Ian Keltie was unexpectedly seized by the Olympic spirit, and now he's flying the flag for British creative genius
It’s been tough being a Brit these past few years: we’ve unknowingly been paying for our politicians to watch porn movies in their second homes (that’s the second homes financed by the tax payer). We’ve also had to bail out the banks and yet still watch the ‘bankers’ take their gigantic bonuses…
With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics on the way, all year I’d been asking myself: how can you be proud to be British when the Brits at the top, the people with the power, seem to be nothing more than highly paid criminals? Proud Brit? Olympic spirit? Count me out. Or so I thought.
So I sat down in front of my TV on a Friday night in July expecting little more than a community centre fireworks display and some shoddy costumes. I knew there was absolutely no chance we could out-do the Chinese – no chance. But, as it turns out, I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Minutes after pressing 101 on my TV remote I felt wave after wave of pride burst through my red, white and blue veins, and at the centre of everything was British creativity: Danny Boyle, the Arctic Monkeys, the Sex Pistols, amazing light shows, outstanding sets and an Olympic cauldron that took my breath away. At last, British creativity ruled the waves, and almost the entire TV-watching human race turned up to see it.
What followed, as everyone knows, was week after week of amazing sport. The achievements of our Olympians and Paralympians (who in some cases had never even competed in their chosen sports just four years earlier) should be an inspiration for what can be achieved when you put your mind to something. It has left the country filled with nothing but pride, and it’s this pride that can only benefit our industry.
Five years ago, Computer Arts asked me to share my opinions about the 2012 Olympic logo. At the time, I think I might have been the only person on the planet to stick up for the Olympic logo design. The day Computer Arts went to press I dug a trench, strapped on my helmet and waited for the shrapnel chunks to head my way (thankfully, they never came).
I mentioned in my last article that although the Olympic logo was taking a savage and undeserved beating, I felt – and still feel today – that if a so-called cooler, trendier country like Japan or Brazil had designed it, we’d be saying they were geniuses. I know this isn’t very British, but let’s face it: we’re running hot and the fact is that we are trendy, we are cool and we do have many creative geniuses. And if the whole world didn’t think that before, I’m sure they know it now.
Although the modern-day villains I mentioned earlier tried their very best to stain our name with their shameful actions, they have failed. Because of the London 2012 Olympics, being British has never felt so good – at least not in my lifetime. We are once again at the forefront of cool.
So I personally say the design legacy is one of pride, passion, belief and opportunity. Whether you’re a graphics student, a young designer or a 30-something creative like me, you should be feeling pretty good right now – these are exciting times, and who’s to say you aren’t going to be the next Jessica Ennis or Mo Farah of the British creative scene? I’ve got my Mac, I’ve got my Bamboo tablet and I’ve got my flag flying high. Who’s with me?