Printed heritage in the spotlight at the opening of the Games


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

The ceremony included a section on the “Bards of Brum” featuring Samuel Johnson portrayed 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 the 18e Baskerville-century printer and typographer, renowned for his eponymous typeface and for the invention of vellum paper.

The ceremony combined the spectacular with the surreal and included a segment referencing the disastrous fire of 1879 when Birmingham Central Library burned down, destroying most of its huge collection of Shakespearean works.

The parade of athletes featured country name panels in the style of riverboat letters, a tribute to Birmingham’s connection to waterways and its intricate network of canals.

The ceremony also featured a stunning 10-meter-tall animatronic bull.

“Bookworm” Samuel Johnson

A number of industry companies are also involved in the Games, with competition starting today (July 29) and running until August 8.

Canon, which has its Customer Experience Center in Birmingham, is the Official Imaging Supporter for the event.

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

Canon is also the sponsor of the Official Games Image Gallery, which will feature official Games images and video alongside athlete content, as well as social media images from fans.

Peter Morris, Senior Brand and Sponsorship Manager at Canon Europe, said: “We are very proud that our imaging technology will help fans immerse themselves in the sporting action at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this summer.

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

Branding and signage for the event was handled by CSM Live, part of Chime-owned marketing agency CSM Sport & Entertainment. The company is committed to delivering a “Sustainable, Innovative and Carbon Friendly Commonwealth Games”.

The Birmingham 2022 store features a range of branded merchandise including printed t-shirts, mugs, key rings and more, including an ‘I heart Brum’ range.

Cube International, based in Worcester, was appointed earlier this year as the main licensee and is responsible for the design, supply, delivery and retail sale of officially licensed products in all Official Birmingham 2022 retail stores and online stores.

Royal Mail is the official postal and parcel delivery partner.