By Gary Anderson

November 7 - Rio 2016 launches official pictograms for Olympic and Paralympic GamesRio 2016 today unveiled the official pictograms which for the first time ever will depict each of the 41 Olympic and 23 Paralympic sports that are part of the programme.

The 16-month project began with designers researching each sport before creating the first strokes by hand.

These were then reconstructed on a computer, fitting the contours of the letters.

The athlete bodies and sports equipment were built from the characters, or part of them, in a continuous stroke, with variations in thickness in order to give the impression of depth.

The icons are pebble shaped,  characteristic of Rio 2016's visual language according to organisers, and they are designed to alter their shape to symbolise the athletes' different movements.

The pictograms can be used both inside and outside the pebbles, in all colours.

"The pictograms, from now until the Games, will serve as a communication platform for the promotion of the sports, for partner activations and will be present in all the Games' visual identity, including their application in venue decoration, signposting, tickets and licensed products, among other things," said Rio 2016 brand director Beth Lula.

For the first time ever all Olympic and Paralympic sports are represented in the Games pictogramsFor the first time ever all Olympic and Paralympic sports are represented in the Games pictograms

























Pictograms were first used at London 1948 when their main purpose was to create a simplistic way of communicating and representing the various sports taking place to athletes, officials and spectators from all over the world with many different languages.


German designer Oli Aicher designed the pictograms for Munich 1972 and his clear and concise designs are generally considered to provide the basis for all of the pictograms used at Olympic and Paralympic Games since, as they depicted sport through movement and speed.

The typography used for the Rio 2016 icons was developed by Dalton Maag and is said to be inspired by the letters and numbers of the Rio 2016 logo and the essence of the Games - passion and transformation.

Oli Aicher's pictograms for the 1972 Munich Games are still considered a milestone in the development of pictogram designOli Aicher's pictograms for the 1972 Munich Games are still considered a milestone in the development of pictogram design

























Designers claim the font is based on the contours of Rio and represent elements such as the Copacabana promenade, which is depicted in the letters "m" and "n" and the Pedra da Gávea mountain  depicted in the letter "r", while the letters are drawn with a single, continuous stroke, in an agile and fluid movement that mimics the movement of athletes it is claimed.


Once the Rio 2016 design team had finished creating the pictograms, the final stage of the process involved securing the validation to go ahead with the designs from the 42 International Federations.

Designers claim that the Paralympic pictograms integrate athlete impairment with sport in a balanced wayDesigners claim the Paralympic pictograms integrate athlete impairment with sport in a balanced way


























For the 23 Paralympic pictograms, designers say that they sought to portray the integration of the athletes' different impairments with sport in a balanced, natural way, depicting prostheses, blindfolds and other elements.


"For the first time, all Olympic and Paralympic sports are individually represented," said Carlos Nuzman, President of Rio 2016.

"This is one of our unique contributions to the history of the Games."

Contact the writer of this story at gary.ander[email protected]


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