Good Design: Vancouver 2010 Graphic Identity


Vancouver 2010 Illustrations; swirls and colours and textures

Last week, the full look for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games was unveiled, from the sport pictograms to the colour palette. Without boring you with too much commentary, we’ll let you dive right into a wide selection of original illustrations, brilliantly-chosen textures and colours, and a brand that’s filled with style and personality.

The Branding Process


Vancouver 2010 Illustrated Elements
Vancouver 2010 Illustrated Elements (part 2)

Sports Pictograms

Vancouver 2010 Pictograms and Sports Illustrations

Colour Palette

Vancouver 2010 Colour Palette (taken from screenshots from branding video)

Could this be one of the best graphic identities in Olympic history? Leave your thoughts below. How do we fare against China? Better than Montreal ’76? Worse the London 2012? The designs haven’t quite had the time to say hello to the world yet, but at first blink, this brand makes me proud to be Canadian. What are your thoughts?

  • Shermel

    I never knew blue and green could meld together with such force. Remnants of Montreal ’76 can be seen in the illustrations. China was a fresh, new, bright colors; that carried that motto ‘One World, One Dream’ with the color scheme. It invited the sense to play. Vancouver plays with two elements that I have never seen be used like these way. Winter and Spring. You feel like winter is capturing the essence of spring and making it cohesive. One idea. They nailed Canada down.

  • John Hull

    Sorry folks way over detailed and rendered. Makes Canada look like the are behind the times. Not hip at all. Look at the graphics for the last Olympics. Very simple and gestural. Very hip.

  • FoamK

    I agree with John..
    too much details.. too busy
    Sorry Guys, but like the color.

  • TeresaW

    Wow, after Day 3 of the Olympics and an amateur graphic designer, I started a search to find out the story of the design. Its beautiful. Thank you I am going to try and get as many articles I can (glassware included)to feed my eye for many years to come. Thanks.

  • Daniel

    I think its beautiful.
    Was watching the figure skating and the designs caught my eye.
    As a former designer I could see the work and thought that went into it. The rest of my family were not aware of it until I pointed it out, so the design cannot be accused of stealing the limelight from the athletes.
    I have found the simplified gestural look of Olympics going back to 1980 completely dull and formulaic.
    I commend the design team for their boldness, creativity and realization of a cohesive and intriguing look.

  • Neil

    Thanks for the comments. It’s interesting to see how the identity comes to life as the games progress. This post was written in Sept 2008 so the vision for this was still evolving at the time we posted. It’s good to see it come alive.

  • bill

    the overall design is good…BUT, whoever put green in it made a mistake. Green is the color of spring and summer. Why is it so evident in a winter games graphic? Makes no sense. Bugs the crap out of me every time I see it. Takes me out of the winter mood and gets me thinking of spring.

  • ric snodgrass

    The video was great to see the process it takes to put the “look” together. The color palette is beautiful to see in the application–the figure skating venue on TV shows how it comes together, the backdrop to the graphics, the top band around the entire venue and even the stairs are part of the look. I find myself looking at the graphics instead of the figure skaters.

  • farid

    I think the illustrations and pictograms are too much busy and complicated.

  • Danielle

    NOT “too detailed”
    NOT “too busy”

    I really like them!!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful Graphic Design!

    p.s. why waste your time looking if you don’t like it!?

  • Tina

    I am absolutely in love with the palette. Blues and greens are my favorite part of the color wheel. Does anyone know what the PMS or Pantone colors are for the 2 blues and 2 greens that are used on the athelete bibs (also used for the banners that border the paths)?

  • Dan

    I’ve been driving my wife crazy, because I can’t help but comment on the design every time we view the games. Absolutely beautiful and very original. The play of the greens against the blues is striking, particularly in the figure skating venue, where the different colors are carried up to each of the balcony levels. Saw a skating clip from Torino – what a difference! From boring to bursting!

  • http://Workingonit!Ivebeenmostlyaprintdesignerforover20years. Wendy DelCampo

    I LOVE the graphics! I am a graphic designer, and every time I watched an event, I’d strain to see more detail. It all flows together very fluently. Ice skating was the best place to get a nice look. And when Kim Yu-Na skated last night, her outfit looked amazing against that graphic! The colors complimented her outfit. This side of the color wheel, (along with yellow) are all my favorites. And I am a HUGE nature lover and would rather be outside enjoying nature then anywhere else. What a fun project for all of you! I take close ups of nature all the time lately.

    I couldn’t see your play on nature and urban structures until I watched your video. Clever idea.

    Fabulous job! I was so intrigued, I went looking on the WEB to see who designed it and to take a closer look. Awesome job.

    Now I’ll go find older Olympic graphics and compare….

  • Neil

    Hi everyone, thanks for all the comments! Just to be clear, we weren’t responsible for the design of the Olympic graphics we are just normal graphic designers and fans like yourselves :)

  • birgit

    It wasn’t til I started looking at the details that I really saw the beauty in the designs. After that I would stop to follow all the graphics at the various venues. Really masterful stuff.

  • shilp_o

    hi…… congratulations for coming up with such wonderful design. also it was great to know about the process of thinking and the visualisation.

  • Pete Chasar

    Yes, I think that the Vancouver Winter Games graphics are possibly the best ever. The cover palette alone is both bold and simple. And the large wall graphics, though made up of realistic elements, have a delightful abstract quality.

  • Mike Klein

    Does anyone know how to contact the design team responsible for this work? I’m interested in engaging them in a speaking event as I think there is a tonne to be learned.

    If you’re a member of the team please follow back to my site and send me an email.