First look: CBC releases Olympics design that blends art deco, Canadian-inspired elements

With 100 days to go before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, the CBC has revealed its look for the big event.

“Our design takes a twist on a timeless favorite, modern art deco and Parisian culture,” the CBC said, noting that ultimate goal is to be real with the viewer and present a diverse feel that conveys the action and excitement of sports entertainment.

The design, created by the network’s in-house creative team, relies heavily on a bright color scheme and distinctive illustrative style and geometric accents.

Much of the look released April 17, 2024, centers around a collection of colors that combine muted shades with some fresh, brighter ones.

“Our color palette captures the essence of summer, fashion and elegance against the iconic Parisian backdrop,” the CBC noted. “It’s a celebration of style and diversity, where everyone is welcomed.”

The package leans slightly in favor of various yellows, a shade that can be read as representing both the summer sun and Olympic gold.

Mixed in with this, however, is a collection of other colors including both lighter shades of pink, blue, green and browns as well as bolder, brighter versions of each of those colors.

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The CBC also created animated graphics depicting French culture and athletes in motion using an illustrative approach.

These illustrations, which are done in modern art deco style, use a variety of swaths and strokes to form a myriad of imagery.

Images of athletes tend to feature multiple colors near the edges of the figures, a technique that conveys a sense of movement and action.

Many of the depictions of competitors also replace a key part of the image with one of several patterns.

These patterns are pulled from a small collection of designs developed as part of the broadcaster’s toolkit:

  • A navigator representing the Eiffel Tower.
  • Geometric pattern representing the Louvre.
  • Anishinaabe floral pattern including floral motifs that represent the twelve flower emblems of Canada’s provinces and territories completed with art deco styling.
  • Wabanki geometric pattern designed to represent multiple First Nation groups: Wolastoqey, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy and the Penobscot. The designs are based on geometric patterns found in beadwork, basketry and quillwork and were tweaked slightly to represent a modern, art deco style.

To infuse its brand, the CBC also added in an eclectic variety of shapes inspired by its “gem” logo. These include thick bars with a distinctive curve on one end, circles and half circles. Together, these shapes take on a distinct art deco pattern.

In many cases, multiple rows or columns of these shapes are combined, creating a dynamic pattern that can be used as both faded, subtly-shadowed background or more prominent element.

Other options include using the diamond pattern as a sort of cut out that allow other patterns and colors behind it to show through.

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Typography is incorporated in a variety of ways.

The Paris 2024 wordmark is used on-screen when it’s used as the primary display type. 

Outside of that, brand standards bar the use of the typeface, so the CBC went with Peignot, which originally commissioned by French type foundry Deberny & Peignot.

Also used is the CBC’s Radio Canada, a bespoke typeface used by both the TV and radio sides. This clean sans serif is used, often with generic spacing, for secondary accent typography as well as other secondary uses such as the “Canada’s Olympic Network” tagline. 

Project credits

  • Executive producers: Sherali Najak, Luc Lebel
  • Creative director: Theresa Warburton
  • Art director: Frydun Mehrzad
  • Coordinating producer: Jennifer Cialini
  • Senior graphic designer: Thomas Hall
  • Illustrator: Amir Mrzae
  • Editor: Tim Thompson
  • Music: Orin Isaacs