Olympic Graphics and Design Education: Lessons on Form, Social Transformation, and Overcoming the Unexpected


Olympic graphics have served as a pedagogical instrument for design educators. Every four years, when the official upcoming design system goes public, new learning opportunities come along. Due to the scale of these events and its media coverage, design education should pay special attention and be critical of a global design strategy that should reflect design principles, innovation, and mostly a message that aligns with social justice and common good. This study considers how Olympic graphics are included in three design courses as subject of study and approached from three different perspectives to achieve unique goals. A first interest relies on the study of form and innovative ways to make it accessible for a diverse audience. An example of this is how permanent and ephemeral identities collide to represent cultural context. A second approach is the historic perspective as evidence of social transformation, where inclusion and representation play a key role exposing the evolution on this matter. Finally, a third and more complex perspective, is the study of Olympic graphics as testimonial of design as a professional practice that demands ethical and resilient designer to successfully face and overcome unexpected events, constant change, public opinion, ethical dilemmas and by this, impact society in a positive way.


Teresa Trevino
Professor, Graphic Design, University of the Incarnate Word, Texas, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design Education


Olympic Graphics, Design Systems, Social Transformation, History

Digital Media


Olympic Graphics and Design Education (pdf)