Otl Aicher and the 1972 Munich Olympics

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Otl Aicher, also know as Otto Aicher was born 13th May 1922 in Ulm, Germany. He was one of the leading graphic designers of the 20th Century as well as an educator and author. He was renowned for his structural visual systems and typography.

During the 2nd World War he was connected to the White Rose resistance movement which opposed nazi Germany and was arrested for refusing to join the Hitler Youth. He met the Scholl family and later married the eldest sister, Inge Scholl.

In 1948 he started his own design studio in his hometown of Ulm, Buro Aicher, then help found the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) in 1953 along with Inge Scholl and Max Bill. During this pioneering development he and his students were involved in some of his most iconic visual identities, most notably Braun and Lufthansa.

In the early 70’s he lead the team that designed arguably his most famous and acclaimed work, the 1972 Munich Olympics. The pictogram system that was developed has become the standard throughout the world. They also created the first official Olympic Mascot, a multi-coloured dachshund, Waldi.

During the 1980’s Aicher wrote several books, which include: ‘The Kitchen is for Cooking” (1982), “Walking in the Desert” (1982), ‘Critique of the Automobile’ (1984) and ‘Inside the War’ (1985).

In 1988 he developed the Rotis typeface family, naming it after the domicile in the city of Leutkirch im Allgau, where he kept his studio. He lived here until he was tragically killed in a traffic accident whilst mowing his lawn on 1st September 1991.
Aicher checking munich poster