Otl Aicher (1922 – 1991) German industrial and graphic designer

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Otl Aicher 1972 Munich Olympics: Archery poster, Sports Series 1968 -1972
Otl Aicher 1972 Munich Olympics: Archery poster, Sports Series 1968 -1972

Otl Aicher is a long standing specialist in corporate identity and much of his work is characterised by a committment to a pure line and a geometric form. As employed in the use of his pictograms.

Pictograms adopted to those of the Olympic Games 1972 in Munich, Germany

Education

From 1946 to 1947, Otl Aicher (1922 – 1991) attended the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. He later became closely affiliated with Ulm’s highly influential and radical Hochschule FΓΌr Gestaltung after founding a studio there the following year. From 1954 to 1965, he was a co-founder and lecturer in visual communication. From 1962 to 1964, he served as vice-chancellor.

Influence & Style

Max Bill, the institution’s first director and a Bauhaus graduate, had a significant impact on him. His graphic design work exudes a sense of order, geometric organisation, discipline, and functionalist ethos. While at Ulm, he worked with Hans Gugelot, another important figure at the university, on Braun products’ design and display.

1972 Munich Olympics

Aicher is best known for his graphic design programme for the 1972 Munich Olympics, including everything from uniforms and interiors to maps, street signs, and pictograms denoting individual sporting events. He also designed corporate identity graphics for Lufthansa (1962–4), Frankfurt Airport (1967–70), KΓΆnig Pilsner (1975–6), and Erco (1975–7), among others.

Otl Aicher 1972 Munich Olympics: Sports Schedule poster, 1968 -1972
Otl Aicher 1972 Munich Olympics: Sports Schedule poster, 1968 -1972

Later Years

Otl Aicher joined the kitchen company Bulthaup as a consultant in 1980. In 1988, he designed the rotis font family, named after Rotis’ home in Leutkirch am AllgΓ€u, where Aicher lived and maintained his workshop, which is still used by bulthaup today.

He also developed the logos for the University of Konstanz and Munich Airport, the latter of which is a simple sans-serif font consisting of the letter M.

Sources

Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.

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