Munich ’72 Design Legacy


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The Olympic Games are nearly upon us again, and in what has become an accompanying tradition, that means it’s time to lament the current installment’s graphic design. The look of this year’s games is, well, it’s terrible, but every recent Olympiad must contend with what is widely considered the high watermark of design for the franchise: Otl Aicher’s seminal work for the 1972 games in Munich.

Munich ’72

For those too appalled by the 2012 graphical identity, starting at the end of this month you can drive ninety minutes outside of London to Canterbury, Kent, where the University for the Creative Arts is hosting an exhibition and symposium on the design legacy of Munich ’72 The project draws on the personal collection of Ian McLaren, who was a senior designer for that Olympiad, and the companion Web site previews much of the material. For completists, be sure to also check out the unaffiliated site Otl Aicher and the 1972 Munich Olympics.



  1. i’m not even pretending to understand design, but although that looks “good” to me, can’t say it doesn’t look “dated”.

    isn’t great design supposed to be timeless? this screams 70ies..

  2. I think Mexico City ’68 and Munich ’72 are the one-two punch of great Olympic design. Even though there have been some notable efforts since then (Vancouver ’10 was particularly nice, IMO) I’ve yet to see any campaigns that resonate with me as much as those two.

  3. I think the London 2012 logo caused so much controversy because they released it on its lonesome, without its branding to back it up. On its own it’s pretty weak, and I can understand peoples outbursts. But personally I think the branding in its entirety works really well. The event iconography on the tickets look great! (Check them out here if you haven’t seen them yet: link)

    Will it stand the test of time like the Mexico City 1968 branding? Probably not, theres still a lot of public controversy behind it unfortunately, but who knows!

  4. I don’t think it looks dated at all. If anything is dated (only a little, though), it might be the colors.

    I so love Otl Aicher’s work. I have students read an article about this branding campaign every time I teach an identity design class. Classic design history.

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