An ever present but sometimes overlooked aspect of the event experience is the look and feel of the Games, for the 1.3m+ people attending events, millions more in the Festival Sites and for the billions of viewers across the Commonwealth.


We were keen from the outset for the look of Birmingham 2022’s venue and city dressing to have a genuine and authentic connection to the city and region, and the outcome is a unique and vibrant visual identity that sets Birmingham 2022 apart from other major sport and cultural events.

The look and feel of the dressing has been inspired by Birmingham’s rich and diverse past, present and future, with references to iconic landmarks, our unique local culture, and the Commonwealth family.

The first of a series of five patterns to feature within the dressing is the hexagon. This pattern is inspired by Perry, the Birmingham 2022 official mascot. Perry’s multicoloured hexagonal design is the result of a national children’s competition to design a mascot that represents the identity, history, and culture of Birmingham and the West Midlands. After thousands of bostin’ entries, lucky winner, Emma Lou’s design was chosen to inspire the mascot and Perry was born!

Perry’s hexagonal rainbow pattern is symbolic of the Commonwealth nations and territories coming together in equal partnership with the communities of Birmingham and the West Midlands. The hexagon pattern can be found in and around all Games venues.

The second pattern hidden within the dressing is the quote ‘a hundred thousand welcomes’ which has been proudly displayed near the Digbeth Coach station in central Birmingham for many years, just around the corner from the Smithfield site, home to Basketball 3x3, Beach Volleyball and one of the Birmingham 2022 Festival Sites.

The sign originates from the handwriting of the late Sister Sabrina, the founder of SIFA Fireside, a local Charity that supports homelessness in Birmingham. The saying translated from “cead mile failte”, the mediaeval Gaelic greeting, perfectly reflects the spirit of the Games as we welcome people from the 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.

In addition, the same saying also features in Shakespeare's Coriolanus (ACT II), which links further to the wider West Midlands region.

A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep, and I could laugh, I am light and heavy. Welcome.
Shakespeare's Coriolanus (ACT II)

William Shakespeare, widely considered the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist, was born and raised just 40 miles away from Birmingham in Stratford-Upon-Avon. This typographic pattern can be seen across the West Midlands region featuring in the city dressing from Coventry to Cannock Chase.

Our third pattern is born out of the self-proclaimed Creative Quarter of Digbeth, one of the coolest places to live and work in the country. The graffiti pattern is inspired by the street art found in the area. Its strong and independent culture is evident in the artwork that enlivens the streetscapes which have also inspired BBC films that are currently promoting Birmingham 2022. You will be able to see the graffiti pattern at venues, such as Sandwell Aquatic Centre, the University Birmingham, Smithfield's, and the NEC.

The iconic Library of Birmingham’s delicate filigree pattern is the fourth creative reference. The current library replaced the brutalist Birmingham Central Library, the main public library in Birmingham from 1974 until 2013. The Library of Birmingham has a long history dating back to 1865 and for a time was the largest non-national library in Europe.  

The Library of Birmingham, referred to as the People’s Palace, is home to the Shakespeare Memorial Room, which was created to house the Shakespeare Memorial Library in 1882. The library is located at Centenary Square which is home to the Birmingham 2022 Megastore, and the pattern can be seen at venues including Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Alexandre Stadium and Sutton Park.

The last pattern hidden with the dressing is the iconic architectural disc pattern that is proudly displayed on the exterior of the Birmingham Bullring.

The markets of Bullring date back to 1154 when Peter de Bermingham, a local landowner, obtained a Charter of Marketing Rights from King Henry II, ever since this area of Birmingham has become the commercial centre of the city.

Fast forward 850 years and the new Bullring Shopping Centre was launched in 2003, including the iconic architecture of the Selfridges building. The building is clad in 15,000 shiny aluminium discs and was inspired by a Paco Rabanne sequinned dress, and it is these discs that have inspired the pattern seen at Arena Birmingham, in Warwick, Cannock Chase, Coventry Arena, and the NEC.

Finally, we worked with local collage artist Barbara Gibson to commission a series of bespoke posters that are inspired by the Commonwealth Sport and Birmingham 2022 vision, mission, and values. The posters are an artistic take on the look of the Games, incorporating black and white photography of some of the greatest Commonwealth athletes of all time. Can you spot any of your sporting heroes?

We hope you enjoy the vibrancy that the dressing has brought to Birmingham and West Midlands and that our fans are inspired by the stories that are hidden within the designs.