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Rio 2016 launches Games sport pictograms

8 November 2013

RIO 2016: On the eve of 1,000 days until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games the sport pictograms have been unveiled. This continues the tradition of each edition of the Games defining the sports on its programme through graphic icons. Rio 2016 will however be the first time all Olympic and Paralympic sports will be individually represented. 

“For the first time, all Olympic and Paralympic sports are individually represented. This is one of our unique contributions to the history of the Games,” said Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the President of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee. 

During the creative process for the Paralympic pictograms, Rio 2016’s team of designers sought to portray the integration of the athletes’ different impairments with sport in a balanced, natural way, depicting prostheses, blindfolds and other elements. 

The word ‘pictogram’ comes from Greek and Latin. Originally, it means ‘painted word’. This original meaning was the source of inspiration for the first strokes of the Rio 2016 pictograms, which were based on the official Rio 2016 typography. 

After researching each sport, the first strokes were made by hand. These strokes 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 pebble shapes, which are a characteristic of Rio 2016’s visual language, support the designs and alter their shape according to the athletes’ different movements. 

Work was completed in 16 months, five of which were devoted to the validation of the pictograms by the 42 International Federations. In total, there are 64 pictograms, 41 Olympic and 23 Paralympic. 

The pictograms can be used both inside and outside the pebbles, in all colours. Rio 2016 Brand Director Beth Lula said they are important tools for engaging the public from an early stage.

“The pictograms, from now until 2016, 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,” she said.

Rio 2016