Print heritage in spotlight at Games opening

Jo Francis
Friday, July 29, 2022

Printing and books featured prominently in the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, with the achievements of local luminary John Baskerville marked by a giant printing press.

The Baskerville printing press tribute
The Baskerville printing press tribute

The ceremony included a section on the ‘Bards of Brum’ featuring Samuel Johnson depicted as a bookworm, and William Shakespeare among the city’s “most famous exports”.

A huge model of a printing press paid tribute to the impact of 18th century printer and typographer Baskerville, renowned for his eponymous typeface and for inventing wove paper. 

The ceremony combined the spectacular with the surreal, and included a segment that referenced the disastrous fire in 1879 when Birmingham’s Central Library burned down, with most of its huge collection of Shakespeare’s works destroyed as a result. 

The parade of athletes featured country name signs in the style of canal boat lettering, an homage to Birmingham’s connection to waterways and its intricate network of canals. 

The ceremony also featured a stunning 10-metre high animatronic bull. 

'Bookworm' Samuel Johnson 

A number of industry firms are also involved with the Games, with competition beginning today (29 July) and continuing to 8 August.

Canon, which has its Customer Experience Centre in Birmingham, is the official imaging supporter for the event. 

It has installed interactive photo booths at selected games venues, fan sites and in the athletes’ villages. 

Canon is also the sponsor of the Games’ official image gallery, which will feature official images from the Games and videos alongside athlete content, as well as social media images from fans. 

Peter Morris, brand and sponsorship senior manager at Canon Europe commented: “We’re very proud that our imaging technology will be helping fans to immerse themselves in the sporting action at this summer’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.  

“Supporting world-class sport events is very much part of our heritage and we look forward to using these exciting activations to help ensure a world-class experience for those attending this historic sporting event.”

Event branding and signage has been handled by CSM Live, part of the Chime-owned CSM Sport & Entertainment marketing agency. The firm has pledged to deliver a “sustainable, innovative and carbon-friendly Commonwealth Games”.  

The Birmingham 2022 shop includes an array of branded merchandise including printed t-shirts, mugs, keyrings and more, including an ‘I heart Brum’ range. 

Worcester-based company Cube International was appointed earlier this year as the master licensee and is responsible for designing, sourcing, delivering and retailing official licensed products at all official Birmingham 2022 retail stores and e-shop. 

PPL Group in Liverpool has produced the event programme.

Royal Mail is the official postal and parcel delivery partner.

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