Anthony Costa sports branding

Anthony Costa

Sports Identity & Design

1973 IDEA Magazine Munich Olympics Feature

November 25, 2015
munich 1972 olympics design

Earlier this year I professed my adoring admiration of Otl Aicher’s artwork for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Thumbing through a 1973 edition of the venerable Japanese design magazine IDEA I found this beautiful overview of Munich’s visual masterpiece.

Munich 1972 design

Here is a translation of Hiroshi Ohchi’s article copy:

“I consider the visual image design of the XXth Olympic Games Munich 1972 was a great success. The best of all were the identity symbols for the respective events by Otl Aicher. Unlike the trictly formalised pictographs of the Tokyo Olympics, they, as a whole, achieved their ends better because they were all designed with horizontal and 45° slant lines.

Munich 1972 design

Their visual image assisted immensely in attaining effective coordination of the grand sports festival. Wherever used­–whether on a tiny ticket, on a signboard, against the backdrop of a vast stadium, or along a street­–they all emphasised the Munich Olympics and had clear identities.

Munich 1972 design

Maps indicating the locations of stadiums and grounds showed a very high level of design concept and coordination among architects, engineers and graphic artists, giving bird’s-eye views of what’s going on in the respective stadiums. They successfully ensured good communication with athletes and spectators from abroad without the aid of language.

Munich 1972 design

The Munich Olympic symbol was also used very effectively in almost all media of communication–with the corona of rays in a spiral shape appearing on TV, posters, leaflets, admission tickets, maps, etc. to drive home “This is Munich Olympics.” Every possible effort as made to avoid political tinges from the Olympics. Eight basic colors were chosen for distinction and identification. Respective posters, however, lacked variations.

Munich 1972 design

The overall colour effect of these posters as so strong that they could hardly distinguish one event from another, and only images were distinguishable. The eight colors were cerulean, white, silver, yellowish orange, green and yellow, excluding such hues as red, crimson and orange. The uniforms of athletes, referees and Games officials were identified by colors. For those of Games officials, the vivid red was added and 10 different colors (the foregoing eight colors, red and brown) were used for the combination of coats and trousers or skirts.

Architecturally, a new device­–the use of film sheets–was tried on the roofs.

Munich 1972 design

In telecasting sports events, many scientific camera techniques were mobilized to lend a beautiful and pleasant variety to the performances of athletes. Perhaps it was almost impossible to view these events more effectively than through the TV cameras.

I happened to come across the special supplement of the 1963 Berlin Olympics of the Gebrauchsgraphik [reference to German Gebrauchspgraphik International Advertising Art magazine]. The Berlin Olympics was charecterized by the beauty of uniformity and physique, while the Munich Olympics laid emphasis on harmony and goodwill. I was impressed with this big conceptional change in visual communication in 38 years.

When I visited Munich in 1970 and 1971 to see the progress of preparations for the Olympics, I witnessed little progress in the construction of facilities. In a matter of a year or so after my last visit, all these facilities had been completed. It was my pleasant surprise.”

Follow Anthony @costasports

Munich 1972 design

Anthony Costa

Anthony Costa is a designer specialising in sports branding. Anthony has appeared on Fox Sports News , 1116 SEN, ABC 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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