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Shapes, a basic element in design, are all around us. They can be geometric, organic, or abstract. Some shapes have meanings. For instance, a circle can represent eternity because it has no beginning or end. Squares and rectangles suggest stability. There are many types of triangles. Some represent movement and others, like the pyramid, can suggest stability. 


The Olympic logo is a graphic recognized around the world. What if the logo used a shape other than circles? What if it used several shapes? Look at the shapes below. What do you think of when you look at each? Try making your own unique logo combining multiples of one shape or several different shapes.

Olympic Logo

The Olympic logo is one of the most recognizable graphics in the world. The interlocking rings of the Olympic flag was created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the co-founder of the modern Olympic games. Of the logo design, he said, “The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design is symbolic; it represents the five continents of the world, united by Olylmpism, while the six colours are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.”

Each Olympics, the hosting country creates a graphic system that incorporates the logo but is also specific to them. Do you think the current Olympic graphics distinctly reflect Japan?

Visual Meaning

  • Circle or ring = represent unified, ongoing, and continuous

  • Five rings = represent the five participating contents of Africa, Asia, America, Europe, and Oceania.

  • Color: blue, green, yellow, black, and red were selected because at least one of those colors appeared on all the national flags of the world.  

  • Overlapping = coming together, united; the interaction of countries

An enduring and icon logo created from only circles! It seems so basic, right? Try you hand at designing your own logo using simple shapes. What meaning can you bring to their interaction?

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