Jonathan Oliffe Designers Notebook | The Royal Mint

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The Designer's Notebook - Jonathan Oliffe

This article was kindly supplied by the coin's designer, Jonathan Olliffe.

Jonathan Oliffe at workThe design process that I went through with the London to Rio Olympic Handover £2 coin felt like a natural progression after my first involvement with The Royal Mint. That began when I became one of the lucky winners in its London 2012 national design competition. My two winning 50p designs were for the Aquatics and Gymnastics coins.

I was able to look back at the experience and to apply the skills I had learnt to the design process for the Handover coin. It proved to be crucial throughout this project, giving me an understanding of the processes coins go through, from the early design stage through to the final production stages of each coin.

My background as a designer and silversmith has also been fundamental throughout the design process of each coin. This gave me an initial understanding of what can be achieved in metal, however the concept of designing on such a small scale naturally presented its challenges. It was important that I showed all the key elements that symbolised this historic event and with such a small surface area to work with, it was a challenge I wanted to take on.

About the coin

The London 2012 Handover to Rio £2 coin has many symbolic features that represent the Handover ceremony. The centre of the coin is occupied by two hands meeting and handing over an Olympic relay baton. This crucial moment in an athlete’s race has been captured and symbolises not only one of the Olympic sports but also two nations coming together and passing the baton for the next Games.

The hands are embraced by a continuous sweeping flag. The Union Flag is dominant as it sweeps down and twists to reveal the flag of Brazil. This flag is on a continuous journey, symbolising the Olympic Movement from London to Rio de Janeiro and future Olympic Games beyond. As it twists and turns it reveals five stripes, representing the five Olympic Rings. The sweeping motion of the flags suggests energy, excitement and an overall sense of celebration for what will be a fantastic Olympic Games in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

To have the opportunity to design the UK £2 coin that represents this occasion was very special. It was great to be part of the Olympic Games in this way, using my skills as a designer to capture a truly memorable and historic event.

Working drawing

The drawing that I have included is a working pencil drawing I produced just before the CAD stage of the coin design process.

Olympic Handover coin working drawing

Find out more about Jonathan

You can read more from Jonathan on The Royal Mint blog where he answers some questions we put to him. If you have your own questions, leave them in the comments and we'll let Jonathan know they're there!