Olympic Games sport pictograms were first introduced at the Tokyo 1964 Games, which arose from a need to communicate visually to an increasingly international group of athletes and spectators. Since then, pictograms have been created for every edition of the Games. While paying great respect to the predecessors and inheriting the Tokyo 1964 pictograms by innovating them, the Tokyo 2020 pictograms not only adhere to the objective of communicating information, but also are designed to display athletes’ vibrant movement in the most attractive way.
There are 33 sports that will feature in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 programme, and some sports use more than one pictogram. There are two sets of 50 designs – “Free Type” and “Frame Type”. Colour variations will be developed mainly using the blue of the Tokyo 2020 Emblems and five other traditional Japanese colours—kurenai, ai, sakura, fuji and matsuba— as sub-colours to create points of difference. The Free Type unframed pictograms will be used on posters, tickets and licensed products, and the Frame Type pictograms will be used for more functional purposes on maps, signage at competition venues, guidebooks, and on websites.
A team led by renowned Japanese designer Masaaki Hiromura designed the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 sport pictograms.
(masaaki hiromura was born in the aichi prefecture, japan in 1954. after graduating from musashino art university in 1977 he began working for tanaka ikko design office in tokyo. with ten years of work experience under his belt he decided to open his own studio. Located in minato-ku hiromura, tokyo hiromura design office is made up of nine designers and one manager. since 1988 hiromura and his team have built up an award winning portfolio of graphic design projects that cover identity, advertising, signage systems, packaging and exhibitions. clients include issey miyake, nissan and numerous museums and businesses in japan and overseas. masaaki hiromura is the art direction advisor for tokushu paper co . ltd and is also an associate professor of tokyo polytechnic university.)
Hiromura said, “It is a real honour to have participated in the design of the Tokyo 2020 sport pictograms. I have tried to express the dynamic beauty of the athletes through these pictograms, while respecting the legacy bequeathed by the pioneers of the Japanese design industry in their designs for the Tokyo 1964 Games. The 2020 designs took us almost two years to complete and they embody the thoughtful input of the many people involved. I hope that these pictograms will inspire everyone and help generate excitement for the different sports at Tokyo 2020, and that they will colourfully decorate the Tokyo 2020 Games.”