otl aicher visual communication - munich olympics - münchen olympia 1972

the program book with 3D spiral logo by victor vasarely -


a fantastic book!



my book is now on Amazon!


the only street photography book from Boston presently and with forewords by Gary Gumanow and Magnus Feil!


and now on iTunes!


  • Joan Michaels Paque 8y

    Is this book still available?
    If so, what is the ISBN number?

  • Eszter Hargittai 8y

    Did you find this in the library? Nice.

    Seen on your photo stream. (?)
  • magnus* 8y

    i'd love to have this book as well!
    from an aesthetic standpoint the CI that o. aicher designed for the '72 olympic games remains unmatched. it's so sad the these olympic games will always be remembered by the sinister hostage-taking!
  • Tomi Lahdesmaki 8y

    Oh how I would like to get my hands on this :)
  • pablobis 7y

    wow, great book, thanks for share it.
  • scleroplex 7y

    my pleasure :-)
  • José Ignacio Noguera Aguirre 7y

    nice spiral!
  • omissis 7y

    Scleroplex you should be praised for this work!

    I should praise as well on each page of the magazine you posted because every single image is a landmark, and testifies the '72 olympics as an occasion to manifest the concept (funny, isn't it?) behind all of Aicher's work: democracy! But I think one will be enough. Munich Olympics were the last to be really "popular", the citizen themselves did tax themselves for 1/4 of the total costs, and probably were the last to be really not crushed by sponsorships, there were almost no sponsors there; the whole concept behind the project was to have a symbolism of a universal democracy, as an exteriorization of Aicher's anti-fascist attitude : no extreme competition, non militarism, language barriers' demolition, gathering of the people with an extremely careful organization of spaces and messages. This was, in Aicher's mind, a precise responsibility of an architect and designer, that is to give his effective contribute to build a democratic place ; the color-code itself is outstanding in its concept: basically none of these colors can promptly recall a symbol or a national flag, because Olympics are for sports (IOC agreed to change then the athlete's swear from "honor of our nations" to "honor of our teams"!) . What is ultimately stunning is that the visual concept melted perfectly with the architectural concept: for example those who can't pay for a seat into Olympiastadion could go to the near hill and watch the event as well, and again a symbolism: the Olympiaberg itself was made out of WWII debrises, so to act as a "regeneration" in times of optimism....unfortunately the facts of 5-6 Sept., 1972 suddendly got everybody awoke from this utopia of universal peace and democracy....
  • scleroplex 7y

    i thank you for the lovely note omissis!

    what role did you play?
    i would love to hear your oral history.
  • omissis 7y

    No personal role, I was born in '75 ;-) ; I love graphics and design and I had a read about architectural involvement with Olympics when I stumbled across Munich. Being also a lover of the works and mostly the concept behind the Bauhaus movement I couldn't help but love Ulm School too, therefore the works of Aicher. He was the right man in the right place: his concepts are a lesson for every designer; democracy equals participation , participation needs sincerity , design and architecture should serve these purposes by solving problems in the simplest and most comprehensible way , this is what is behind Aicher's way and what was a founding rule in Bauhaus. Aicher was also in the White Rose during Nazism and acted against them in a non-violent way , then contributed to a post war rebirth of his hometown Ulm by giving free lessons to the citizens then co-founding the Ulm school which wasn't just graphics or design but a school of democracy with every single side of life. He wasn't just a great designer, he was also a great man!
  • magnus* 7y

    i should invite you for a guest lecture ;)
  • omissis 7y

  • Martin Jordan 6y

    Not Vasarely, but Coordt von Mannstein created the symbol in 1968.
  • scleroplex 6y


    vasarely made the 3D version here :-)

    you can see his signature on the cover
    and it was published by the official committee
  • Harvey Abrams 2y

    Just to clarify the Spirale design for everyone: Otl Aicher made the original spiral design. Here is the entire text from my web site where I have written about this:

    "Otl Aicher was the design commissioner for the Organizing Committee. He originally submitted his design of a "wreath of rays" in September 1967. The Organizing committee did not like it and instructed Aicher to make alternative designs, which he did. By November 1967 the Organizing Committee still did not like his submissions and they decided to have a competition for the logo. The competition was then opened to all German artists. By April 1968 there were 2,332 designs submitted and they were all rejected. On May 8, 1968 the committee went back to Aicher's original designs and chose an alternative - his wreath of rays within a spiral. The design by Otl Aicher was refined by another graphic artist, Coordt Von Mannstein of Koln who used a mathematical concept to make it a three dimensional optical illusion.
    The design was then further refined - in color - by Victor Vasarely, and is frequently mis-identified as a Vasarely piece in art literature. This symbol was then used on all Munich Olympic publications and ads. In addition to the Spirale design, Aicher created the numerous pictograms used for each sport. Aicher also selected the color scheme of muted pastels with the intention of not using any colors that were previously in the National Socialist (Nazi) flag from the World War II era. The colors red and black are nowhere to be found in the 1972 Munich Olympic designs."
    I hope this helps to properly identify the 1972 emblem - three people worked on the design: Otl Aicher, Coordt Von Mannstein and Victor Vasarely.
    Harvey Abrams (USA)
  • scleroplex 2y

    many thanks postermeister :-)
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Taken on April 4, 2007
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