Los Angeles 1984 – Emblem

Designer: Robert Miles Runyan


As a first step, the Organising Committee had asked 34 design companies from the United States for proposals for an emblem. In the end, however, it decided to hold an exclusive competition among Los Angeles-based designers and selected three design studios. From December 1979, the candidates had three and a half months to present their proposals. The LAOOC (the Organising Committee of the Games) set two conditions that the emblem had to meet: firstly, it had to be in accordance with the Olympic rings and secondly, the emblem had to function visually independently of other graphic elements. The Organising Committee finally selected the proposal of Robert Miles Runyan and Associates. In their design, Runyan and partners had focused on a dynamic, powerful design that would reflect both the national and international aspects of the Games. As colours of their emblem they chose the red-white-blue of the Star-Spangled Banner. Before a first proposal with three interlocking stars was on the table, Runyan and Associates had produced around 4,000 designs. They then refined the basic theme of the three stars in a further 400 or so sketches before the emblem took its final form as “Stars in Motion”. It thereby fulfilled the required dynamic and international qualities. In addition to the flag of the USA, about another four dozen state flags have stars. This is no coincidence, as the star is regarded as a universal symbol for the highest aspirations of mankind. The tripling of the star as “Stars in Motion” is meant to symbolise the spirit of the competition. The 13 horizontal lines of movement on the emblem are also based on the Star-Spangled Banner with its 13 stripes, but in particular convey an element of action and speed, i.e. the speed with which the athletes strive for victory. On 4 August 1980, LAOOC presented this emblem to the public, allowing sponsors to use it for their promotional purposes.