+1 Olympics

The posters posted above and below were designed by BUILD for an exhibition of Olympic posters curated by Vaughan Oliver & Jonathan Barnbrook. The brief called for "a great poster that expresses the positive aspects of the Olympics." Naturally, VO and Barnbrook found BUILD's entries to be "too cynical" and dismissed them. Thereafter, BUILD agreed with their decision and reasoning.

Yes, BUILD were technically off-brief since the brief called for ONLY positive responses. Who's to argue with that? Or rather, how can one argue with that? However what I think BUILD brought to them is entirely appropriate and effective.That the brief is so narrow in scope is what's truly wrong and BUILD's complicit acknowledgement that the posters were "too cynical" complicates the problem further. BUILD are self-censoring by implying the message they have constructed should be overlooked and dismissed when in the context of a global awakening, widening economic disparity, and Occupy encampments screaming out against the corporate coup, these messages are ever more relevant. Still, the arrangement of corporate logos replacing the Olympic rings aren't that incriminating. Certainly not when compared to the slew of BP Oil spill parodies that have surfaced.

BUILD, in the manner that has always been their specialty, surfaced factual data; the symbolic representations of the corporate sponsors of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Are these facts worth censoring? Are they particularly negative? The posters that the exhibition accepted and BUILD went forward with swapped out these sponsors for the identifying logos of the Oyster card, London Underground, and Selfridge's citing these as being "much more in keeping with what the Olympics are all about." In light of the staggering security expenses, I'd have to disagree. Perhaps a poster with zip tie cuffs and razor wire replacing the rings would be more appropriate, albeit still a little "too cynical"?

This subject brings me back to a post I made a month or so back about the shift in communication design from the spectacle of right vs. wrong to a focus on the interesting and relevant. Self-censorship and extreme anti-bullying measures are in many ways setting us up for a very one-dimensional conversation. That you cannot criticize, much less draw attention to, the Olympic Games or Gay Pride events being compromised by corporate interests is a dangerous precedent to set.

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