London 2012 Olympic Posters unveiled

Last week the promotional posters for the fast-approaching 2012 London Olympic Games were unveiled to the usual mixed reactions of both praise and criticism.

So far released are six Olympics posters and six Paralympics posters that will be showcased across the country to celebrate ‘artistic excellence’ in the UK. Reactions so far range from praising the posters’ artistic bravery to harsh criticism of the abstract nature of the designs.

With contributions from big names such as Bridget Riley, Tracey Emin, Anthea Hamilton and Howard Hodgkin to name but a few, the results should be spectacular. But are they?

The main question is; Do they answer the brief? If their purpose is to promote the Olympic games and raise awareness of its impending arrival, are they fit for purpose? Possibly not. They aren’t engaging, informational pieces of graphic design. They are personal expressions from leading artists. But if they are intended to showcase British creativity then they probably do a good job. Lets hope the rest of the world gets it!

The other question is; Will they appeal to all age groups and walks of life or just those ‘in the know’? Are the posters inclusive and encompassing as is the Olympics games ethos, or are they just elitist and pretentious?

And why weren’t leading British commercial graphic designers asked to contribute? Surely they are the right people for the job? They seem conspicuous by their absence… but maybe we’re a bit biased!

When compared to some of the great Olympic campaigns such as Otl Aicher’s work for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games (mentioned elsewhere in this blog) it seems a strange route to take, possibly brave and inspired but also possibly misguided.

London 2012 Olympic Posters by famous artistsThe debate looks set to rumble on (as did the one surrounding the 2012 Olympic branding which strangely has now become widely accepted and even loved).

Here’s the full set of posters. What do you think?