Olympic posters at the V&A museum

Monday, August 18, 2008

The V&A Museum of Childhood currently have an exhibition of A Century of Olympic Posters (until Sept 7).

For me, the posters that work best are those that use Olympic symbols, and mix them with sporting icons, and add visual elements of the host nation or city.

There was a definite trend - earlier posters were quite illustrative, realistic and detailed, with the lines becoming clearer and more minimal as time went on.

My three favourites were:

Mexico 1968 Olympic poster: Starting with Mexico 68, this adds more parallel lines to give the impression of race track lines and Mayan designs. Overall, an eye-catching and dynamic poster, and very in keeping with the symmetrical OpArt trends of the 60s.

Moscow 1980 Olympics poster: Another simple design but one which is really effective: the lines look like track lines and are a visual link to the Kremlin's architecture.

Montreal 1976 Olympic poster: again, this uses a simple design but really gives an impression of movement which is so part of the Olympics and sport.
London's 2012 logo was featured in the exhibition, and I have to say that, of recent efforts, I think it is the best (certainly beating Beijing and Athens), but doesn't seem to have any element of sport in it which is a shame.

A French poster also caught my eye . If you think the sporno trend of homoerotic sportsman is new - check out these boys from the 1924 Paris Olympics.