Over the years, the Olympics have given rise to some of the most memorable pieces of design – from Lance Wyman's Mexico '68 identity, to Wolff Olins' controversial London 2012 logo. But as well as the graphic design surrounding the Games each year, there's also a whole host of clever creative work that makes the most of the sporting event; everything from press ads and paper wraps to TV commercials and digital design.
We've delved into the archive to find out which pieces of work earned themselves a place on our Judges' Pencil podiums.
Paralympics ' We're The Superhumans'
Black Pencil / Film Advertising / TV Commercials 121-240 seconds / 2017
Widely praised for its creativity and impact, Channel 4's Meet the Superhumans film boosted awareness and understanding of disability in sport – and captured a new audience for the Paralympic Games. Its We're The Superhumans follow-up didn't disappoint, once again forcing viewers to reconsider attitudes towards disability – and winning a Black Pencil in the 2017 D&AD Awards.
Yellow Pencil / Film Advertising Crafts / Animation for Film Advertising / 2011
RKCR/Y&R avoided using a single sports shot for this promo for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Instead, the agency created an animated short that tells the story of an Inuit warrior facing down a giant bear – still finding time to ski, snowboard and skate, in true Winter Games style.
The Times Wraps for Olympics
Wood Pencil / Magazine & Newspaper Design / Magazine & Newspaper Sections / 2013
With so much daily action going down at the Olympics, it's hard to keep up with everything. For The Times' daily edition, during London Olympics 2012, the paper produced cover wraps commemorating some of the Games' biggest moments – showing the power of punchy type and photography.
Nike Olympics: Find Your Greatness
Wood Pencil / TV & Cinema Advertising / TV Commercials 41-60 Seconds / 2013
Nike and Wieden+Kennedy Portland reminded viewers that greatness isn't reserved for Olympic superstars, with a campaign celebrating the smaller moments of victory. Despite not being an official sponsor of the 2012 Games, Nike cleverly skirted the strict sponsorship rules, with The Guardian describing Find Your Greatness as an “ambush ad campaign”.
Olympics News Lab at Google
Wood Pencil / Branding / Digital Brand Expression / 2017
With 300 million Olympics-related searches happening daily, when the Games are on, this is a sports event that generates a tonne of data. Google combed through this with its always-on lab of strategists, writers, designers and engineers to uncover the “unexpected side” of the event – such as discovering that searches for “spinning classes” spike during the discus throw finals.
Wood Pencil / TV & Cinema Graphics / Promotions / Stings / Programme Junctions / 2003
The BBC pulled no punches in this sting for its 2002 Winter Olympics coverage, which is a relentless assault of snow, ice, and the sounds of skis, boards, bobsleds and blades slicing through the cold.
New Blood Entry – Release Rio
This New Blood entry tackled the darker side of the Olympics, using the sporting event to speak up about human rights violations in Rio de Janeiro. Release Rio would make the most of the 20,000 Airbnb rooms rented for the Olympics, by also listing prison cells that invite Games-goers to lodge complaints with the Brazilian government.
If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.