A new book is chronicling the design history of the Olympics

After decades of research into the Olympics, Markus Osterwalder is compiling a substantial new tome covering the design history from all 57 modern Games, from Athens 1896 through to Tokyo 2020

Olympic athletes will spend most of their lives working relentlessly towards a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It’s much the same for graphic designer and historian Markus Osterwalder, whose decades-long obsession with the Olympics is culminating in a new book delving into the Olympics’ lengthy design history.

Published by Swiss niggli, the book traces the Olympic design history in the modern era, from the inaugural Olympiad in Athens dating back to 1896, to the forthcoming competition in Tokyo 2020. Each chapter details different design elements, from logos to colour palettes to pictograms, shining a spotlight on the work of 160 designers from all 57 modern Games.

It’s hard to believe that the Olympic Games – The Design will be the first book of its kind. Then again, with the book racking up a mammoth 1,600 pages (which had to be split over two volumes), perhaps it’s not so surprising that everyone else has avoided the mountainous task thus far.