Selling the Munich '72 Olympics
As we prepare our special Olympics issue, one of the most interesting finds we've encountered is the official Munich '72 merchandise catalogue, courtesy of Ian McLaren who worked for Otl Aicher's design team. Here, the famous 'wreath of rays' emblem is applied to a whole range of products, revealing that the Munich Games was as keen to capitalise on its image as any modern Olympics...
The catalogue was made in 1971 by the Hamburg company, Fahnen-Fleck. The firm produced some of the Munich '72 promotional items contained within (flags, banners, embroidered badges and textiles) and designed everything else through its newly formed Olympic Souvenir department, headed up by Sigrid Schüler.
The company's current owner Andreas Fleck in fact provided the PDF of the 1972 catalogue you see here (while McLaren kindly let us photograph his original copy for the forthcoming issue). Fleck tells us that his father Heinz was an adviser to the Olympic Committee in Munich, and responsible for the marketing, design and distribution of the official souvenirs. Olympic Souvenir then licensed other German companies to make the products.
According to McLaren's correspondence with former Munich colleague Nick Roericht, the only souvienir designed directly by Aicher's studio was Waldi, the official mascot of the Games. Waldi's creation was overseen by Elena Winschermann. Roericht recalls that Aicher apparently agreed to design the mascot "because of its symbolic statement," but that, "he couldn't get used to the idea of designing all these unfunctional things". Hence Waldi appears in the official Munich Design Manual, but the other souvenirs do not.
Compared to the sports, cultural and 'artists' posters produced for the '72 Olympics, the famous pictograms and the sunburst emblem, the merchandise reveals a different side to the Munich Games, but one that ultimately remained under the control of Aicher's design guidelines for using the logotype and symbol.
But for me it's certainly an eye-opener that one of the Games most celebrated for its rational, modernist approach, with its inflections of the Bauhaus and the Ulm school directly influencing Aicher's Munich studio model, also found a space for inflatable Waldis, vinyl records, umbrellas, tumblers, aprons, matchbooks, keyrings, even ceramic candle holders.
Aicher's aim had been to bring a sense of lightness and optimism to the Munich Games, ridding the spectre of the 1936 Olympics in the process. So in a way, while the commercial reality of the Games is on show in the catalogue, it's also its playful side Games, epitomised in the page of Waldi-related material (a nod to the wooden toys of the Bauhaus), which comes through.
The August issue of CR, our Olympics special, features an interview with Munich designer Ian McLaren. The exhibition Munich '72 is on now at the Herbert Read Gallery at UCA Canterbury. CR's Olympics issue is out July 25
CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here
CR in Print
The July issue of Creative Review features a piece exploring the past and future of the dingbat. Plus a look at the potential of paper electronics and printed apps, how a new generation of documentary filmmakers is making use of the web, current logo trends, a review of MoMA New York's group show on art and type, thoughts on how design may help save Greece and much more. Also, in Monograph this month we showcase a host of rejected design work put together by two Kingston students.
Please note, CR is no longer stocked in WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your independent newsagent can order it for you or you can search for your nearest stockist here. Alternatively, email Laura McQueen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call her on 020 7970 4878 to buy a copy direct from us. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 292 3703 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.
This has made my day! Many thanks. I could look at the branding for the 72 games all day. Great stuff
very nice work, I like
I have bad memories about the Olympics , but this is good work , thanks
Can we stop with this '72 olympic? is was cool 10 years ago....
John is right. I think we can all agree 2002 was a huge year for the 1972 Olympics, but come on, it's 2012 and we're bored.
|Channel 4's NewsWall presents the news, in GIFs (9)|
|Sagmeister & Walsh and the robbery that never was (15)|
|RightsInfo: the online guide to human rights (3)|
|Our picks from Pick Me Up 2015 (3)|
|Graphic designer? GD& want to hear from you (3)|
|If Apple can, why can’t you?|
|See the other side to homelessness|
|How Fredrik Bond achieved an 'epic strut' for Moneysupermarket.com|
|Volvo LifePaint: awesome new product or PR stunt?|
|New Honda ad is a feat of technical wizardry|