Los Angeles 1984: Sports Pictograms

Designer: Keith Bright & Associates


Keith Bright and Associates gave a detailed presentation to the review committee on the development of their new pictograms. According to the official report, those responsible defined six criteria based on the critical appraisal of the pictograms of the five previous Olympic Games, which were regarded as central for a successful pictogram:

  • Clear communication; pic- tograms, by themselves, should be recognisable by people of other nations.
  • Consistency; the pictograms should be identifiable as a set, through uniform treatment ofscale, style and subject.
  • Legibility and practicality; they should be highly visible, easy to reproduce in any scale and in positive or negative form.
  • Flexibility; the pictograms should not be dependent upon a border and should work equally well in a positive or negative form.
  • Design distinction; the pictograms should avoid stylistic fads or a commercial appearance and should imply to a worldwide audience that Los Angeles has a sophisticated, creative culture.
  • Compatibility; they should be attractive when used with their Los Angeles Olympic design elements and typestyles.

With initial sketches, Keith Bright and Associates had, as a first step, investigated which type of depiction was most suitable for their pictograms: partial figures, realistic depictions of figures or figures combined with speed lines. Bright came to the conclusion that both partial figures and realistic figures were difficult to understand; lines of movement, on the other hand, seemed too hectic and would severely limit readability. In his opinion, a simple figure consisting of ten parts worked well: a circle for the head, an oval for the torso and eight simple parts for the arms and legs. If such a figure was placed on a grid, it could be recreated at any desired position. This made it possible to present all Olympic events effectively and simply. These new pictograms meet the defined criteria. They are easy to recognise from a distance and, thanks to the above considerations, convey their message clearly and comprehensibly. Furthermore, the system proved to be practical and flexible, even reproductions in positive or negative forms with or without margins were possible without any problems. The design is unmistakable: stylised human figures were created with clear, geometric forms that were simple and without fashionable frippery.


ARCHERY

ATHLETICS

BASEBALL

BASKETBALL

BOXING


CANOEING

CYCLING

EQUESTRIAN

FENCING

FOOTBALL


GYMNASTICS

HANDBALL

HOCKEY

JUDO

MODERN PENTHATLON


ROWING

SHOOTING

SWIMMING

TENNIS

VOLLEYBALL


WEIGHTLIFTING

WRESTLING

YACHTING