For the VANOC Creative Services team, it was important to reflect the young, innovative spirit of Vancouver, indeed modern Canada, in all Games designs. The sports pictograms are a perfect and important vehicle to illustrate the fusion of sport and design in a surprising way. Not only the design team in Vancouver was aware of this fact, but also Irene Maria Jacobs, who drew her pictograms in the distant Netherlands after she and her studio I’M JAC design had been commissioned to do so by VANOC in 2008. As explained on the previous page, the sports pictograms of these Winter Games are not detached, but are a conglomerate of the detailed, lively sports overlays of the Look of the Games. When Jacobs began designing the overlays and pictograms in Amsterdam, the Vancouver design team had already developed the colour palette and many elements of the Look. The sports pictograms and sports overlays had to be created for a total of 24 sports/disciplines. Especially with the overlays, the task was to represent the drawn figures as lifelike as possible while practising their sport. The time pressure was enormously high, since only one month remained until the official acceptance of the pictograms by the IOC. Measured against the multitude of possible applications for sports pictograms and – in this case – also sports overlays in advertising, merchandising, for decoration purposes in the context of the Look, as wayfinding elements, etc., their value as the supporting pillar of the visual identity of the Olympic Games cannot be overestimated.
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