Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stockholm Olympic Poster - Pam

The first official poster for the promotion of the “Modern” Olympic games was in 1912 for the Stockholm Games held in Sweden. Even though the first official “modern” Olympics was held in Athens in 1896 there was no official poster distributed at that time. Swedish artists and designers, as well as selected artists and designers were nominated by the Olympic Committee and invited to submit their sketches for a competition to win the opportunity of gaining world wide recognition, if successful. Each artist needed to conform strict guidelines for the development of the poster.

In June of 1911 Olle Hjortzberg , was chosen for his poster design, by the Swedish Olympic Committee. The poster represented the march of the nations displaying Olympians waving flags, visually engaging immediate comprehension of the Olympics. Even though Hjortzberg may have abided by the strict guidelines of the brief, the original poster was altered slightly shortly after being selected.

Several participating countries were concerned with the nudity of the athletes, so to please his critiques with the “daring” appearance of his design he added ribbons to disguise the athlete’s nudity. The concept for the nudity was to illustrate reference to the “Games of Antiquity” (nakedness was referred to as a sign of balance and harmony between body and mind). In addition to the official poster design, Hjortzberg was requested to design the Olympic diploma in March of 1912 to be presented to

prize-medal winners of the games. The diploma represents the Goddess Pallas Athene holding staff and the Greek symbol of Victory.

Without the use of today’s communication devices such as radio and television, the poster was the major advertising of the event. It was distributed to 30 countries and therefore printed in over 16 different languages to achieve this. The poster was 75.5cm x 107cm in size and printed in seven colours on velinpaper. With huge demand from the countries the printers were presented with problems

of distributing additional copies in time for the games commencement date not only for the poster but advertising stamp (see pic.), advertising pamphlet and general programme.


  1. Unable to find another photo relating to this topic

  2. wow, consider all the different types of graphic design evident in advertising our modern olympics and compare that to the sole poster that did the same job back then. it was SO important! imagine being the designer - immediate global recognition... great post, thanks : )