Creating an Olympic identity program is one of the world's most complex branding exercises. The Vancouver 2010 brand team was responsible for over 10,000 design applications and some of the most iconic elements of the Games, including the identity, medals, mascots, torches, podiums, publications, posters, and uniforms.
Millions experienced the work locally and billions watched from around the globe. Not only was Vancouver 2010 the most-viewed Winter Games to date, but it was also one of the few profitable Olympics in recent decades, achieving the highest ticket, sponsorship, and merchandise revenues in Winter Games history.
It was about providing an opportunity, a platform, an excuse, to let loose pent-up feelings of national pride, to express, without apology, with a spirit of joy, a national identity.Stephen Brunt, Globe and Mail
The official poster is one of the most popular collector’s items of the Olympic Games and has held a special place in history since 1912. For the first time ever, the Vancouver 2010 official poster concept integrated both the Olympic and Paralympic Games posters in one image. The idea was sketched quickly on paper and a digital draft was complete within a few hours. The concept stuck, but the process had just begun.
In his signature Spanish accent, our remarkable design director, Leo Obstbaum, referenced the magic of Andy Warhol prints, saying “I need to smell the ink!” We discussed how ink collects around the edges of a screen print, leaving a sign of life that endures long after the paper is dry. We, too, were determined to make it real.
Over several weeks, each design element was hand-stencilled and inked at a 1:1 ratio (on a 24 x 36-inch canvas) before being digitally assembled.
The posters received international attention from newspapers, design magazines, and television, including an appearance on The Colbert Report on the eve of the opening ceremonies. The posters now appear in museum collections around the world and were added to the second edition of A Century of Olympic Posters by Margaret Timmers.
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic torch represents an extensive collaboration between airplane and train manufacturer Bombardier and the Vancouver 2010 design team. Over 50 engineers, fuel specialists, and industrial designers contributed to the project.
Each torch needed to endure extreme winter conditions across the longest host country relay distance in Olympic history — a full 45,000 kilometres. The flame eventually reached Rick Hansen, Catriona Le May Doan, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene, and Wayne Gretzky at the Olympic Cauldron.
The torch relay identity system was applied across city streets, buildings, television, web, apparel, vehicles, semi-trucks, and Coca-Cola cans.
To capture the relay for the commemorative book, we collaborated with photographers Rick Collins and Steve Simon. Our intention was not only to document the torchbearers, but also to bring the diverse winter landscape into focus. Canadian culture and geography helped to tell the visual story — from small towns to big cities, and from prairie roads to arctic trails.
What mattered was the excuse to wave the flag, sing the anthem and shout it out loud.Stephen Brunt, Globe and Mail