A lot of graphic design elements are needed to promote such an event, the most viewed probably being the logo, mascots and pictograms.
Graphic designers create “pictograms” (left) to represent different Olympic sports based on jingwen (right), the script found on 2,000-year-old bronze carvings.
The Beijing Olympics logo
The Beijing Olympics pictograms
The Beijing Olympics mascots
Like the Five Olympic Rings from which they draw their color and inspiration, Fuwa will serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace — and good wishes from China — to children all over the world.Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China’s most popular animals — the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow — and the Olympic Flame.
Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name — a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.
When you put their names together — Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni — they say “Welcome to Beijing,” offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.
Fuwa also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature — the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky — all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.
Spreading Traditional Chinese Good Wishes Wherever They Go
In the ancient culture of China, there is a grand tradition of spreading good wishes through signs and symbols. Each of Fuwa symbolizes a different blessing — and will honor this tradition by carrying their good wishes to the children of the world. Prosperity, happiness, passion, health and good luck will be spread to every continent as Fuwa carry their invitation to Beijing 2008 to every part of the globe.
At the heart of their mission — and through all of their work — Fuwa will seek to unite the world in peace and friendship through the Olympic spirit. Dedicated to helping Beijing 2008 spread its theme of One World, One Dream to every continent, Fuwa reflect the deep desire of the Chinese people to reach out to the world in friendship through the Games — and to invite every man, woman and child to take part in the great celebration of human solidarity that China will host in the light of the flame in 2008.
In China’s traditional culture and art, the fish and water designs are symbols of prosperity and harvest. And so Beibei carries the blessing of prosperity. A fish is also a symbol of surplus in Chinese culture, another measure of a good year and a good life.
The ornamental lines of the water-wave designs are taken from well-known Chinese paintings of the past. Among Fuwa, Beibei is known to be gentle and pure. Strong in water sports, she reflects the blue Olympic ring.
Jingjing makes children smile — and that’s why he brings the blessing of happiness wherever he goes. You can see his joy in the charming naivety of his dancing pose and the lovely wave of his black and white fur. As a national treasure and a protected species, pandas are adored by people everywhere. The lotus designs in Jingjing’s headdress, which are inspired by the porcelain paintings of the Song Dynasty (A.D.960-1234), symbolize the lush forest and the harmonious relationship between man and nature. Jingjing was chosen to represent our desire to protect nature’s gifts — and to preserve the beauty of nature for all generations. Jingjing is charmingly naïve and optimistic. He is an athlete noted for strength who represents the black Olympic ring.
In the intimate circle of Fuwa, Huanhuan is the big brother. He is a child of fire, symbolizing the Olympic Flame and the passion of sport — and passion is the blessing he bestows. Huanhuan stands in the center of Fuwa as the core embodiment of the Olympic spirit. And while he inspires all with the passion to run faster, jump higher and be stronger, he is also open and inviting. Wherever the light of Huanhuan shines, the inviting warmth of Beijing 2008 — and the wishful blessings of the Chinese people — can be felt. The fiery designs of his head ornament are drawn from the famed Dunhuang murals — with just a touch of China’s traditional lucky designs. Huanhuan is outgoing and enthusiastic. He excels at all the ball games and represents the red Olympic ring.
Like all antelopes, Yingying is fast and agile and can swiftly cover great stretches of land as he races across the earth. A symbol of the vastness of China’s landscape, the antelope carries the blessing of health, the strength of body that comes from harmony with nature. Yingying’s flying pose captures the essence of a species unique to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the first animals put under protection in China. The selection of the Tibetan Antelope reflects Beijing’s commitment to a Green Olympics. His head ornament incorporates several decorative styles from the Qinghai-Tibet and Sinkiang cultures and the ethnic design traditions of Western China. Strong in track and field events, Yingying is a quick-witted and agile boy who represents the yellow Olympic ring.
Every spring and summer, the children of Beijing have flown beautiful kites on the currents of wind that blow through the capital. Among the kite designs, the golden-winged swallow is traditionally one of the most popular. Nini’s figure is drawn from this grand tradition of flying designs. Her golden wings symbolize the infinite sky and spread good-luck as a blessing wherever she flies. Swallow is also pronounced “yan” in Chinese, and Yanjing is what Beijing was called as an ancient capital city. Among Fuwa, Nini is as innocent and joyful as a swallow. She is strong in gymnastics and represents the green Olympic ring.
Apart from all the marketing items, some other objects have to be designed for the Olympic Games, such as the olympic torch or the medals.
Recent Olympic Torches, the New York Times has a complete collection of Olympic Torches.
The Beijing Olympic Torch boasts strong Chinese characteristics, and showcases Chinese design and technical capabilities. It embodies the concepts of a Green Olympics, a High-tech Olympics and the People’s Olympics.
The Key Facts about the Torch
The torch is 72 centimetres high, weighs 985 grams and is made of aluminium. The torch is of a curved surface form, with etching and anodizing being used during its production. A torch can usually keep burning for approximately 15 minutes in conditions where the flame is 25 to 30 centimetres high in a windless environment. The torch has been produced to withstand winds of up to 65 kilometres per hour and to stay alight in rain up to 50mm an hour. The flame can be identified and photographed in sunshine and areas of extreme brightness. The fuel is propane which is in accordance with environmental guidelines. The material of its form is recyclable.
The Artistic and Technical Features of the Torch
The torch of the Beijing Olympic Games has a very strong Chinese flavour. It demonstrates the artistic and technical level of China. It also conveys the message of a Green Olympics, a High-tech Olympics and the People’s Olympics. The shape of the paper scroll and the lucky clouds graphic, expresses the idea of harmony. Its stable burning technique and adaptability to the environment have reached a new technical level. The torch of the Beijing Olympic Games is designed, researched and produced in China. BOCOG owns all intellectual property rights.
The Fuel for the Torch
Under the concept of a Green Olympics, environmental protection was a key element listed in the invitation documents to the design companies, by BOCOG. The fuel of the torch is propane, which is a common fuel which also comes with a low price. It is composed of carbon and hydrogen. No material, except carbon dioxide and water remain after the burning, eliminating any risk of pollution.
The Burning System
Its stable burning technique and adaptability to the environment have reached a new technical level. It can stay alight in severe weather conditions such as strong wind, rain, snow, hail, etc. The flame can also be identified in sunshine and areas of extreme brightness so as to satisfy the requirements of capturing photographic images and video footage.
The Design Timelines
2005 August BOCOG developed the design concepts and requirements of the torch.
2005 December BOCOG recruited potential torch designs from the design society. In total, BOCOG received 388 pieces of works.
2006 June-August BOCOG selected the structural designer and the burning system designer.
2007 January Beijing Olympic Torch was approved by IOC
Design of the Medal for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Obverse face of the medal
Reverse side of the medal
The medal for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is designed with inspiration coming from “bi”, China’s ancient jade piece inscribed with a dragon pattern. The medals, made of gold and jade, symbolize nobility and virtue and are the embodiment of traditional Chinese values of ethics and honor, sending forth strong Chinese flavor.
The medals are 70mm in diameter and 6mm in thickness. On the front side, the medal adopts standard design prescribed by the International Olympic Committee. While on the back, the medal is inlaid with jade with the Beijing Games emblem engraved in the metal centerpiece. The design inspiration of the medal hook derives from jade “huang”, a ceremonial jade piece with decoration of double dragon pattern and “Pu”, the reed mat pattern.
Noble and elegant, the Beijing Olympic Games medal is a blending of traditional Chinese culture and the Olympic spirit. It gives the winners of the Games great honor and acclamation as recognition of their achievement.
Note: bi, a flat jade disc with a circular hole in the center
Huang, a semi circular jade ornament
Obverse side of the medal and the ribbon
Reverse side of the medal and the ribbon