30OLYMPIC REVIEW VANCOUVER 2010 GETTHE LOOK OLYMPIC REVIEW TALKS TO ALI GARDINER, VICE- PRESIDENT OF BRAND AND CREATIVE SERVICES AT VANOC, ABOUT HOW THE UNIQUE ' LOOK OF THE GAMES' WAS CREATED FOR VANCOUVER 2010 W hen Vancouver 2010 gets under way in February, the dramatic sporting action will be beautifully framed by a unique visual identity that has been created especially for the Games. This " Look of the Games" will add to the visual spectacle in Vancouver and has been in development for several years. It is something that can be seen at every edition of both the Summer and Winter Games, and creating this unique, recognisable identity - which reflects the culture of the host city and the values of the Olympic brand - has become an integral part of staging the Olympic Games. As the Vice- President of VANOC's Brand and Creative Services team, Ali Gardiner knows first- hand about the challenges of creating a visual identity that will be seen by billions of people around the world. " One of the things that was most daunting about the project was trying to somehow figure out what it was about the Canadian identity that we wanted to express through the Look of the Games," she explains. " That's a debate that's been going on since Canada was born as a nation and I don't think anyone has the answers!" Indeed, creating a look and brand that encompasses an entire country or region is clearly a huge task, and one that begins several years before the Games begin, shortly after the host city has been decided. " When we won the Games we needed to establish what our vision and story would be and to decide what would make our Games unique from any other." The process of building a look that felt right for
OLYMPIC REVIEW31 VANCOUVER 2010 Vancouver began with an extended period of research. Gardiner and her team were keen to find out what the perception of Canada and the Olympic brand was around the world, as well as which elements of the host country unique character they could share through the Olympic Winter Games. As part of this research, the VANOC brand team spoke to everyday Canadians and set up focus groups with athletes, artists and aboriginal First Nations people - key groups that would be central to staging the Games. " Out of that process we got lots of ideas and insights into what people really wanted these Games to stand for and what they wanted to share about Canada and the Olympic ideals," explains Gardiner. " There were certain themes that emerged no matter who we spoke to - whether it was someone living in rural Canada or in the cities - and we ended up making them central to our brand." As each element of the Vancouver brand became a reality - with the development of the graphic identity, the emblem, mascots and medals - VANOC ensured that the views of the people who would be the key audience for each particular element became a central tenet of the design process. " So with the mascots, we spoke to children and parents, and with the medals we talked to athletes," says Gardner. " Hearing the athletes' perspectives on ?