Those Olympic posters: some alternatives

Earlier this month, 12 posters by leading artists for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled to a largely skeptical public. Given the same brief to respond to, Kingston University students have come up with their own versions

Earlier this month, 12 posters by leading artists for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled to a largely skeptical public. Given the same brief, Kingston University students have come up with their own versions

Over the current term, I have been doing some lecturing with the third year students on Kingston University’s graphic design and photography courses. A couple of weeks ago, following the release of the 2012 Olympics artists posters, course director Rebecca Wright and I asked the students if they would like to respond to the same briefy given the artists. We asked them for a personal response to the idea of the London Olympics and the intersection between art and sport. Here are their responses.

Leanne Bentley and Ben West came up with this cheeky and somewhat damning response to the artists involved with the official series: DNF stands for Did Not Finish, the ultimate Olympic fail.

For her poster, Ran Park overlayed images of athletes performing various sports to create this beautiful composition


A lot of the student responses were quite critical or dubious about the supposed benefits of the Games coming to London. Here Libby Wimble compares LOCOG’s ambitions to those of a Stalinist Five Year Plan: presumably she feels they have as little basis in reality as each other. The background to the poster is made up of 250,000 tiny tractors


Rosie Palmer and Helen Ferguson were also dubious, focusing on the terrorism threat


Tamara Elmallah was concerned about all the overcrowding the games will bring to the Tube, overlaying an image of spectators rendered in all the Olympic colours until it becomes a brown sludge of humanity


And Alice Tosey wants us all to ‘mind the gap’


And Paul Chanthapanya points to the insidious nature of sponsorship at the Games


While Stephen Messham points out that suffering in the world will not go away just because the Games are in town


Others, though, chose a more positive view. Benji Roebuck and Clara Goodger created their poster from the word for ‘hello’ in the languages of competing nations, allowing the ink from one word to run into another suggesting the coming together of different nations at the Games.


Coming together is also the theme of Jo Hawkes’ poster


And this cut paper piece by Fred North


Hannah Parker had a neat idea for a digital display in which segments would gradually appear over a period of time running up the opening of the Games until the image was completed


Maddy Whitty’s rather beautiful image of the madding crowd of spectators was created using jelly beans


Sam Carroll plays with those famous rings


While Signe Emma created this image from tape which she then photographed


Sophie Burt reminds us of the different races taking part in the games


While Felix Heyes, Josh King, Paul Nelson and Ben West cleverly capture the excitement of the starting block


The same team (minus Paul Nelson) also came up with this wonderfully witty idea. ‘Who’s there? The Olympics!’


Thanks to all the students who took part. They only had just over a week to come up with these, alongside all their other work. Set alongside the efforts of our illustrious artists, I think there are some worthy contenders here.

Read our opinion piece on the official 2012 Olympics posters here

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