In 2004 Jon Barnbrook’s foundry VirusFonts reinterpreted the Olympic pictogram in a series of designs that “acknowledged the complex contradictions of the modern Olympics.” Launching today, a new range of Olympukes symbols has been created to reflect on London 2012…
“The occasion of the London 2012 games gives us an opportunity to revisit this concept,” say the studio on their blog, “not only because VirusFonts is based in London but also much has changed globally in the last eight years.”
‘A’ from the Olympukes set: ‘Overzealous policing of Olympic name’
Acknowledging the commercialism inherent to the modern Olympics, Virus explain that the new Olympukes range also makes reference to the economic climate in which the Games are being staged. “Ironically, the last time London hosted the Olympics, they were nicknamed the Austerity Games,” the studio writes. “Sixty-four years later, we find ourselves back in an era of austere cuts which serves to highlight the absurd expense of the 2012 games.”
‘H’ from the Olympukes set: ‘Hypocritical sponsorship deals’
The hot potato of Games ‘security’ is also dealt with graphically. “What was a little more unexpected is the excessive security measures due to be employed by a supposedly liberal democracy,” say Virus. “But then again, in a country with an estimated 1.8 million CCTV cameras, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised.”
Taken together the 2012 Olympukes look at the “complaints, controversies and accusations levelled at the London Games and associated events”, rendering some of the more familiar Games-related media stories in pictogrammatic form. One recurring theme addressed in the project is the militarisation of Olympic security, evoked in a general sense in the yellow graphic (above) and, more specifically, in the stationing of surface-to-air missles on various buildings in east London, as shown in blue (also above). The full set of 52 pictograms can be seen here.
Olympukes 2012 is available in dark and light weights in the multi-platform OpenType format. To download Olympukes 2012 visit the VirusFonts website and create an account (users will then be able to download the font for free). The 2004 series is also available here.
CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here
CR in Print
The August Olympic Special issue of Creative Review contains a series of features that explore the past and present of the Games to mark the opening of London 2012: Adrian Shaughnessy reappraises Wolff Olins’ 2012 logo, Patrick Burgoyne talks to LOCOG’s Greg Nugent about how Wolff Olins’ original brand identity has been transformed into one consistent look for 2012, Eliza Williams investigates the role of sponsorship by global brands of the Games, Mark Sinclair asks Ian McLaren what it was like working with Otl Aicher as amember of his 1972 Munich Olympics design studio, Swiss designer Markus Osterwalder shows off some of his prize Olympic items from his vast archive, and more.
Plus, Rick Poynor’s assessment of this year’s Recontres d’Arles photography festival and Michael Evamy on the genius of Yusaku Kamekura’s emblem for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Please note, CR now has a limited presence on the newsstand at WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at train stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your WH Smith store or a local independent newsagent can order it for you. You can search for your nearest stockist here. Alternatively, call us on 020 7970 4878 to buy a copy direct from us. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 970 4878 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.