Monday, November 30, 2015

OUGD405 Study Task 02 - Symbols

'A pictogram is a stylised and schematic graphic representation which expresses a message, an activity, an action or a service. Pictograms do not belong to a particular language or form of writing, and therefore function as a universal language.'

Today our task is to create a pictogram of an olympic sport using Otl Aicher's 45 degree pictogram grid.

Using only shape and colour, I also need to consider:
  • Audience
  • Scale
  • Contrast
  • Impact
  • Clarity
To begin my research I looked at the pictograms of the olympic summer games from Tokyo 1964 to Rio 2016.

Mexico City 1968
Designers: Urban Design Department of the Organising Committee of the Games of

the XIX Olympiad, including Lance Wyman.

Within this design it only uses part of the athlete's body or the equipment used which makes it really distinct and visually interesting. This helps to make the sport non gender specific and really highlights the sport it is portraying. The reference to Mexican culture and history helps contextualise and make it more appropriate for where it is being used while still being a universal design. Considering this was for the 1968 games it uses a very modern approach of simplistic shapes and bright colours that evoke joy and excitement. This is also the only olympic pictogram design which does not include whole figures, yet the sports are still reasonably clear.

Looking at the rest of the designs it ranges from more detailed symbols of figures to a more abstract design working with line and stroke.

Tokyo 1964

Munich 1972

Montreal 1976

Moscow 1980

Los Angeles 1984

Seoul 1988

Barcelona 1992

Atlanta 1996

Sydney 2000

Athens 2004

Beijing 2008

London 2012

Rio 2016

For this task I have chosen to portray the sport sailing which has been part of the Olymipics since 1988. I personally really enjoy sailing and have taken part in it a few times so because it is a sport I enjoy I thought it appropriate to design a pictogram for it.

Otl Aicher created pictograms for the 1972 olympic games in Munich. He revolutionised visual communication by creating the 45 degree grid. This helps to keep consistency and clarity, they facilitate international understanding.

I began by looking at some sailing pictures online and doing some quick rough sketches from these:

I then moved on to applying the grid and working with different designs to see which produced the most clear and understandable symbol:

I noticed that having a figure helped to imply action which gave greater clarity to what is happening in the image. I found using the grid to be quite annoying as I wanted to move beyond its restrictions, however I do see the benefit of when designing a set they all adhere to the same sort of design.

This is the design that I have come up with for sailing using Otl Aicher's grid:

Within this design it show's clarity, as it very obvious what it is, this is very important when trying to engage with an international audience. Due to its simplistic lines this pictogram would work well at different scales and would still be recognisable. The block shape of the figure contrasting with the outline of the boat creates this sense of power in the figure, the one performing the sport.

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