In 2019, the logo and visual identity for Paris 2024 was launched. The logo combines two iconic symbols associated with the Games – a gold medal and the Olympic torch – with an image of Marianne, a female figure representing the French Republic. For the first time the logo will be the same for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The next phase of the visual identity, along with a series of pictograms, has just been launched and it continues this approach of blending past and present. Inspired by the Parisian spirit and French culture, the identity has been influenced by fashion, food, architecture and history.
“Combining sport and style is the graphic signature of Paris 2024,” says Julie Matikhine, Paris 2024 brand director. “Our visual concept is based on a play on words: ‘Sous les pavés, les Jeux’ [‘Under the paving stones, the Games’].”
The line is a take on ‘Sous les pavés, la plage!’, one of the many inspirational and provocative slogans seen during the Paris protests of May 1968. “It’s a way to express our revolutionary attitude, but also a way to tell the full story. In France, in every city and village, our streets have paving stones. They’re a symbol of our heritage,” explains Matikhine. “These paving stones are the basis of our system. A paving stone is a square and using this simple shape we can build lots of things. But what’s interesting is what we put in the paving stone shape.”
The squares Matikhine refers to contain one of three elements: symbols and architecture from the host city such as the Eiffel Tower; French lifestyle, for instance a heart to signify being the country of love; and the sports themselves mimicking the venues they’re played in. A mix of sharp lines and simple graphic shapes come together in an interchangeable grid system that is a nod to the Art Deco style seen during the 1924 Olympics, also held in Paris.
The colours used are a mix of green, purple, blue and red, all tied together by white, gold and pink. They’re bright but there’s a pastel hue to the whole identity. “We are Paris, we are French, and we are the country of fashion and culture, so we don’t want it to be a rainbow of colours,” says Matikhine. “The colours are happy, inviting, optimistic, and celebrate the joy that is the Games.”
The symbolic, interchangeable frescos created will be emblazoned on various Paris landmarks during the Games, and Matikhine says the finer details add an extra layer. This is emphasised by the fact that each host city has been allowed to personalise the Games. For Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille, a set of city specific ‘paving stones’ have been created to reflect the architecture and landmarks found at the various locations, and again the idea is for these different paving stones to seamlessly integrate with the other squares.
Along with the overall look of the Games, a set of pictograms have also been released. They’ve been referred to as “blazons” by Matikhine as compositionally they resemble the delicate icons seen on a coat of arms and act as “badges of honour”. Unlike the Tokyo 2020 pictograms, for Paris 2024 there are no figures present in these icons, rather each pictogram is composed of three graphical elements: an axis of symmetry; a depiction of the ground; and a representation of the sport that it illustrates.
For instance, for table tennis, two paddles sit across from each other on a simple line-drawn table, and for athletics, two trainers sit on opposite sides of the ovular running track. There are 70 pictograms in total, but eight of the pictograms remain the same for both the Olympics and the Paralympics as the sports contain the same elements whoever plays them. This is one of the reasons the committee decided against including figures in the pictograms, so it would be more inclusive.
The overall visual identity and look of Paris 2024 is to put sport in the centre of the city, so expect to see these pastel-coloured paving stones all over Paris and some of the capital’s most iconic buildings. Kicking off next July, the Paris Games come just three years after Tokyo 2020, which had been postponed till 2021 due to the pandemic.