Robert L. Peters

30 July 2012

Free Olympukes!

London, UK

On the occasion of the London 2012 Olympics, Virusfonts has release Olympukes 2012—with the support of FontShop and TYPO London. Olympukes is a new set of pictograms for the London games designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, Jon Abbott, and Marwan Kaabour. In 2004, VirusFonts originally took on the Olympic pictograms— the ultimate designer’s commission—but with a witty subversion. Rather than expressing ‘inspirational’ human endeavour, the Virus pictograms acknowledged the complex contradictions of the modern olympics. “The occasion of the London 2012 games gives us an opportunity to revisit this concept, not only because VirusFonts is based in London but also because much has changed globally in the last eight years,” says Virus founder Jonathan Barnbrook.

The 2012 games come at a time of great economic and political uncertainty. Since 2008 the global economic system has lurched from one crisis to the next. Greece—the host of the 2004 games—now sits at the epicentre of a crumbling Eurozone. Ironically, the last time London hosted the Olympics, they were nicknamed the Austerity Games. Sixty-four years later, we find ourselves back in an era of austere cuts which serves to highlight the absurd expense of the 2012 games.

Another aspect of the Olympics that is back for 2012 is the unfettered commercialism. If you think the games are about sport alone, think again. “In Beijing we took it for granted that a dictatorial one-party state would suppress human rights in order to deliver the perfect games. What was a little more unexpected is the excessive security measures due to be employed by a supposedly liberal democracy.” says Barnbrook in his press release. And: “In a country with an estimated 1.8 million cctv cameras, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised.”

Where the 2004 Olympukes celebrated the general greed, manipulation and skulduggery in the Olympics, the 2012 version looks more specifically at complaints, controversies and accusations leveled at the London games and associated events. Countless hours went into researching accurate and thought-provoking stories, presented here in pictogram form. Olympukes 2012 is available in dark and light weights in the multi-platform OpenType format.

Download Olympukes 2012 at Virus. (Thanks to Toze Coelho for the link).

 

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