Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics’ Logo and Pictograms

The Olympic Games provide great opportunities for a country to build its national brand and showcase its history to the world. A few months ago, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee unveiled the logo and pictogram for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The designs were created to showcase innovation, vigor and Russia’s traditional roots.

The logo design features “”, which is actually the official website of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The purpose of the unusual approach of presenting the Olympic website is to emphasize the sense of digital, aiming at attracting a younger audience. Despite the rather serious style, the Organizing Committee wants to show a diverse and energetic Russia beyond the rigid impression.

The website concept is not the only highlight in the logo design. The characters of “2014” resemble a reflection of “sochi” in water, indicating the geographic location of the host venue, Sochi, a city situated on the Black Sea coast near Georgia and Russia border. Some critiques pointed out that the “2014”is not accurately situated under “sochi”, so that the reflection effect is ambiguous. Some argued that the “.ru” in hollow typeface is not harmonious with the other boldfaced letters. However, the innovation behind this creation should not be overlooked. Since the London 2012 Summer Olympics, digital presences have become an important part of the Olympics, and perceptibly, the 2014 Winter Olympics has taken another step forward a digital approach.

In addition, the pictograms for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games were also unveiled last month. The pictograms came in two styles. The first style uses a single-color application of visual simplicity which “helped to give a sense of purpose and dynamism to the Sochi 2014 pictograms”, said by Sochi Olympic Committee in the press release. Another version features the traditional Russian patchwork quilt, integrating a variety of vibrant colors and patterns. The artsy patterns and diverse colors add great energy to the pictogram.
Traditional elements are often adopted by host countries in pictogram design to distinguish themselves from previous ones. The pictogram design of Beijing 2008 was based on the idea of “seal script”, one of China’s classic calligraphy styles. By highlighting the unique cultural elements, the host countries are able to build a differentiating national brand through the Olympics.

The Olympic Games are never merely a sporting event. Similar to Olympic sponsorships, it is an opportunity to enhance brand awareness. And in this case, the “brand” is the host countries themselves.

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