The Design History behind the official Commonwealth Programmes (2002,2006)

Commonwealth Games 2014 - Glasgow

Commonwealth Games 2014 – Glasgow

The Commonwealth Games is an international sporting event and occurs every four years. It is the third biggest sporting event after the Olympic Games and the Asian Games.

Throughout the years, The Commonwealth Games as we have known it since 1978, has evolved through a range of identities. Throughout the 1930s to the early 1950s, it was known as the British Empire Games before rebranding to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954. The event was rebranded again in 1970 to the British Commonwealth Games, an identity that only lasted 2 occurrences of the games.

The Commonwealth Games sees athletes from around the Commonwealth – a group of 53 member states that were mostly territories of the former British Empire compete in a range of sports, hosted in cities selected by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF)

When the Scottish city of Glasgow hosts the games in 2014, eighteen cities in seven countries will have hosted the event.

Elanders UK takes a look at the history and design evolution of the official Commonwealth programmes.

Read other Design History of the Commonwealth Programmes here.

Read on and find out how the design of Commonwealth programmes evolved through the years 2002 & 2006.



The British city of Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002 from July 25th to August 4th and was the largest multi-sport event to be held in the UK prior to the 2012 Olympic Games held in London, which Manchester failed to host in 1996 and 2000.

The Games were hosted in the United Kingdom to coincide with the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II, the head of the Commonwealth. The main venue for the games was the City of Manchester Stadium, now the Etihad Stadium, during the Games that was used for most events and the opening and closing ceremonies. The stadium was a centrepiece of an area called Sportcity, of which the Manchester Aquatics Centre is located for the aquatic events as well as the Manchester Velodrome and the National Squash Centre.

The design of the programme shows the interior of the Manchester Aquatics Centre despite the edition was created for the Rugby events. The year doesn’t appear on the programme in numbers but in roman numerals. The typeface of the event is sans serif, which is the second time the Commonwealth has used this font within this collection. Small images representing the main events appear along the top edge of the programme, along with the 2002 Commonwealth Games logo.



The Australian city of Melbourne hosted the largest sporting event with more teams, athletes and events being held compared to the 1956 Summer Olympics that was also held in the city. The 2006 Commonwealth Games were held over a period of 11 days from March 15th until March 26th at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The design of the programme incorporates and shares the same colour scheme used on the logo, which is also visible on the event poster. Light green is used for the primary background with a light blue used for the headline background. White text is supplied throughout the front cover with a large image consisting of silhouettes playing Rugby.

This is the final post on Design History behind the official Commonwealth Programmes. A big thanks to Elanders UK and  for the exclusive insight into Commonwealth Programme’s design history and for contributing to pixelonomics.


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