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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 10:00, August 08, 2006
2008 pictograms get seal of approval
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The 2008 Olympic Games was given another Chinese cultural symbol yesterday. as the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) released the Games' pictograms.

Named "the Beauty of Seal Characters," the pictograms use seal characters, a kind of character in ancient China, as their basis.

"The pictograms of the 2008 Games integrate the visual charm of inscriptions on bones and bronze objects in ancient China with the simplicity of modern graphics," said Zhang Ming, vice-director of BOCOG Culture and Ceremonies Department.

"The design not only features the particular movement and dynamism of each sport, but they are also easy to recognize, remember and use."

As one of the basic image elements of the Olympics, the Olympic pictograms are widely applied in areas such as Olympic signposting, advertising and communications, image and appearance, TV broadcasting and souvenir design.

"From the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, the pictograms started to play an important role in identifying Olympic sports as well as in Olympic marketing," Zhang said.

The Beijing Olympic Pictograms comprise 35 sporting icons, namely those of rowing, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, canoe/Kayak flat-water, canoe/kayak slalom, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, wrestling, swimming, synchronized swimming, diving, water polo, modern pentathlon, softball, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing, volleyball and beach volleyball.

The design process of the 2008 pictograms started in March 2005, when BOCOG invited four professional design institutes and organizations to help the solicitation campaign. Out of the more than 30 candidates, two were selected for the final round.

"The design based on seal characters by China Central Academy of Fine Arts and the one based on string by Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University were short-listed after experts' appraisal," Zhang said.

"After receiving suggestions from more experts from home and abroad, as well as Olympic broadcasting organizations and athlete representatives, the joint design working group from the two institutes finally came up with 'the Beauty of Seal Characters'."

In December 2005, BOCOG submitted the Beijing Olympic Pictograms to the 28 International Sports Federations for approval, each of which endorsed the pictograms in April 2006.

And in June this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave the thumbs up.

As revealed by designers, inspiration came from ancient Chinese culture.

"Since the Chinese seal script is round and smooth, both rough and gentle, and beautiful and graceful, it demonstrates the quintessence of traditional Chinese aesthetics," said Hang Hai, assistant professor from China Central Academy of Fine Arts.

"We also used the effect of sharp contrast between black and white from the typical Chinese traditional artistic form of rubbings."

Rubbing is the impression the graphic, inscription or pattern of usually ancient bronzeware or stone tablets makes on a sheet of rice paper, which enables reproduction of the original pictorial and text content.

"When rubbing applies to sport pictograms, the powerful contrast between black and white renders a vivid beauty of the sports, while the movement shapes of the pictograms perfectly represent the passion and dynamic nature of the sports," Hang said.

Source: China Daily

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