BRIEF: To design an official digital Coat of Arms design for Team GB that represents the four countries of Great Britain and symbolising strength and union. Clive Cheesman, the Richmond Herald, from the Royal College of Arms had been given this brief by Adidas and the British Olympic Association for a digital heraldic design that would appear printed and embroidered on the new Team GB kit for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
METHOD: Clive put together a number of drawings of possible layouts and details that we then started to digitally illustrate basing the original composition on some of the Coats of Arms held by various members of the Royal family. The use of lions was a must and is already on the logo for Team GB and the British Olympic Association (BOA). The Olympic torch was another obvious choice but a lot more work went into the placement of these details along with the style of all the elements. Our design went through many iterations with the lion on the crest (at the top) originally being a fox for example.
The most important part of the design is the detail on the shield itself – this is the most important part of a Grant of Arms. For the Coat of Arms we used the floral emblems that represent the four home nations with two roses, leeks, flax flowers and thistles. The reason for having two of each was to create fairness between the four countries’ emblems so no nation appeared more important than another. As a design device the eight emblems in total helped mimic the Union Flag – we managed to create a miniature version in the centre where the different stalks conjoined. The stalks are also threaded through a four-linked chain made from athletic running tracks.
THE FINAL RESULTS: It was a very proud moment to see our final design appearing on the kit (designed by Stella McCartney) and for the logo to be literally up in neon lights as a backdrop to the launch event. Athletes are great roles models and to see them modelling the latest Team GB kit with our artwork all over it is a massive achievement. The Coat of Arms design seems to be getting really good feedback from all of the media so we couldn’t be happier!
FINALLY: Usually we have the painted Coat of Arms artwork to create the digital design from, but with the nature of this project the digital version came first. The final painted Team GB Coat of Arms (at the bottom of the images) has just been completed by the amazing Tim Noade and we think it is truly stunning – well done Tim!
To see more digital heraldry designs you can visit: digitalheraldry.com