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  • Writer's pictureHsin Yu Chen

A First in Olympic History! The 2020 Tokyo Olympics introduces "animated pictograms"


廣村正彰 Masaaki Hiromura(圖左),井口皓太 Kota Iguchi(圖右)
廣村正彰 Masaaki Hiromura(圖左),井口皓太 Kota Iguchi(圖右)

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic and Olympic Organizing Committees unveiled the first set of animated pictograms to be used during the events. These 73 pictograms were designed by Japanese designer Masaaki Hiromura and animated by Japanese motion designer Kota Iguchi, showcasing each sport with complete motion patterns. The pictograms appear in fragmented form, displaying a portion of the motion sequence, pausing briefly, and then continuing to depict the sports before vanishing in a fragmented manner, presenting the before-and-after visuals of the static pictograms in just two seconds.



This time's animated pictograms mark another "first" contributed by the city of Tokyo to the Olympics, as the static Olympic pictograms were first introduced during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. As for the Paralympics, the pictograms made their debut during the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.


The Paralympic organizers stated in a statement that there are a total of 23 pictograms, with 22 representing Paralympic events and 33 out of the 50 Olympic pictograms representing Olympic events. Each pictogram aims to "cleverly convey the characteristics and spirit of each sport while artistically highlighting the athletes' vitality." A short film released by the organizing committee delves deeper into some of the animation highlights, such as an archer drawing a bow, a basketball player dunking, and a gymnast performing a split. Each pictogram is composed of simple graphic elements: the limbs and circular head representing the athletes and their equipment, combined with special motion effects like a ball that swiftly infuses the dynamic energy into the overall animation process of the pictogram.



Masaaki Hiromura: Olympic pictograms
Masaaki Hiromura: Olympic pictograms

Masaaki Hiromura: Paralympic pictograms
Masaaki Hiromura: Paralympic pictograms

Initially, the pictograms were designed for visual communication with an increasing number of international athletes and audiences. Adding animation to them serves the purpose of extending this mission into the digital media domain, as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is considered the "most innovative Olympics ever." These "animated pictograms" will be featured in major competition venues and event broadcasts, as well as on the official websites and social media platforms of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, showcasing Japan's innovative technology extensively.












Masaaki Hiromura: Olympic athletics kinetic pictogram breakdown
Masaaki Hiromura: Olympic athletics kinetic pictogram breakdown

© The image copyrights belong to the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee, and the video compilation is sourced from the internet.

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