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PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics

PyeongChang 2018 has a distinctive logo with a ㅍ character and a star.

I guess the ㅍ is for PyeongChang (평창), but what is the star? I wondered if it could be a stylised 'ㅊ', but it seems like there would have to be some other pun, reference, or meaning of the star to justify rendering 'ㅊ' as a star and placing it in superscript above the ㅍ.

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The official website says that ㅍ stands for ice and * stands for snow. (ㅍ also statnds for ㅍ of 평 and * stands for ㅊ of 창)

하늘과 땅이 맞닿은 곳, 평창. 그곳의 눈(설상)과 얼음(빙상)에서 선수들과 지구촌 사람들이 함께 어울리는 열린 세상을 의미합니다.

https://www.pyeongchang2018.com/ko/

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On the 2018 Pyeong-Chang (평창) Winter Olympic Games Logo

The 2018 Pyeong-Chang Olympic Games logo is perhaps one of the most interesting, unique and creative logo of all the Olympic Games logos that I have seen thus far.

The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that the lower left and the upper right pictograms are Korean letters: “ㅍ” which stands for the “p” sound, and “ㅊ” which stands for the “ch” sound. The two pictograms, the first letter from the first syllable “평” (pyeong) and the first letter from the second syllable “창” (chang), state that the Olympic Games are being held in 평창 (Pyeong-Chang) this time around, i.e. in 2018.

Secondly, an interesting point about the first pictogram (ㅍ) is that it resembles an ancient Greek temple with the golden ratio of 1:1.618 (height: width), like the Parthenon in Athens. As far as I know, only the ancient Greeks used this ratio to build their sacred buildings. They did so because they believed this ratio to be a divine ratio present throughout the cosmos. And what is also interesting is that this ratio is still used by artists, architects and designers (including the Korean electronics designers) in their work today. Another point of interest is that the upper right pictogram (ㅊ) resembles a star in the sky. So, the two pictograms together create a scene of a star shining above an ancient Greek temple.

Once upon a time, the gods of Mount Olympus helped some mortals achieve heroic deeds; and Zeus (the sky and thunder god and king of the Olympian gods) placed those heroes among the stars to immortalize their heroic deeds. Being pious, the athletes of the ancient Greek Olympic Games (held during the sacred truce) competed to honor Zeus and became immortalized themselves: The athletes were sung by poets, playwrights and honored in sculptures and on urns. So, it can be argued that ancient Greeks invented sport by honoring and celebrating athletic prowess for its own sake, apart from its direct military application. Having been thus civilized, we sporting mortals of the world today continue this very tradition of immortalizing (i.e. making stars out of) our Olympic heroes; except, we do so through our latest electronic gadgets. It’s as if we do what the Olympian gods once did with our electronic gadgets; where our electronic gadgets have become our gods.

Another interesting point to note is how the 2018 Pyeong-Chang logo fuses and harmonizes Greek culture and Korean culture by visually rendering notable aspects from the two cultures with a breathtaking brevity, naïve simplicity, illusive subtlety, and it-all-fell-in-place-by-itself naturalness and an unmistakable one-of-a-kind uniqueness. This uniqueness is (not necessarily in the creative work of the logo itself but) primarily due to the unique shapes of the Korean letters. However, that the logo’s designers took advantage of the unique shapes of the Korean letters and incorporated that uniqueness into their work should be to their credit. It is obviously true that one must learn how to recognize a good thing when one has it and learn how to use it to one’s advantage.

What is remarkable about the 2018 Pyeong-Chang logo is how it states so much with so little: It tells us so much about (some of our cherished fundamental issues of) who we are, what we are, where we come from and what we are up to with just two child’s-play like pictograms, in a perfectly fitting manner.

It’s satisfying to know that there are athletes who dedicate themselves to and strive toward the sacred goal of athletic excellence. And it is just as satisfying to know that there are creative artists who celebrate and compliment those Olympic athletes through their, just as sacred, creative endeavor.

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