Otl Aicher and the 1972 Munich Olympics


When it comes to my top three most influential designers of all time, the list includes Josef Muller-Brockmann, Wim Crouwel, and Otl Aicher.

Otl Aicher is a legendary designer and one of the most influential graphic designers of the 20th Century. He’s responsible for many incredible designs, but he’s most famous for the work he did for the 1972 Munich Olympics. He created a beautiful and elegant design system on top of a functional grid system for the entire games that covered all visual aspects including posters, books, catalogues, flags, mascots, medals, tickets and stationery.

To honor all this work and to create an ongoing collection, this site was created. The collection includes pieces that span the entire visual identity for the games, many of which I’ve never seen before.

A few months ago an exhibit was held in San Jose California that focused on all the work done by Aicher for the games. What I would have done to have been able to see it in person. If you’re one of the unlucky souls who wasn’t able to visit, there is a Flickr set of the exhibit.

Recently, I’ve become obsessed with obtaining items from the games. Considering that the Olympics happened in the 70’s and it’s become pretty popular among the design community, most of it is hard to find and expensive. I’ve managed to get my hands on a few things, which I’ll be photographing and adding to my Flickr page very soon, but my “holy grail” is Die Spiele (The Games), a 3 volume set covering the design, execution and usage of the entire visual identity for the games. It’s a damn gold mine! I’ve seen it on ebay only 3 times in the last year and all 3 times I’ve lost the auction because the price went too high. I’ll get a set one day. Anyway, here is a nice Flickr set showing the interior pages of Die Spiele. Get a bib because you’re going to drool.

The image above is the from the excellent Blanka Flickr set. You can also see more juicy stuff here and here and in the Otl Aicher Group.        

8 Comments on "Otl Aicher and the 1972 Munich Olympics"

  • Nikolay says

    This is an instant addition to my top 3 posts from you.
    Great work, great.

    • Antonio says

      Nikolay, which are the other 2? 🙂

  • I absolutely love these materials by Otl Aicher. Thanks for all the links, they will certainly prove to be a great inspiration.

    And good luck next time you’re bidding on ebay.

  • luiz says

    here you can download these books

    • Antonio says

      Luiz, I was looking for that look but couldn’t find it. Thanks for posting it.

  • Gorgeous, your research for this post is great. Very informative!

  • Kelvin says

    We probably keep bidding against each other.

  • Thanks for the reminder. I wonder what guys like that could do with today technology