Here’s a couple of stories on the evolution of those symbols used for the various sports at the Olympics. They began with the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, but attained a cleaner, more Saul Bass-like effect for Munich in 1972, as designed by a fellow named Otl Aicher. These proved to be more lasting and iconic:
Some of the design around the London games is pretty horrible — like the logo, ugh — but the examples of usage on SomeOne’s page are quite effective:
There an unembedable video on the SomeOne page that shows how the logos can be rendered in 3D as dynamic shapes. There’s also this useful quote:
If you create something to look good on the back of a bus, it’ll look good anywhere!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.