See six inspiring Winter Olympics 2018 art and design projects

Animation, gifs, editorial illustration and logo designs surrounding Pyeongchang 2018.


 This year's Winter Olympics held in South Korea's Pyeongchang county are well underway. The games began in sub-zero temperatures – set to be the coldest games in over 20 years – and not without controversy over North Korea’s surprise participation.

Although PyeongChang 2018 may not attract an audience as large as the Rio Olympics did, there’s a still a strong following. If you’re a mad skier or snowboarder, you’re sure to be watching. Or even if you just like the Cool Runnings film and take an interest in the Bobsleigh teams, or Eddie the Eagle, a heart-warming film on ski jumping, you might be watching.

As well as visually, physically and psychologically stunning performances from the world’s top athletes, there has been some awesome illustration, animation and artwork to emerge surrounding the games. In this feature we showcase what artwork has caught our eye so far, but make sure to revisit as we update throughout the length of the games.

If you happen to spot artwork you think should be included, get in touch.

The Fearless are Here by Smith and Foulkes, Y&R London

We kick off with none other than the epic animated film promoting the BBC’s Winter Olympics coverage, created by Nexus Studio duo Smith and Foulkes in collaboration with creative agency Y&R London.

Best known for their Grr ad for Honda, the duo have created a blood pumping, stunning 2D animation based on the psychological and physical obstacles that athletes face at the Olympics. Watch it above.

Smith and Foulkes researched live action filming techniques for action sports in order to create an accurate sense of movement within a 3D space. A team of artists at Nexus then created the entirely 2D animation, which was drawn and animated using VR cinematography software. 

Read our full feature on the animation here.


Illustrations for New York Times' Winter Olympic Edition by Tatsuro Kiuchi

Under the art direction of Matt Willey and digital art direction of Rodrigo de Benito Sanz, Japanese illustrator Tatsuro Kiuchi created a series of illustrations and gifs for the New York Times’ Winter Olympic Edition.

The painterly style illustrations showcase a range of athletes engaging in different sports, such as snowboarding, ski jumping and bobsleighing. The illustrations were presented in print and a digital collection of various in-depth articles into the games.

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Illustrations for New York Times Winter Olympic Edition by Tatsuro Kiuchi

This illustration was for an article titled, Why Koreans Are So Good at Speedskating


Google Doodles lead by Jessica Yu

Every day for the entire length of PyeongChang 2018, Google is releasing a Doodle animation based on different Winter Olympic sports, with a charming cast of animals, such as penguins, a cheeky turtle and even an elephant has a go at snowboarding.

The animations are created by a team of engineers, a producer, sound designer and marketer, and the artwork is created by: Alyssa Winans, Juliana Chen, Kevin Laughlin, Nate Swinehart, Olivia Huynh, Pedro Vergani and Sophie Diao using Google’s signature colours and six letters as a starting point.

Open Google each day to see the next animation in the Doodle Snow Games series. To find out more, click on the snowflake icon the right of the animation to read a short description and see all in the series, or feel free to share the Google Doodle animations out through social media channels.


Winter Olympic Gifs by Alex Johnson

Motion designer and animator Alex Johnson, aka Armadillo Motion, has a string of brilliant gifs on dribbble, with a selection of his latest ones celebrating the Winter Olympics, such as this one for the opening of ski jumping.

He’s also created one for curling and an Olympic torch gif to celebrate the opening ceremony.

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Winter Olympic Gifs by Alex Johnson

Check back at his dribbble account, as we’re sure more will be released throughout the games.


PyeongChang 2018 official logo by Ha Jong-joo

The official logo for the Winter Olympics was created by Korean designer Ha Jong-joo and revealed back in 2013. The five colours associated with the Olympic rings are used in a Korean twist – instead of the rings there are pillar and star shaped emblems.

The emblems represent different characters used in the Korean alphabet, Hangeul. These letters are used in the word PyeongChang, but also have a deeper meaning, according to Design Week. The pillar aims to represent harmony between "heaven, earth and man", Olympic organisers explain, while the star symbol aims to represent athletes, ice and snow.

Learn more about the meaning behind the PyeongChang 2018 logo here.


The face of ET by Alibaba, Wolff Olins

Alibaba’s new cloud-based, interactive artificial intelligence (AI) platform, which claims to improve traffic flow in cities, has been given a visual identity by Wolff Olins in a slightly different creative project.

The ‘human face’ visual identity (seen here) was created to provide a warm, human side to the data processing and machine learning technology by Alibaba, called ET, which is one of the official partners of the Winter Olympics. The lead Wolff Olins creative technologist for this project is Andy Dobson.

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