Olympic Medal Designer Dies




Dugald Stermer, the artist who designed the Olympic medals for the 1984 Los Angeles games, has died at the age of 74

Dugald Stermer is the artist best known for his celebrated redesign of the Olympic medals. His designs saw greater depth and definition added to the figure of Lady Liberty on the front of the medals, and also the restoration and modification of the original design for the back. Most importantly, Stermer modified the faces of the male athletes carrying the victor to reflect the ethnic diversity of Olympic competitors.

The artist’s daughter, Megan Stermer, tells of how she remembers her father calling her in London, where she was studying at the time, to break the news that he had been asked to redesign the medals: ‘He was very proud to have been asked to do that because it is something that is lasting and significant,’ she explained.

Stermer was also the art director of the left-leaning magazine Ramparts during the 1960s. The political and cultural magazine based in San Francisco-based was highly critical of the war in Vietnam, and ran articles by radical figures such as Noam Chomsky, and other left-wing commentators.

Stermer was responsible for the famous 1967 cover depicting the hands of the artist and three of the magazine’s editors burning their draft cards. He was also responsible for developing a new typographical style, that would go on to influence the look and feel of magazine’s like Rolling Stone.

Stermer was also a keen illustrator, working for publications like The New Yorker, and for major companies such as BMW and Jaguar. He would consequently hold the post of chairman of the illustration department at California College of the Arts from 1994 until his death.

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