The Metaphorical Measurements for a British Olympics booklet is a visual clarification of measurements involved in 30 Olympic and Paralympic sports, embodying Hardie’s commitment to cross the boundaries between commissioned work, invited work and authorial work. It builds on Hardie’s ongoing research into book arts, collecting as a design tool, graphic games, rules, and measurements of all sorts, all of which are reflected in its graphic and textual wit.
Hardie RDI was awarded £6,000 for Metaphorical Measurements from the Creative Campus Initiative (CCI), a consortium of 13 Universities across South East England established to create a programme of innovative and dynamic cultural events inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Funded by HEFCE, CCI was an initiative of the HE Cultural Forum, recognised by the London 2012 Inspire programme, and charged with presenting new high quality artworks and cultural events. Hardie’s application proposed ‘that this booklet be printed in a large edition and given away during the Olympics. The volume production would contrast well with other cultural projects which often involve “one off” art, performance and screen based work, and would represent the important cultural disciplines of graphic communication and printed ephemera.’
Hardie played further Olympic-related roles alongside Metaphorical Measurements: as commissioned designer of the Royal Mail stamp celebrating Paralympic Archery (2009); and as advocate for graphic arts through his leadership of the ‘Drawing Olympics’ at ‘Pick Me Up’ at Somerset House (2012), including ‘Synchronised Drawing’ and the ‘Fastest Idea for a Drawing’.
Published in two editions, of 5,000 and 2,000, Metaphorical Measurements was widely disseminated, including: distribution of copies to members of the Alliance Graphique Internationale at their Barcelona Congress (2011); exhibition and distribution by leading furniture manufacturer Vitsœ, at its London headquarters (2011), and 1,600 copies with It’s Nice That (issue 8, 2012).