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7 November 2013

Rio 2016 launches Olympic & Paralympic pictograms

Rio 2016 made its contribution to a rich Olympic and Paralympic tradition today, when it launched its sport pictograms. Since Tokyo 1964, each edition of the Games has depicted the sports on its programme through iconic graphic symbols that reflect the culture of the host nation. 


“For the first time, all Olympic and Paralympic  sports are all represented. This is one of our unique contributions to the history of the Games. I congratulate the creative team for their dedication and hard work together with diverse groups who contributed to this launch,” said Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman. 


The pictograms allow people from all parts of the world to immediately identify sports and are used to guide and inform the public, for example in venue signposting and on tickets.


Rio 2016’s Brand Director, Beth Lula, explained that the pictograms are important tools in a variety of contexts. “From now until 2016, the pictograms 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.”



The word ‘pictogram’ comes from Greek and Latin, meaning ‘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 outlines 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.


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.


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 Olympicand 23 Paralympic . The pictograms can be used both inside and outside the pebbles, in all colours. The pictograms can be used both inside and outside the pebbles, in all colours.


Read more:

26/1119:23 Check out the emblem design process, an immersion in the Paralympic world