There were only four different traffic signs in 1922. Today there are more than 150. The continually closer interrelation among traffic, information, the economy or tourism demands new methods of communication. Often the very simplest verbal communication is frustrated because of a lack of the knowledge required for a language or alphabet. This is especially obvious at large international events at which visitors from every continent participate.
It was also a major task for the Munich organizers to design a system of visual symbols of universal intelligibility which would aid visitors in regard to information and communications. Thus there are two systems; one being the sports symbols and the other being the pictograms for information regarding services and traffic which have been described already. The sports symbols do not have the function merely to symbolize the individual athletic disciplines in the press, on television or medals and souvenirs, but they are simultaneously means of information regarding the sports sites and training areas of a specific sport. With the aid of arrows the symbols pointed the way and designated those coaches and helpers responsible for a certain sport as well as the admission tickets, schedules, rules and regulations listings, etc.
After the first attempts at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, a closed system of symbols was conceived for the first time under the direction of Masaru Katsumi in 1964 for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The value of the system as a universally intelligible means of information instead of multilingual verbal messages was so effective that all succeeding Games would not be possible without such a system. At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, the Mexican OC developed a system of symbols, which nevertheless had a more illustrative character and was based on sports equipment.