Special Olympics Northern California’s (SONC) Summer Games is our largest annual competition event, bringing together more than a thousand athletes and coaches each year for multiple days of championship events.
While COVID-19 has changed the format for Summer Games, the spirit and majesty of the event lives on. The 2020 Summer Games @ Home featured hundreds of athletes from 30+ counties competing in off-camera sports, earning medals for their accomplishments, and coming together with volunteers and fans for a virtual celebration of Special Olympics.
The 2021 Summer Games @ Home begins on June 21 and SONC is raising the bar to make it a truly one-of-a-kind event to showcase the amazing abilities of athletes—beginning with the creation of the official logo.
For the first time, athletes were encouraged to submit their original logo designs for Summer Games @ Home. SONC provided a simple template and suggestions of incorporating the five Summer Games @ Home sports (cornhole, cycling, fitness, swimming, and track and field) and the athletes’ own creative elements of what Special Olympics means to them.
To spark their creativity and assist with the art design, SONC hosted a special Craft Corner episode on Zoom called “Art with Abe,” featuring SONC Sr. Manager of Design, Abe Cruz. Abe walked the athletes through some art inspiration ideas, took questions and provided feedback on their respective designs.
“Leading the art session was a great joy to me,” said Abe. “I could feel the appreciation for Special Olympics from all the athletes. Their enthusiasm to show their art—which I see as an expression of each one of them—reminds me of why my work feels meaningful.”
In total, SONC received dozens of creative submissions from athletes all across Northern California. There was a wide range of shapes, colors, themes and elements in the submissions—making the job difficult for Abe to create the final design.
“The athletes' submissions were a joy to review,” said Abe. “Although there are different skill levels, I genuinely can see the care and attention to detail in all their work. It was not easy to choose one winner, and I selected from five submitted designs.”
The final logo and sports icons feature five different athlete’s artwork. Athlete Stephanie B. of Contra Costa County created the original design seen in the middle of the logo circle, which was then digitally traced and colorized by Abe.
“The design I made up is a symbol for good sportsmanship and represents five different sports offered,” said Stephanie.
The background of the logo design is a painting submitted by Reuben M. of Humboldt County (pictured in the image).
“I was inspired by the colors I picked and feeling excited for SONC activities coming up,” said Reuben. “I don't have designs I am painting. It's more about me filling the canvas with my colors and being excited to finish the painting and happy with my painting.”
Along with the circle logo and background, the final design includes individual icons for each of the five available sports. These were created using art from Lisa S. of Sacramento (cornhole and cycling), Kim H. of Santa Clara (fitness), and Justin H. of Santa Clara (swimming and track and field).
The Summer Games @ Home logo is seen on the official website, on social media, and will be featured throughout Summer Games @ Home Celebration Week and Competition Week. It will also be printed on T-shirts for athletes who participate in Summer Games @ Home, and designed into the medal.
“I love having an extra reason to make art; it makes it more fun when I am making art,” said Reuben. “I'm excited for more SONC Zooms. Thank you for using my painting for the logo!”