Capturing the Olympic Spirit

The Olympics are an opportunity for the whole world to come together and be united. Though we have different cultures and languages, one common thing we share is a love for sports. The 2020 Summer Olympic games are being held in Tokyo Japan. Every Olympics has their own style of icons to depict the numerous sporting events and communicate which event is which without using a language. Ironically these icons are also called pictograms which mean ‘painted word’. Each pictogram sets are unique every Olympics as well as the individual games logo. The logo had already been created, but the icons of the events have not. I took it upon myself to pitch my idea to the Olympic committee of what I feel the host nation’s icon set should look like. My objective was to create icons that are consistent in design yet each icon communicates something individually. I have used 4 repetitive elements that each of my icons in my icon set contain. I have posted them all together in one set within this blog. The first picture also contains the Olympic rings and the Tokyo 2020 games logo, which is not designed by me, but I wanted to include it because I am pitching this to the Olympic committee. I have also included individual large and small size png’s of each icon. Below I have attached 60×60 pixel icons and 400×400 pixel icons. Each picture is clickable.

Target Audience

My audience for this icon set are sports fans around the world watching the Olympics on TV or in person. The Olympics host hundreds of countries and there are numerous languages spoken. To be able to distinguish which event is which, these pictograms tell each fan which event they are going to watch no matter what language they speak. These icons are generally shown on a flag at the event arena/field or on TV as the station transitions between the numerous events. These icons accomplish their purpose of communicating the events without using letters or words. The icons in of themselves are a universal language for the Olympics.




The color scheme I chose was based off of the host nation’s flag. I used the red and white colors used in the Japanese flag. You’ll notice that the colors match the Japanese flag exactly. I actually made sure that the red was correct by getting the exact RGB color numbers from the UN website, in which they include the correct colors for each nations flag worldwide. The Olympics are a chance for the host nation to showcase their culture and people. I could have used other colors, such as the ones for the Olympic rings, but I felt using any other colors besides the red and white from the flag would represent the host nation better than any other color scheme out there.


Even though each individual icon is of different sporting events, they also show four repetitive elements in every one.  In the draw-over on the left I’ve highlighted all four elements that are repeated in all six icons. I used the basketball one as an example.

  1. My vision for these icons was to represent Japan and the Olympic spirit in as many ways as I could. I did that with the color scheme, but I wanted almost every element I used to be associated with Japan. In the first element I used the Kanji Japanese character. This is used in every stick figure in each icon. The Kanji character stands for inner strength. This represents the Olympic athletes determination and drive. Each athlete needs inner strength to compete. The symbol is really dedicated to the Olympic spirit of inner strength that is displayed throughout the games. I really lucked out because this character already looked like a stick figure. You’ll also notice the arms and head are different strokes common in Kanji characters.
  2. I used the same exact head shape for each character. As stated above, this dot is used in Kanji character style fonts. The head shape makes it look like its the same person doing each event, and though a small detail, it brings all the icons together.
  3. Every icon set has the red Japanese sun from the nations flag as the background behind the stick figure. It is a representation of Japan and it almost looks like the stick figures are playing in front of a Japanese sun
  4. The fourth element is subtle, but you’ll notice that every white stroke has a brush look to it. They are not solid strokes. It makes it look like brush strokes that are used when people are writing calligraphy that is often used with a brush and paint.


The spirit of the games and nation

Overall the message of these icons is to represent the spirit of the Olympic games and of the host nation. These ‘painted words’ are able to be understood by the whole world. They are also pleasing to the eye because they contain competitive elements in each which unite them. These pictograms more than just show what event is being performed, but it also is a tribute to Japan and an opportunity to showcase their country.





A Legendary Message

“You are asked by your employer ( or ) to take an article and create a three-page original layout. You have been asked to design three pages, one of which is a spread. You will be determining the headings, taking the photos, and designing the layout.

This was the objective given to me with this project.  This project required me to demonstrate some of my new knowledge about using the Adobe program Indesign. The spread had to be created in InDesign and consist of 3 pages, 2 of them in a spread. The article I used had to be fromthe school online paper “The Scroll” at least 600 words. It had to include2 columns or more per page. The project required demonstrating a knowledge of InDesign by including 2 photographs which I took myself,  a pull quote, and one text wrap. The magazine also had to be targeted to a specific audience.


I chose to use a color scheme that represents the Rick’s sports legacy. The way I did that was I used the exact same colors as the number 23 jersey in the picture. In the program Indesign I matched the the exact same color for the heading text color and quote box background by using the color theme tool. I wanted to use the exact same color of the Ricks basketball team and use the same contrasting royal blue with the white. I was able to do that by contrasting the white text with the blue quote box and used the same blue color to begin each new heading within the magazine. I decided to leave the background white since it contrasted well with the royal blue.


The font I chose for the title, author name, and letter to begin each paragraph is the Impact font style. It is a san serif font that has a tall, thin, and modern looking. It is a similar font used in Sports Illustrated magazine titles. I wanted my target audience to quickly associate this articles title with sports which I feel this font does. The font used in the text body is Mongolian Baiti which falls under the Oldstyle category of fonts. The text is easily read against the white background and provides a sophisticated look. I purposely used different typography categories between the title and the text body to provide contrast between fonts in the article.


There are many examples of alignment within this article. I did this on purpose to make the article easier on the eyes. I thought about making my tile on the cover page left aligned, but because of the picture I decided to make it right aligned so that the words went right up against the basketball hoop pole. I positioned the text box right along the black roof panels and just above the top of the backboard of the hoop. This title aligns well with the background image. I also made sure that the text body on the next two pages were aligned well with the pictures and pull quote. I even made sure that the text boxes and image box were the exact same width, so there was no overlap between the text body, pull quote, and image..


My audience for this project are BYU Idaho students ages 18-30 who love sports and play them on campus. It is focused on those who may not know about our school’s rich history with competitive sports since we no longer have a collegiate sports program here. This could also apply to those within the community who remember the collegiate sports program history, however the main focus is on these students.


Two of the three photos in the spread were taken by me, Jacob Howell with my Iphone 5. I edited the basketball court photo on photoshop. I really wanted to have the focus be on the basketball hoop, so I darkened the edges a little bit and blurred the court and bleachers behind. I followed the depth of field principle to bring the hoop to the front of the viewer. I feel by the way I edited it, it also gave it an older look, historic look The jersey is a BYU Idaho practice jersey and as stated above, is the exact same colors as the Rick’s basketball team mentioned in the article. The basketball image is one I found on google images and is found on

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Basketball court and jersey photos taken by Jacob Howell. Basketball image found at


This project was challenging because I can be a perfectionist at time, but I did enjoy it. I tried to make the design of the magazine correlate with what the text was trying to say. I felt like the design came naturally when you try to tailor it to an audience and try to make it relate to what the writer is talking about.

How Photography Drives the Viewer

By, Jacob Howell

Some people think that in order to get a good photo it is all by luck. However, there are many elements that help make the photo pleasing to the viewer. A few of these elements will be discussed in this post on how they make for a good photo. It will help explain these elements use in photography and why they are good rules to follow and not just being a lucky photographer snapping random shots.

Rule of Thirds

Photo by Phil Inglis


The rule of thirds aligns the subject with the guide lines and their intersection points. In this first photo of professional golfer Phil Mickelson, we see that his face and his glove are right along the intersecting line. The golf ball is also right along the other intersecting line. We often read from left to right and the most important subject, which is the golfer is on the left vertical line, then the ball follow along the right vertical line. It is also worthy to note that the text behind his is also aligned on the vertical line. This was most likely intentionally done by the photography to create a pleasing shot.

Photo taken by Jacob Howell (Personally Taken Photo)

This photo taken by myself also illustrates the rule of thirds. The golfer is right along the left vertical line. The line actually goes right down his lead leg. The golf ball follows along the the bottom horizontal line showing a prime example of the rule of thirds.

Leading Lines

By Brian Oar

A leading line paves the path for our eye to follow through a photo.  They start at the bottom of the frame and guide the eye upwards and inwards. The can also show depth. In this photograph, the photographer uses natural leading lines to guide the viewer down the fairway of the golf course. The green creates a natural leading line at the top left. The rocky crevices also create a natural leading line along with the green fairway leading the viewers eyes down the photo.

By Jacob Howell (Personally Taken Photo)

This other photograph taken by me is another prime example of leading lines. The pole or golf flag was put there purposely to create a leading line to the golfer preparing to putt. However, the shadows from a power line pole also create a natural leading line as well leading the viewer to the subject.

Depth of Field

By Dan Root

Depth of field helps provide focus on the main subject and makes it appear closer to the eye, thus providing depth. Depth of field provides the main subject with sharpness to enhance focus and draw the eyes to the subject and making it more pleasing to the eye. The photo taken above illustrates this very well. The arrows show how blurry the objects in the distance are, therefore making the golf cleat the main focus. It is clear and sharp, drawing the eye to it, instead of what is in the background.

By Jacob Howell (Personally Taken Photo)

Another photo taken by me demonstrates the focus of the main subject. The Nike ball and tee are completely in focus and in front of the image. All of the other images in the background are blurry and that bring the Nike golf ball and tee to the front, providing depth.



Though these rules can be broken, they are essential to know. They can be the difference between a bad and very good shot. They also are often the difference between a common shot and an attention grabbing one. The rules make the photo pleasing to the eye. I hope this post was able to demonstrate that in an effective way. There are many ways that the photographer could use these rules to their advantage. These rules are a skill and not luck.

Typography Kickoff

The above image was a Sport’s Illustrated magazine cover on September 17th, 2012. The image was distributed physically and on The purpose of this post is to illustrate how typography is used and how important it’s use is for the viewer or reader.

Typeface #1- Modern

The top face at the top of the magazine is an excellent example of modern. There is a vertical stress in each of the letters as you can see in the lower case “o” and “e”. There is not a diagonal stress. There are serifs on the letters and you can see that the ones on the lowercase letters are thin and horizontal. It might be easy to confuse this typeface with slab serif or Clarendon, but there is a major difference between the transition of the strokes. They go from a thick to a thin stroke, as evident in the capital “B” in the word boy. A slab serif would have very little or no thick/thin transition and stays pretty consistent.

Typeface #2- Sans Serif

This second typeface at the bottom of the magazine is an example of a sans serif typface. There are no serifs anywhere, unlike the first typeface were there are serifs on most of the letters. The strokes in this typeface are very consition and have no thick to thin transition. They are the same thickness all the way around.


The two typefaces that have been spoken are contrasting of each other. They are meant to describe different things and also attract our eyes and make it more pleasing to look at. The modern typeface at the top contrasts the one at the bottom because it has a thick to thin stroke transition unlike the sans seriff which is the same thickness all around. This is evident if you compare the “n” to the “y” above. There are also serifs on most of the letters on the modern typeface, while the sans serif typeface have no serifs to be found.


Overall the typefaces of the cover do a great job of telling what the current issue of this magazine is about. The modern typeface at the top of the magazine has a typeface that you would typically see for the heading of an article and that is exactly what that is. It is the title of the article about Peyton Manning. The sans seriff typeface is purposely meant to contrast the other title because it is meant to describe the picture more than the article found inside. The typefaces help the viewer gain a sense of what this current article of Sport’s Illustrated is about and what you can find inside.


Reverse Engineer: Gatorade: Is It In You?


This is an ad campaign that has a lasting effect on my mind. When I think of effective ad campaigns this one by Gatorade popped into my head immediately. This campaign ran in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, but I wondered why it still has an impression on me. Gatorade is associated with being the drink of choice for the best athletes in the world. When you think of Gatorade you think of these athletes and you think of Gatorade being able to elevate your athletic performance, at least more than water will. I feel this ad campaign was essential in Gatorade becoming associated with the drink of choice for athletes during games. This post will focus on why.


In this ad we can see how the blue color in the message is it in you? is highlighted in the word it, but the rest of the letters are white. This is to make you immediately thinking of it as Gatorade. The shades of black and gray make the it, sweat, Gatorade bottle, and liquid basketball player pop making the blue liquid drink the focus of the ad.


Repetition is found in the form of colors. Everything that is supposed to be associated with the Gatorade is blue. It’s getting the viewer to associate Gatorade with the player, which is NBA basketball star Vince Carter, and his performance. They make it look as if he is sweating the Gatorade and you therefore assume that IT(Gatorade) is obviously in him and is what he drinks when he is playing the game. The basketball figure on the left is also repeated as a blue liquid to associate drinking Gatorade with playing basketball and performance.


The ad uses the rule of thirds. The text is in line with the bottom of the Gatorade bottle. Humans are drawn to the eyes and you can see that the blue liquid man on the left is at eye level as well. The blue bottle also is aligned with the blue man and almost looks like it is pointing up to it due to its shape.


At first I thought the proximity of this ad was a little disjointed and things were too far apart. I then asked why did the designer choose to separate certain pieces. The words is it in you are grouped together with the player Vince Carter so that the viewer associates the question with the athlete. Since he appears to be sweated blue Gatorade. It makes you question why you aren’t drinking what Vince Carter is drinking. The bottle and the liquid man are further apart from the player because if they were closer to the player it would take the focus away from the Gatorade being within the star basketball player.


The color blue pops from the gray and black colors and highlights the product. The color is all associated with the blue flavor of Gatorade. The color blue makes over the player already makes you associate that with his drink of choice since it is on him.


The principles of design we have being learning about which are contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity and color are all within this ad by Gatorade. It is a pretty simple ad with a lasting impression and gets you associating the drink with the best athletes in the world without saying a lot.