Otl Aicher – Graphic Designer (May 13, 1922, Ulm – September 1, 1991, Günzburg)
This time, from NARAN-HO Design, specialist in web design in and from Marbella, we are going to talk about Otl Aicher, one of the most influential European graphic designers of the second half of the 20th century, a forerunner of corporate identity, always under his philosophy: function before form.
Otl Aicher studied sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Munich. In 1953, together with his wife Inge Scholl and artist Max Bill, he founded the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm (HfG, Ulm School of Design). The HfG became one of the leading centers for design education in Germany between 1953 and 1968. Unlike the Bauhaus, it discarded art and the exaltation of form for its own sake, focusing on function and integration. of design in the industrial world.
To make his designs, Otl Aicher used a grid system to structure the space. He used it freely, creating a mixture of rigor and freedom. This, together with the intellectual development of the HfG, made him a great designer, considering design as an instrument of order in the environment.
He is considered one of the forerunners of the concept of corporate identity. He is also known for developing pictograms – easy-to-understand figures in any language. In 1954 he applied this idea, together with Hans Gugelot, in the renewal of the corporate image of the Braun company. In addition, he collaborated in the redesign of several products.
Perhaps his best known work is that of the 1972 Munich Olympics. Aicher worked on creating the logo for the games, plus the pictograms for all sports, so that athletes, journalists and visitors could quickly locate the facilities. He made posters to promote the event and created the first Olympic mascot: the dog Waldi.
Otl Aicher was also a great typographer. His most famous typeface is Traffic, which is still used at the airport and on public transport in Munich. He received multiple awards for this work, including the first Innsbruck Typography Prize (1958)
His name is also associated with the Bulthaup company. Aicher is so involved in kitchen design that he understands them as a living space rather than a workplace. After this, he published the book “The kitchen is for cooking” (1982)
From the 1980s, Otl Aicher began working with Norman Foster. In 1989, they worked on the design of the Metro Bilbao corporate image. The project was based on the architecture and the integration of the metro in the city, its culture and its landscape.
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In design man becomes what he is. Animals have language and perception as well, but they do not design.