Iris creates 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots

London’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots have been created by marketing and advertising agency Iris in a bid to ‘inspire young people’.

Appointed in November 2008, the consultancy was asked to encourage young people to become involved in sport through its designs.

Consultancy creative director Grant Hunter describes the creations as ‘a multi-dimensional, adaptable design for the digital age’, and suggests the public will be able to ‘customise the mascots’. Different iterations, including a Queen’s Guard and a policeman, have already been hinted at by Iris.

The characters Wenlock and Mandeville take their names from areas of historical significance. The Olympics’ Wenlock takes its name from a Shropshire town which is said to have inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games. Mandeville is named after Stoke Mandeville, birthplace of the Paralympic Games.

‘Headlights’ on the characters reference London taxis, and the cyclopic eye is a camera lens. Three peaks at the top of Mandeville’s head symbolise the ‘agitos’ paralympic symbol, and the Olympic rings are represented by wrist bands. Gold, silver and bronze are shown through the characters’ iridescent colours.

Author Michael Morpurgo has created a narrative for the characters, which has been turned into an animated film showing how they are cast from the same steel as the 2012 Olympic stadium. 

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