Responses by Sagi Haviv, partner/principal designer, Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv
Background: The United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum is a new national institution set to open in 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, home to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the Colorado Springs Olympic & Paralympic Training Center. The museum is dedicated to celebrating the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and their histories and achievements. The target audiences are athletes, school groups, community groups and leaders and tourists, as well as the broader community who will visit the digital museum online.
Reasoning: The strategy was that the identity should be something new and innovative that can stand on its own—to find something that gives homage, but is still ownable and can be trademarked.
Challenges: For us, the challenge was also the most exciting aspect: to draw inspiration from two of the most recognizable and ubiquitous icons in the world—the Olympic rings and the American flag—without looking derivative or clichéd.
Favorite details: One of the other challenges of this project was the long name. We broke the name into four lines, so that each meaningful element gains equal importance, and the resulting type treatment is visually distinctive.
Visual influences: The symbol for the new museum takes its colors from the Olympic rings, its stripes from the American flag and the diamond silhouette from the building’s façade. There was also inspiration from the Paralympic Agitos. Together, the symbol suggests an abstract flame.
Anything new: Early on in the process, we spoke with a number of Olympic and Paralympic athletes. I learned a lot more about the Paralympics, and about how the same spirit and drive fuels both movements. With exhibition design by Gallagher & Associates, the museum building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, attains a new standard of accessibility, which was impressive to experience.