Glasgow Commonwealth Games Unveils Sport Pictograms


While London is gearing up for the 2012 Olympic Games, another important sporting competition in the UK is nearing as well. The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are just a few years away. We have written before about the logo design for these games. Supporting brand elements such as pictographs representing individual sports have recently been released as well.

These pictograms have been created to represent the “defining moment” of each sport, according to the event officials. They are interesting because they incorporate elements of the UK event logo. First, they are circular. This is the first time in Commonwealth Games history that inclusive circles have been used for sport pictographs; in fact, they have not been used in Olympic pictographs either. Because the Glasgow 2014 logo design is also circular, this ties into the overall brand.

Second, the pictographs incorporate the arced and layered lines seen in the concentric rings of the 2014 Commonwealth Games logo as well. You can see this motif in the arms of the runner as well as in the overall shape of the swimmer. This must have been difficult to accomplish stylistically, and it has been well done. The use of lines creates a feeling of movement in the logos, capturing both the movement associated with sports as well as the excitement of the last moments of an event. The style is compatible with the event logo as well because it is simple and geometric.

The design agency that created these pictographs worked not just with officials, but with athletes from each as well, to develop these images. These images will be seen throughout the games on signage, maps, and even on the medals. Therefore, it is important that they be exciting, interesting and a good match for the brand event. The pictographs have also been animated for use in television and internet marketing.

These interesting and exciting images come at a time when the Games are experiencing significant financial challenges. The Delhi Commonwealth Games ended up losing a great deal of money when the event cost far more than the budget allowed but had very low attendance. The media reported that the stands for some events were almost empty. It is already rumoured that the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are not coming in on budget, and that the original budget was not created with inflation in mind. The Games are predicted to come out millions of pounds above budget if attendance is good. However, a lack of interest from the BBC and other potential media sponsors does not speak well for the potential public support.

While the Commonwealth Games will probably never reach the fame and prominence enjoyed by their international cousin, the Olympics, having a strong brand is essential attracting visitors from the UK and elsewhere in the British Commonwealth. These logos and pictographs are an important part of this brand. With predicted expenses now set at more than £520 million, it is important that the event interest as many sponsors and attendees as possible.