothes. Formalism, maybe for the coffee cup rings.

Please take your heads out of the sand and accept the criticism as being contructive. If any of these posters should appear where "normal" people live then throwing paint over them certainly would count as being art.

What artistic integrety is there in taking a sponge and washing it over a surface and then publishing it?

If this represents art and the attitude of artists to the public then i think it is time to rethink and examing your own mental wellbeing. There is some great art produced in the Maudsley, those people wouldnt dream of producing this kind of inept productions
Saint Maddenus
2012-02-17 15:06:20

2012-02-19 15:40:47

i think it is a complete shame.
I'm a year 7 and i spent time doing a poster and mine were better than most of these.It looks like the poster swimming was done by a year two. its just patterns
2012-05-08 16:46:49

Not even toilet paper
2012-07-05 16:09:21

I am so glad I watch the games before I saw these so called posters that represent the Olympics.
My goodness your the land that gave the world the Beatles, Stones, Petula Clark, The Spice Girls, The Who
etc... I know you have some talented graphic artist there, c'mon man! - Seattle.
2012-08-17 06:36:20

I only realised that these Artists had even designed posters, when on University Challenge, a picture round,
the contestants were asked to identify the famous artists who had created them.
They did quite badly. So we must infer that these posters have hardly made a mark and will soon be rightly forgotten.
Andrew F N Manson
2012-08-28 20:12:57

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