Learn a little about Rio with these mini pictograms

Thanks to the world cup a couple of years ago, plus the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro has attracted a lot of attention recently. But how much do you know about the wonderful city? To give you an insight into the chaotic, vibrant place, designer Fabio Lopez has created a unique set of carefully designed pictograms.

Designed to quickly and accurately communicate an idea or a concept, a pictogram is kind of like a deceptively simple icon set. Boiling Rio's essence down to its most basic and recognisable form took Lopez over two years to create, and he still thinks there are ways to take the concept further.

Comprised of over 100 pictograms, the mini Rio project is Lopez's personal representation of the city. "I wasn't worried about creating an ensemble of images to express a collective or 'official' view of Rio, and by doing so I'd have been equally arbitrary," he explains. In this sense, the project might well be called 'my Rio'."

Picking and choosing which elements to include all came down to which ideas best lent themselves to a stripped down design. However this does mean that some important landmarks have been left out.  "And other pictograms are not in the project plainly because I don't know all the places and stories of Rio de Janeiro," Lopez laughs.

Creating the pictograms was a constantly evolving process, with Lopez first producing a standard sized set, before making a complimentary range at a smaller size. This then expanded to include colours and a set of exclusive typefaces.

Browse the full set here, or explore the images below to see how the pictograms expanded into a commercial trading set. If you like what you see, you'll be happy to hear that Lopez is already working on a follow-up book about the project.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.