Anthony Costa sports branding

Anthony Costa

Sports Identity & Design

Munich 1972

December 24, 2014
Munich Olympics 1972

This is a blog about how design colours our sporting imagination. What better place to start than the visionary art of Otl Aicher and his Munich 1972 design team.

For me this is the high water mark of Olympic identity design. I love the colours; bright citrus splashes on seas of bottle green and blunt cobalt blue, dotted with icy white drops of perfectly nestled print. It is vivid and dramatic, yet the work’s core communicative purpose is unclouded.

There was no Photoshop to create the layered posterisation effect. Each contour of colour was mapped by hand. What today can be done instantly without thinking required care, purpose and patience. It was the work of artists, trained in intuition.

This is thoroughly modern art. It is hopeful and adventurous; like a bloom craning up to meet a utopian sun. It favours simplicity, not because it is cheaper or easier, but because it is better. It is art that finds its purpose and ideals beyond the commercial design brief.

The art of Munich was redemptive, a bold break-away from the authoritarian aesthetics of Hitler's Olympics. Sadly Munich is remembered not for its modernist ambitions, but for the primal bloodshed that hijacked it.

Echoes of Munich’s visual language still live on. The stick-figure symbols Otl Aicher developed for each event became the basis of the DOT pictograms used around the world to identify exits, toilets, phones and all types of amenities. (Aicher was tragically killed in 1991 after being struck by a speeding car. His genius lives on everywhere you look).

Munich’s graphic archaeology is an insight into the new world that the Games hoped to herald. The images on this page and many more can be found at the extensive 1972MunichOlympics.co.uk archive.

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Olympic Basketball Olympic Swimming Olympic gymnastics Olympic yachting Munich Olympics car badge Munich olympics pictograms Olympic basketball ticket Olympic Opening Ceremony ticket Munich fencing program Munich Olympic Stadium Munich Olympics guide Munich 1972 telephone guide Olympic rowing badge Olympic guest badge Munich Waldi dog Olympic peace medal Olympic logo Olympic flag Olympic torch relay

Anthony Costa

Anthony Costa is a designer specialising in sports branding. Anthony has appeared on Fox Sports News and SEN radio and is an Australian Sports Commission Media Awards finalist. His work has been featured in The Age, The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and Sports Business Insider Australia.

Follow @CostaSports

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