Sophistication a New Goal for Sports Graphics
London Olympic Rings
Over different locations around the Olympic Park in London rest ten rings suspended in trees, forged from phosphored bronze and stainless steel.
Similar to the way natural trees rings show history and age, these rings tell the story of the Olympic site over centuries. Artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey of Ackroyd & Harvey were commissioned by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to create a permanent reminder of the games. The team collaborated with Harry Pearce and Naresh Ramchandani at Pentagram to develop the concept and build the rings, each 15 meters in diameter. Inscribed inside each ring is a double-lined vignette detailing the history of the site.
Ackroyd and Harvey crafted the words with help from Pentagram’s Naresh Ramchandani. The team reworked the words until, says Ramchandani, “they were perfect pieces of verbal archeology, juxtaposing objects, memories and feelings about London in a way that is evocative, playful and rhythmic.” Data from Lucy Harrison, a local artist who collected stories from the local communities and archaeological research from the Museum of London, helped inform the words. The lettering, which runs as complete inner rings within the rings, was designed by Harry Pearce and his team. The lettering is a specially redrawn version of Akzidenz Grotesque. Pearce’s early configurations of the type were layered and complex, almost playfully decorative. Ultimately, the two circles of type became a simplistic stream of data poetry. This suited the pure structure of the rings ‒ words almost floating on their surface.
Harry Pearce, Partner-In-Charge + Designer
Naresh Ramchandani, Partner + Writer
Jason Ching + Sean Chilvers, Designers