Rio 2016 recently launched its Olympic pictograms, and for the first time in the Games’ history the icons will be utilized by both the Olympic and Paralympic games. The icons reflect the culture and history of the host country, and feature a pebble design and fluid character motions taking cues from the essence of the sports showcase – passion and transformation.

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Based on the contours of Rio, the font represents elements such as the calçadão de Copacabana (Copacabana promenade), which is depicted in the letters ‘m’ and ‘n’, and the Pedra da Gávea (a mountain in Rio de Janeiro), which is depicted in the letter ‘r’. The letters are drawn with a single, continuous stroke, an agile and fluid movement that suggests the movement of athletes.

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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.

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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.

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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 Olympics and 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.

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