Czech Olympic Matchbooks

Posted by Scott

czech-ioc-1 czech-ioc-2
These Czech Olympic matchbooks are excerpted from one of my favorite design books, Cesky Filumenisticky Design. I don’t know much about these other than that they date from 1967. I’m also not sure who designed them since the book is in Japanese. I ran it by my friend and she said the caption says something about the name "Peter Togram". Not sure, fill in the blanks if you can read that caption.

10 Comments Leave A Comment


simon says:

August 15, 2008 at 2:00 am

The human form has been designed to death in the graphics industry. Even though these characters come from the 60’s the actual design style is very in with modern design. I see figures designed in a very similar style to this even today. It just proves that there is nothing really new in design today and although work is presented as unique it often comes with a lot of influences from previous eras.

No idea what the Japanese says ..sorry :)



Mirwen72 says:

August 15, 2008 at 6:09 am

Well I don’t now Japanese either. But I know Czech so I can tell you that these are actually not Olympic matches – They usually say “National contest in…” or “Contest of big cities in…” or even “National contest of youth in…” and that’s funny – the second from the bottom and first from the left on the second picture says “Contest of experimantal classes of ZDŠ” – zš means základní škola = basic school. But what the hell is that D in ZDŠ? It could mean Divadlo = theatre but… Contest of experimental classes of theatrical basic schools??? :D I was 4 years old when comunism ended here so I don’t remember much from that time. with the end of Comunism many silly things and shortcuts ended (like ZDŠ) as well…


bludr says:

August 15, 2008 at 9:51 am

Well, just four you, Mirwen – ZDŠ is “základní devítiletá škola”, it just means these were really old matches :-).

And btw, at that time, we were still called Czechoslovakia. Kind of strange that I read “Czech” over here as most of american people still call us “Czechoslovakia” for some reason. And I am not complaining here, although its nearly 20 years… just mentioning it because “Peter Togram” sounds like Slovak name to me.

Anyway, nice desing. I love the “high jump” one (top row, second from left), because it reflect different style of high jumping at that time. See this video if you want to know more about it:


leigh says:

August 15, 2008 at 4:27 pm

i’m guessing the olympic rings and the year 1967 in the insignia indicate they might be commemorating national qualifying championships for the 1968 olympics perhaps. olympic trials etc. since i know neither czech nor japanese, i’ll happily defer the rest to what’s been said before!

ps. hi scott, just started reading yr blog, enjoying it heaps!


Scott says:

August 15, 2008 at 4:57 pm

There are olympic rings on them and they are from 1967 so it would be fair to assume these were for the olympic trials before the ’68 games in Mexico, no? the IOC is very, very vigilant about who uses the ring logo, only Olympic events are allowed to use them.

I was just in the Czech Republic and everyone there used the term “Czech” (Česko) to refer to themselves and things belonging to or affiliated with their country, is that wrong? sorry if I misused it, but to my knowledge that is the accepted English terminology.

I will dig around and post some more books.


bludr says:

August 16, 2008 at 6:03 am

Scott, you are right. What I meant is that at that time we were still Czechoslovakia until 1993 when we peacefuly split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. So when someone speaks about our country as “Czechoslovakia” (and lot of Americans do, even young ones), they are wrong. On the other side, these matchboxes are still Czechoslovak ;-).

As for olympic rings. At that time we was communist country and believe me, there was not big respect for any IP. So Mirwen is right, these are some strange competitions…


Mirwen72 says:

August 17, 2008 at 4:52 am

Your assumption sounds logical Scott but I still don’t understand those contests of basic schools(what would small children do on Olympics?). I believe that the solution lies in those japanese signs. Anyway we are probably trying to solve not so important things here:).
I have to make one thing clear and I promise I won’t repeat myself anymore. We Czechs are very proud nation and self critical at the same time. So we constantly need to ensure ourselves and others that we are great in many things -we got the best beer, those contact lens you are wearing is czech invention, Eva Herzigova is Czech as well as many other top models, Tatra was the first car that was aerodynamic and had metal carriage body, Jagr is Czech hockey player and Madeleine Albright was Czech. And so on and so on.
You see if we were just proud we would probably keep it for ourselves just like Germans or Japanese. But we are small nation that needs to constantly ensure itself by telling others how good we are. And that’s the reason why me and bludr reacted the way we did.
Sorry bout that…


Lisa Oka says:

August 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm

I’m afraid the Japanese is not very illuminating. It says,

“Czechoslovakia Sports Games 1967 Event

[The matchboxes] Shown were designed with the sports games held in 1967 in a pictogram style.
It can be seen that there were various kinds [of games? matchboxes?].”

It’s hard to translate the Japanese more accurately, since I don’t know anything about the event.
Also, I think it’s not “Peter Togram” but “pictogram”. :)

good luck figuring it out!