Interview Series: USOPM Graphic Design Approach
U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum
Christian Cabrera led the graphic design for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, opening this summer in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
What inspired your approach to the graphic design at USOPM?
Every four years, the Olympics resets itself visually. We wanted our approach to reflect the energy of those campaigns—the anticipation that you feel as the games approach, the larger-than-life stage that the ceremonies create. We wanted to amplify the stories but not overwhelm them, so we focused a lot of our big graphic features at the beginning and ends of galleries, where we could play to the anticipation of entering a new space.
How does the visual language throughout the museum reflect the values of Olympism/Paralympism?
I don’t think the visual language reflects the values so much as it reflects the emotion. For each and every athlete, trainer, and family member we cover in the museum, the games were the final step they spent their lifetime to achieve, a roller coaster full of challenges, setbacks, and triumphs. We wanted the spaces to reflect that, which in turn could speak to the values that are necessary to compete at this level.
What is your favorite moment in the museum?
I’ve always been in love with the interactive running track in the training gallery. Physically, we were able to create a full-scale segment of the track using material they use in the Olympics. That, combined with the full wall projection from our media partners Centre Screen makes you feel like you’re running against real athletes. My other favorite moment would be the Olympic torch display in the first gallery, they’re great pieces of individual design and give you a sense of the long span of the Games.
My other favorite moment would be the Olympic torch display in the first gallery, they’re stunning works of individual design and give you a sense of the richness of the Games.
What are your best memories working on this project?
Having athletes participate and give feedback on pieces you produce is pretty amazing and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were fortunate to have so many stakeholders help in the development of this project, helping to make it as authentic as possible.
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