Otl Aicher


Otl Aicher is probably one of the most famous graphic designers to come out of Germany. He was responsible for the Lufthansa logo amongst other things, and had a pretty interesting life anyway - he was best friends with The Scholls, executed for their part in the White Rose resistance movement, and he even ended up marrying their older sister. The reason why I'm interested in Aicher is that I collect ephemera to do with the Munich Olympics of 1972.

Aicher was the man responsible for the massive 5 year task of overseeing over 40 graphic designers, and then bringing them together to conceive an identity that remains unprecendented in its consistent execution and innovation of visual forms, symbols and pictograms.

Never before had such a comprehesive and extensive visual identity been created which so successfully spoke a universal, integrated language. It has without doubt become one of the cultural milestones of graphic design, and remains the basis for a large part of advertising and communication to this day - with the 'stickmen' that he concieved for the games becoming one of the most recognisable graphic devices on the planet, seen on every roadsign or toilet door the world over. I have a few of the posters from the games framed on my walls - in the uk they can cost well above £100 each, but with careful looking on ebay.de you can pick one up from germany for thirty quid or so. The amount of objects they produced for the games, all within the design guidlines, is amazing, and makes for interesting collecting. anyway, I hope you like some of the designs.











7 comments:

Brit said...

Love these, thanks Worm.

I've somtimes thought about collecting european tube maps, which always appeal to me, but I seem to lack the Collecting Gene. The London one is still, IMO, the most perfect piece of practical design I've ever seen. Though British motorway and other road signs are also excellent.

Susan said...

Curiously Germanic!

Gaw said...

Very interesting to know. It's a shame we remember Munich for other reasons.

Re Brit's comment, Britain's transport signage design is generally excellent and underappreciated, I think.

zmkc said...

Brilliant. What is the font on the posters?

ghostofelberry said...

The one with the guys aiming rifles is a bit spooky, at least they're not AKs.

worm said...

brit & gaw - have either of you read 'on roads' by joe moran? There's plenty in there about the design of our UK road signs, it's actually quite an interesting story

zmkc - I dont know what font was used! I've had a good trawl of the net and havn't been able to turn up anything!

elberry - the rifles one is probably my fave! and yes it does have a certain resonance due to the events that would unfold - by the way, the sailing in that years games all took place in Kiel

Gadjo Dilo said...

I have to admit that I'm usually totally unmoved by graphic design, but that rifle-shooting poster for the 1972 Olympics is stunningly good!