Beyond 2012 - an integrated Design Story

Royal Mail ‘Olympic Memories’ stamps and pack
A graphic design story

“The visually rich imagery and ephemera of the time provided the perfect way to immerse the audience into the world of the 1948 Olympics.”

Oliver Maltby,
Creative Director

Tell us about the early design brief

We had two projects: to design a collectible coin cover/pack celebrating the last time London hosted the Olympics back in 1948 plus a set of stamps celebrating London 2012.

What inspired your design concepts?

Hosted in London just a few years after the end of the Second World War, the Games of 1948 were named the ‘Austerity Games’. They are a stark contrast to the Olympic Games of today and we felt it was important that this was reflected throughout the design of the coin cover.

The visually rich imagery and ephemera of the time provided the perfect way to immerse the audience into the world of the 1948 Olympics, and rather than conforming to the standard coin pack format we decided to house the information in ways that are relevant to the era and the stories being told.

We housed the ‘austerity’ information within a ration book, while the big sporting stories of the Games were displayed echoing the style of a prominent magazine of the time, complete with facts disguised as 1940s advertisements.

In our stamps project, the brief was very specific. With the subject matter for each stamp clearly defined, it was largely an editing and cropping exercise using existing photographic imagery from the Games, with the aim to be as celebratory and uplifting as possible. We could be a little more playful in the presentation pack however, and echoing the angular style of the logo we used a grid of ‘shards’ to hold imagery and text. All the images on the pack feature gold medal winners and we used a metallic gold prominently throughout the pack.

What challenges did you face along the way?

Both LOCOG and The Royal Mail had very strict guidelines to adhere to. Working within these (and perhaps stretching them to their limits in places!) we were pleased to be able to create two very different packs that perfectly suited their individual briefs. One feels historically accurate and contemporary and the other energetic and celebratory, and both were really well received.

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

London 2012 was an amazing success that captured the imagination of the whole country for a fantastic few weeks of summer. We loved watching it but was a real privilege to be asked to play a small part in it and to be able to become more immersed in the event than just an interested onlooker.


Company name
The Chase

Royal Mail ‘Olympic Memories’ stamps and presentation pack


Project team

1948 Olympic heritage coin cover:

Oliver Maltby
Creative Director

Rebecca Low

Olympic memories:

Richard Scholey
Creative Director

Stuart Beveridge

More 2012 stories

Olympic Torch

Paralympic Games £5 coin
Pippa Sanderson

Olympic Cauldron
Heatherwick Studios

Olympic Medal Design
Ramshaw-Watkins Ltd

Olympic Cauldron
Stage One Creative Services Ltd