Beyond 2012 - an integrated Design Story

Ceremonial costumes for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies
A fashion design story

“It was exhilarating to finally see it brought to life after seven years of fighting for it to get the spotlight.”

Sara Donaldon,
Chief Operating Officer

Tell us about the early design brief

We worked alongside the LOCOG brand team on the ceremonies to ensure all costumes were on-brand and approved. Our Artistic Directors created the vision for each ceremony.

What inspired your design concept?

The production of the ceremonies was essentially inspired by the priorities of the London 2012 Games and ‘inspiring a generation’, through sport, youth and urban transformation. The ceremonies were for everyone; a chance to celebrate the most innovative, revolutionary and iconic examples of Britain’s rich history and unique humour.

Did you know…

  • Maintaining the secrecy of the ceremonies (particularly the Opening Ceremony) whilst using such a large public cast was undoubtedly a huge ask. To minimise the risk of information reaching the public, we created an incentive campaign: ‘Save the Secret’.
  • All those involved in the production of the ceremonies were asked to safeguard what they knew of the spectacle and ‘Save the Secret’ encouraged them to do so; they were made to feel like guardians of the spectacle that astonished billions of viewers across the nations.

How did it feel to be involved in such an important British project?

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; the London 2012 Ceremonies were deemed to be the ‘greatest show on earth’ and Unspun feel tremendously honoured to be have been a part of that.

From the very beginning, it felt as though we had become the gatekeepers to the Olympic London 2012 Story – the ceremonies were just another way of communicating the key messages. The entire ceremonies production team were committed to telling the London 2012 story in the most spectacular, moving way possible. It was exhilarating to finally see it brought to life after seven years of fighting for it to get the spotlight.

What design challenges did you face along the way?

When it came to design, the main challenge was making Danny Boyle’s inspiring vision a reality without compromising the spectacle. Inevitably, sustainability was one of the main difficulties in the design process. The London 2012 Games prided themselves on being sustainable, and with every design element we had to find the most sustainable solution without compromising the aesthetics.


Company name
Unspun London

Opening and Closing Ceremonies


Project team

Sara Donaldson,
Co-Chief Operating Officer

Selina Donald,
Project Manager

Chris Laue
co-Chief Operating Officer

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