The making of the medal

The story behind The finisher's medals and T-shirts for The Big Half 2022

We spoke with Zak from Vertex33, the creative engine behind the finisher's medals and T-shirts for The Big Half 2022, to hear about the inspiration behind this year's designs. 

  • The Big Half 2022 T-shirt
  • New Balance Big Relay 2022 T-shirt
  • The Big Half 2022 medal
  • New Balance Big Relay 2022 medal
  • The Big Half 2022 T-shirt

The Big Half final T-shirt design

Watch the designs come to life

Vertex33 design for The Big Half 2022

The story

What is Vertex33?

Vertex33 is essentially a community that develops ideas to better the world through collective courage and social good. This could be through running, design, art or wellbeing. It is an entirely fluid concept based around movement and space. Vertex33 was founded by Zak Timol, Mo Abdin and Keko.

Tell us about the partnership with London Marathon Events (LME)

We were super excited when LME approached us to design this year’s finisher’s T-shirts and medals for The Big Half and the New Balance Big Relay. It brought together our passions and daily activities: running, design and fashion. Having previously worked on designs for The Big Half – led by Hamid Vaghefian, Head of Community Engagement at LME  it was great to continue the partnership and encouraging to see LME actively engage with the wider running community.

How did you kick off the creative process?

We tried to think viscerally about our own experiences of running The Big Half and encapsulate the moments surrounding the event. You’ll see that many elements in our design reflect and translate the journey of running a half marathon in the city of London.

Working within LME’s brand framework, we initially pitched around 49 different concepts while working across three different time zones in London, LA and Dubai. In hindsight, we perhaps created too many concepts, but thorough exploration was important to us!

Inspired by Event Day

We tried to incorporate a sense of elation, movement and community into the design; the highs and lows of training to the excitement and anticipation on Event Day; the moments when you are surrounded by fellow runners from all walks of life; the flurry of emotion and energy as you spur each other on to the Finish Line.

What were your design inspirations?

When exploring colour theory, we wanted to broadcast warmth and vibrancy through the print and patterns. We cycled through many options and tested different combinations to ensure we were reflecting the energy, delight and sense of celebration felt on Event Day. Designers such as Zandra Rhodes and Wes Anderson informed the atmosphere we were trying to communicate.

Moved by motion

Keen to give the design a fluid energy, we examined the movements involved in running a mass participation half marathon, from individual motion to the great wave of runners moving together. We then looked at artists such as James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson to translate that experience – the runners’ high – into a visual language.

We embodied all these elements within a larger mural concept, drawing on the idea of the community running as one. Inspired by Paula Scher, Saul Bass and Dieter Rams, we delivered a clean, minimal, carefully crafted design with details of great visual interest.

We also wanted to add a sense of joy and playfulness to the design. Taking inspiration from artists such as Murakami, Rei Kawakubo and Nigo – who are known for creating motifs and mascots – we could draw on our happiest running moments and add our own touch of whimsy to the world.

How did you choose the final design?

I think we knew our frontrunners by instinct, and it felt good when LME came back to us shortlisting the concepts we felt most strongly about. We knew we were on the same page and that our designs had been interpreted clearly!

To find out more, visit the Vertex33 website and follow @teamvertex33 on social media.

Vertex33 at The Big Half