Paris 2024 Olympic torch relay cauldron features a ring on three metal stems, attached to a square metal base that is wavy on top.

The Design of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics

Release Date: May 9, 2024

Category: Blog | Paris 2024

Design is a defining element of any Olympic and Paralympic Games. Paris 2024 has already made a mark on Games design history, but this week, we got a first look at the Paris 2024 torch relay cauldron, another beautiful creation from French designer Mathieu Lehanneur. This announcement gives us a chance to review the designs created to give Paris 2024 its distinct look and feel.

Four Main Themes

Organizers of Paris 2024 have kept four main themes in mind when creating designs for the Summer Games:

  • Celebration: A Sense of Festivity
  • Transfer: A Sense of Style
  • Rationalisation: A Sense of Responsibility
  • Personalization: A Sense of the Collective

 

These themes need more explanation. Celebration includes being colorful and joyful so as to evoke strong, happy feelings. The look should celebrate worldwide sport. Festivity means to be color. A sense of style is not only about acknowledging Paris as a creative capital. It includes transferring sport into the city with elegance and class, with callbacks to the Art Deco style of 1924, the last time Paris hosted the Summer Olympics. Responsibility, with its many definitions, has been prioritized in design choices for the look of Paris 2024. Bringing the Olympics and Paralympics closer together, reducing costs, and limiting environmental impact are incorporated into the design. The Games welcome everyone and bring the world together, but are a unique experience for each participant and spectator. The look should be cohesive but customized with unique colors but connected to the history of the Games.

 

Designers were tasked with making images that are fun and elegant, and bring together sport and city. They aimed to use the same designs for the Olympics and Paralympics and unify Paris, France, and the Francophone diaspora. History needed to play a role but so did environmentalism and modernism. No small task!

 

It Started with Marianne

Released in 2019, the Paris 2024 logo featured a visual pun. Looked at one way, viewers see Marianne, a symbol of the French Republic. Viewed again, one can see a flame. The same image is used for both the Olympics and the Paralympics, with only a switch between the Olympic rings and the Paralympic Agitos.

Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic logo with flame/Marianne optical illusion

 

The Phryges

Next came the mascots. The Phryges, with their bright red color and cheery expressions, are both festive and stylish. A traditional symbol from the French Revolution, the Phrygian cap is recognized across France. Matching characters were used for the Olympics and Paralympics.

The Phryges, the mascots of Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics. Photo: Paris 2024.

The Phryges, the mascots of Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics. Photo: Paris 2024.

Pictograms

The Paris 2024 pictograms incorporated the official color scheme of bright blue, red, green, and purple. Rather than the stick figures we have seen from recent Games, this design was complex with repeating patterns and cartoon elements. They have a distinctly Old World look with multiple symbols combining sport and community.

Paris 2024 Pictogram for fencing. It shows an epee and sabre crossed in an X with a foil running through the middle of the X. On either side are fencing masks facing each other.

Torch

Last summer, we got our first look at the torch, also designed by Lehanneur. The luminescent finish takes on a golden hue in photographs, but in person, it appears more silvery. Lehanneur created a perfectly symmetrical shape incorporating wave-like designs. The waves reflect the centrality of the Seine to the people of Paris and the water surrounding the many islands that comprise French overseas territories.

Paris 2024 torch

Poster

The poster is the Games’ most cartoonish design element. It incorporates the bright colors of the official scheme in an explosion of Parisian landmarks. The Olympic and Paralympic posters can be combined to form a complete picture. Sports are incorporated throughout the city, as are seaside scenes and crowds of fans. Think you found every detail? Try again; you will find more.

Paris 2024 Olympic poster designed by Ugo Gattoni. It depicts a detailed version of Paris during the Games. Image: Paris 2024. Paris 2024 Paralympic poster designed by Ugo Gattoni. It depicts a detailed version of Paris during the Games. Image: Paris 2024.

Medals

The medals incorporate an actual piece of Parisian history: metal from the original beams of the Eiffel Tower, along with visuals reference to the Tower on the reverse and on the ribbon. The ruffled edge looks in turn like etched metal, flowing fabric, or sunbeams.

Photo of Paris 2024 Olympic bronze medal

 

Taking all the elements together, what do you think of the design of Paris 2024? Is it cohesive and emblematic of its intended themes? We will have to wait until July to see things play out in person. We can’t wait to see the purple track in action!

–Alison Brown

Photos: Paris 2024