Munich 1972 – Sports Pictograms

Designer: Gerhard Joksch & Otl Aicher


For Otl Aicher, the strongly formalised sports pictograms of Tokyo 1964, designed by Katzumi Masaru, were the starting point for the Munich pictograms. Aicher’s sports symbols were to be designed from a characteristic pose for each type of sport. The first task was to find out the culmination moment of each individual sport in order to reduce it as simply as possible to a single symbol. In contrast to Tokyo, the Munich pictograms were brought to a formally consistent style by the consistent application of constant elements in a standardised grid. For the 21 sports, signs were developed on the basis of a system of a few elements. This system is based on a square whose geometry defines the four directions of the movement phases. An actual “body alphabet” of head, trunk, arms and legs was created. The pictograms also had to fit together harmoniously, which was made possible by the uniform language of the elements. Sports equipment was represented by thinner lines. Originally, all pictograms were to be designed in the horizontal axis, from right to left or vice versa. During the creation process, the third direction suggested by Joksch was extended from front to back. This resulted in angled legs such as those drawn for weightlifting, football and handball. The sports pictograms designed by Gerhard Joksch are certainly among the most famous pictograms and are still used worldwide today.


ATHLETICS

ROWING

BASKETBALL

BOXING

CANOEING


CYCLING

FENCING

FOOTBALL

GYMNASTICS

WEIGHTLIFTING


HANDBALL

HOCKEY

JUDO

WRESTLING

SWIMMING


MODERN PENTATHLON

EQUESTRIAN

SHOOTING

ARCHERY

VOLLEYBALL


SAILING