Tourist information guide on Athens Greece

Olympic Summer Games Posters


Olympic Summer Games Posters
since 1896



1896 Athens Olympic poster

1896 Athens

The cover of the report on the 1896 Games evoked the Olympics' classical ancestry. At Athens, as in early times, only men took part in the Olympic Games.

1900 Paris Olympic poster

1900 Paris

The Games were moved from May to October. A range of trophies were awarded because the modern medal system was not yet in place.

1904 Saint Louis Olympic poster

1904 Saint Louis

The program cover and poster of the St. Louis World's Fair were used for the 1904 Olympic Games.

1908 London Olympic poster

1908 London

The official program for the 1908 Olympic Games featured a high jumper in action at the stadium of Shepards Bush in London.

1912 Stockholm Olympic poster

1912 Stockholm

After a thorough examination of several sketches sent in and after having conferred with prominent Swedish artists, the Swedish Olympic Committee, at a meeting held on the 27 June 1911, accepted the poster by Olle Hjortzberg, of the Royal Academy, which had been sent in to the Committee in 1910 but had afterwards been slightly altered. The poster represented the march of the nations, each athlete with a waving flag.

1920 Antwerp Olympic poster

1920 Antwerp

The official poster for the first Games after World War I showed a classical discus thrower alongside flags of the participating nations.

1924 Paris Olympic poster

1924 Paris Olympic poster

1924 Paris

Of the 150 designs submitted, the French Olympic Committee selected two: one by Jean Droit and the other by Orsi. 10.000 copies of each were printed.

Of these 20.000 posters, 12.000 were sent abroad and distributed with the help of the National Olympic Committees, sporting federations, Olympic associations, etc. In France, the posters were distributed by sporting establishments, theaters and travel agencies.

The poster of Jean Droit for the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris was dominated by a picture of athletes and the French tricolor while the one of Orsi showed a javelin thrower with the Sacre Coeur in the background.

1928 Amsterdam Olympic poster

1928 Amsterdam

Several Dutch artists were invited to send in designs for the 1928 Olympic Games. The Organizing Committee selected four designs from which a choice was made. The design sent in by J. Rovers, whose original design was slightly altered and 10.000 copies were printed. As the Dutch Railways had promised to assist in distributing the posters, a number of them bore the inscription Netherlands Railways in the language of the country to which they were sent (Holland, Belgium, France, Germany and England). Other posters were distributed among the sporting clubs throughout Holland, travel offices, hotels and tourist information offices.

1932 Los Angeles Olympic poster
1932 Los Angeles

In an effort to produce an official poster which would be novel and at the same time attractive enough to it being displayed over a period of many months, the Committee accepted the design offered by Julio Kilenyi. The poster depicted the ancient Grecian custom of sending a youthful athlete out to announce the forthcoming celebration of the Games. Several thousand copies of the poster were displayed.
1936 Berlin Olympic poster

1936 Berlin

From the designs submitted, that of the Berlin painter and graphic artist, Wurbel, was selected by the Organizing Committee. His poster revealed the quadriga of the Brandenburg Gate as the landmark of the host city, Berlin, and behind this the figure of a wreathed victor with his arm raised in the Olympic greeting. The poster was distributed to and displayed in every country of the world and was issued in all of the important languages.

1948 London

As there was no time to set up a competition for the design of the poster because of the World War II, the choice rested between a few designs submitted to the Executive Committee, The Olympic rings are first printed on the poster. In front of the Houses of Parliament there is the statue of "The Discus Thrower", a bronze statue made by Myron of Eleutherae in 450 BC. All 100.000 printed copies were distributed.
1952 Helsinki Olympic poster
1952 Helsinki

The official poster, by the Finnish artist Ilmari Sysimetsa, showed the legendary Finnish long-distance runner, Paavo Nurmi. The poster was printed in two sizes and 20 different languages and a total of 115.000 copies were distributed. In Finland the first posters appeared in the summer of 1951 in railway stations, post offices, bus stations and sporting clubs. It was not generally displayed until the spring of 1952, shortly before the Games.
1956 Melbourne Olympic poster

1956 Melbourne

Richard Beck's design for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games poster was one of five designs submitted to the design competition organized by the Melbourne Olympic Committee in 1954. Selected as the winning entry, the design was first released in December 1954 as a postage stamp to draw attention to the forthcoming Games. The poster presents an invitation for the Games. The Olympic rings dominate the front of the invitation while the official Coat of Arms of the City of Melbourne appears on another fold.

The Australians refused Equestrian part of the Olympic Games out of fear for transmittable diseases. The Equestrian therefore took place in Stockholm. The Equestrian Olympic poster, issued in 40.000 copies with text in English, French, German, and Swedish was distributed all over the world in the early part of 1955. The designer of the poster was the Swedish artist John Sjosvord who lived in Stockholm.
1960 Rome Olympic poster
1960 Rome

On 31st January 1957 the Arts Section initiated a " Prize-winning Contest between artists of Italian nationality for the poster of the Games of the XVII Olympiad ". 290.000 copies were printed of the design by Armando Testa. The capital of the Roman column depicts the apotheosis of a winning athlete, who, according to Roman rites, crowns himself with his right hand and holds the palm of victory in his left. Above is a Roman she-wolf from which Remus and Romulus are suckling. They are the twin brothers who, according to legend, founded the city of Rome.

1964 Tokyo Olympic poster

1964 Tokyo Olympic poster

1964 Tokyo Olympic poster

1964 Tokyo Olympic poster

1964 Tokyo

In February 1961, the first official poster of a series of four was published. These four official posters were: "The Rising Sun and the Olympic Emblem", "The Start of Sprinters Dash", "A Butterfly-Swimmer" and "An Olympic Torch Runner." All four were designed by Yusaku Kamekura and from the second one onwards, he had the cooperation of Osamu Hayasaki and Jo Murakoshi as staff photographers.

The posters were in multi-colored photogravure, a distinct technical accomplishment for Japan's printing industry. The printing quality received a lot of favourable comments both at home and abroad and the posters themselves received a number of prizes for their excellence, including the Milan Poster Design Award.

The first poster with its striking design from Japan's National flag, to some extent served to renew the appreciation of the Rising Sun's dynamic simplicity. Some 100.000 copies of this poster were printed and distributed before the Games.

The second official poster was modeled with the cooperation both of athletes of the American forces stationed at the Tachikawa Air Base in Japan and of Japanese amateur athletes. The photo was taken on a winter night in February 1962 at the National Stadium in Tokyo. Ninety thousand copies of this poster were distributed.

The first photos for the third official poster were taken at the Tokyo Metropolitan Indoor Swimming Pool in February 1962 with swimmer Furukawa and other Japanese free-style, backstroke and butterfly swimmers as well as W. Yorzyk (USA) acting as models. None of these photos, however, were accepted and later a butterfly trio of Waseda University were called in to cooperate and a picture modeled by Koji Iwamoto was selected for the poster. Some 70.000 of these posters had been distributed by the opening of the Games.

The final official poster was made at the beginning of 1964 and 50.000 copies were distributed. The Olympic Torch Runner selected this poster was athlete Tanaka of the Juntendo University track and field team.

In Japan, these posters were distributed to all local government offices, amateur sports associations, public buildings, news media, airlines, prominent trading companies, tourist agencies, business firms, banks, etc, The overseas distribution included the International Olympic Committee, National Olympic Committees, international sports federations, and Japan's Embassies in the various countries. These posters were responsible for accentuating the Olympic mood which prevailed both at home and abroad.
1968 Mexico City Olympic poster
1968 Mexico City

The poster was designed by Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, Lance Wyman and Eduardo Terrazas. Posters were probably the most popular publications in the Olympic Identity Program. They not only served to promote every aspect of the Games and the Cultural Program of the XIX Olympiad, but became coveted souvenirs. Altogether, 2.120.000 copies of 159 posters were printed in 1968 of which 18 sports posters totaling 287.000 copies.
1972 Munich Olympic poster
1972 Munich

The official poster was meant to promote not one specific sports event, but the whole of the Munich Games. It was supposed to express the specific spirit of the Games. The design evokes the modern architecture of the sporting venues, in a style and using colors which are purposefully simple and pure. In the centre of the background, the famous Olympic tower. 5.000 copies were made.
1976 Montreal Olympic poster
1976 Montreal

Posters seem to have played an important role in the image which recent Olympic organizing committees have sought to project. COJO followed the same path, ordering two main series of posters from the Graphics and Design Directorate. The first series illustrated eight themes which the organizers of the Montreal Games wanted to stress in particular: Olympic Stadium, mascot, flag, International youth camp, Olympia and Montreal, Kingston 1976 and the Olympic Flame.

The second series of posters commissioned by COJO illustrated the twenty-one sports on the program of the Games of the XXI Olympiad. Each was intended to communicate the action of its sport. The Graphics and Design Directorate, therefore, preferred photographic techniques to drawings, where the results might have been colored by the artist's personal interpretation.
1980 Moscow Olympic poster

1980 Moscow

The official poster featured the emblem of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow: a section of a running track rising into an architectural silhouette typical of Moscow and a five-pointed star topping the silhouette.

1984 Los Angeles Olympic poster
1984 Los Angeles

The LAOOC commissioned an Olympic poster series in December of 1983. Twelve graphic designers were chosen to depict a particular sport of the Olympic Games. The artists included: Laurie Raskin (collage), Arnold Schwartzman (cycling), Keith Bright (torch pictogram), Marvin Rubin (gymnastics), Saul Bass (swimming), John Von Hammersveld (javelin), Charles White Ill (weightlifting); Ken Parkhurst (shot put), Rod Dyer (wrestling), Deborah Sussman (collage), James Cross (discus) and Don Weller (athletics).
1988 Seoul Olympic poster
1988 Seoul

In the poster, designed by Prof. Cho Yong-je, the five rings symbolizing the pure Olympic spirit were rendered in bright figurative form to represent the Olympic ideal illuminating the world in peace forever. The image of the runner carrying the Olympic torch symbolized mankind's progress towards happiness and prosperity. The SLOOC decided to produce 27 types of sports posters to introduce the sports of the Seoul Olympic Games and to establish a familiar image of the Games.
1992 Barcelona Olympic poster
1992 Barcelona

COOB'92 developed a highly ambitious project which involved 58 different posters grouped in four collections: the official Olympic posters, the painters' posters, the designers' posters and the photographic sports posters. The posters were distributed by COOB'92 free of charge. Three kinds of special packaging were prepared: plastic (for a single poster), cardboard tube (for complete collections) and boxes (for dispatching large quantities). All three bore the Barcelona'92 emblem and the Telefonica logotype.
1996 Atlanta Olympic poster
1996 Atlanta

Art Direction developed the ACOG Poster Program to embrace a variety of images and artists. Of the 63 posters in the program, 25 were available as limited edition prints. Each poster had a predetermined border that contained the Games logo and the phrase "Centennial Olympic Games" in English and French. The posters were divided into four series: sports, designer, Look Team and artist serie. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Juan Antonio Samaranch, chose this image drawn by an artist from "The Look of the Games", Primo Angeli, as the official poster for the 1996 Olympic Games.
2000 Sydney Olympic poster
2000 Sydney

To reflect a diversity of styles and techniques, the Organizing Committee asked several poster designers from a wide range of different creative and cultural backgrounds to create posters. In total, 50 posters were published. The official poster was selected from creations presented in the following four categories: "Schoolchildren’s work”, “Sydney 2000 emblems”, “Mascots” and “Posters”.
2004 Athens Olympic poster
2004 Athens

The official poster of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games incorporates three key communication elements of the Games visual identity: the emblem of the Games, a section of the “Panorama” composition and a view of the Acropolis. The emblem serves as reference to the four key values of the Athens Games: heritage, human scale, participation and celebration. The “Panorama” artwork composition is based on forms that reflect images of Greece’s cultural heritage and natural environment: waves, a fragment of an ancient Greek inscription, an ornamental motif from an ancient vase, the blue colors of the Greek sea and sky, the vibrant color of the bougainvillea, the grey of stone, the warm orange colors of the sun. A black-and-white picture of Acropolis in Athens occupies the centre of the poster. The official poster was designed by the Image & Identity Department of the OCOG Athens 2004 Communications Division.

Credit: IOC/Olympic Museum Collections


   Olympic Winter Games posters
  TORINO 2006
  BEIJING 2008
  LONDON 2012

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