The John Carlos Story

branding ˙ book cover design

The Man

John Carlos, a former track
and field athlete and professional
football player˙ He was the bronze
medal winner in the 200 meters
at the 1968 Summer Olympics
and his Black Power salute on
the podium with Tommie Smith
caused much political controversy˙
He went on to tie the world record
in the 100 yard dash and beat the
200 meters world record (although
the latter achievement was never
ratified)˙ After his track career,
he enjoyed brief stints in the NFL
and Canadian Football League but
retired due to injury˙ He became
involved with the United States
Olympic Committee and helped
to organize the 1984 Summer
Olympics˙ Following this he was
inducted into the USA Track
& Field Hall of Fame in 2003˙

“We were trying to wake up the country & the world!”


The Project

Earthling Creative was approached by John Carlos to redesign his latest book cover design˙ The book was due to be released in less than 2 weeks from the call˙ It was go time! And much like John Carlos in the 1968 Olympics, we had to get to the finish line as quickly as possible˙ The original design, in our *humble opinion, did not match the man, the moment or the legacy of the 1968 Olympics˙  Since this was “The John Carlos Story” we wanted to highlight him, but still show his connection to the 1968 Olympics˙ We located images from the winners podium with Tommie Smith, Peter Norman  and John Carlos and isolated John Carlos from the photo and made him center staged˙ The background was removed and replaced with a deep black˙ This was to represent the isolation of the moment and obviously, the Black Power reference˙ Later, the red & white racing stripes were added˙ Together, the 3 colors put a twist on the classic Red, White & Blue, with the blue being changed to Black˙ In chemistry, the color black is the color of change˙ For John Carlos, Black History & American History˙˙˙ things definitely changed˙ Check out the book to learn more˙

The Book

“More than 40 years after Tommie Smith and John Carlos ignited the sports world with their black-gloved fists raised on the victory stand at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics Carlos says ‘I still feel the fire˙’ Any doubts that time and age have somehow diminished the passion that fueled his track and field career are dispelled with the publication of The John Carlos Story˙”