With Boston dropping out of the running for host of the 2024 Summer Olympics, the conversation has quickly turned to California as both a site and savior for the U.S. bid. After Mayor Marty Walsh called out the IOC for cost overruns and effectively passed the buck, dashing Boston's hopes for host duties, US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun has been attempting to cobble together a bid before the looming September 15 submission deadline. LA, San Francisco and Washington have quickly reemerged as possible candidates. Los Angeles may be the most serious contender, since it already has a comprehensive plan and has twice played host to the Summer Olympics, in 1932 and 1984 (when it beat out Tehran to host a contest boycotted by the Russians). Seeing as how the city and USOC will have to move faster than a medal-winning relay team to make this work, we have a suggestion: focus on sites and logistics, and simply resurrect Deborah Sussman's incredible graphic identity from the 1984 games, one of, if not possibly the best, example of Olympic design.
A riot of neon colors, the environmental graphics, identity and wayfinding system created by the late designer and her creative partner and husband Paul Prejza succeeded due to both their playfulness and scope. It exemplified her concept of "supergraphics," larger-than-life imagery that energized installations, pop-up displays and walls. Build to be a system of modular parts, the duo's adaptable design language included signage, icons, logos as well as massive Sonotubes, and helped guide spectators and athletes between a dizzying array of sites, as well as Southern California's confusing system of roadways, with ease. The palette eschewed patriotic shades and focused on bright, vibrant hues, yellows and oranges with contrast off the charts, that reflected the city's diverse population. It was a universally recognized statement of optimism and energy much more in context with an international competition. While resurrecting '80s design isn't always a great idea, this is a classic we'd love to return to the field of play.
∙ Here Are LA's Huge Plans for the 2024 Olympics [Curbed LA]
∙ Designer Deborah Sussman Defined the Way We See a Lot of LA [Curbed LA]