Walk down any city street or drive on any road and in a sense, you’re surrounded by the thoughts, theories and designs of Otl Aicher.
He was one of the leading german graphic designers of the 20th century and may be best known for being the lead designer for the 1972 Munich Olympics.
One of the cultural mile-stones in the field of visual communication, the design of the XXth Olympiad was so successful because it articulated to multi-lingual/cultural audiences in an unprecedented way. The pictogram system which was devised by Aicher and his team for the games was the perfect example of simplistic information design and has now become the universal standard.
On the political front, Aicher and the Munich Olympic organizers wanted to erase reminders of the last German-held Olympics, the 1936 games in Berlin- often called the Nazi games. The aim with the Munich poster designs was to create a color framework that completely negated memories of aggressive nationalism. According to press materials, the colors were to be “heiter,” that is to say “cheerful”. Missing were the sharp black and red colors of the national flag of Germany.
Aicher’s Munich posters are full of furious energy, with style of brilliant smudged effect showing runners, gymnasts, basketball players, fencers and other athletes in action heralded by oranges, purples, blues and greens to make them look pleasingly and explosively international.
What is interesting is how Aicher’s designs were used not only in later Olympic games, but everywhere else in global public settings. Those men and women on restroom signs, the knives and forks for restaurants, the stripe that denotes everything like “no smoking” and “wheelchair access” are all part of the lexicon of our times.
*Here are 50 of his 72 Olympiad POSTERS—-> @@@@@@@@@@
*and THIS is an amazing site shows EVERYTHING he produced for the games, including tickets, badges, schedules, and pins: —–> @@@@@@@@