otl aicher

We all already speak another language without knowing it. An intuitive, universal, timeless language, made of evidence and details: the language of pictograms.
It was Otl Aicher, a German designer, who gave its nobility to this language with infinite grammar, initiated during the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. Carefully concocted over 5 years, this language is the fruit of a collaboration with the Ulm school.
The Olympic Games are a key entry point into the world of Aicher and the Ulm School, which was, for Otl Aicher, the very expression of risk-taking: made friends with the anti-Nazi resistance group “the White Rose”, these relationships could have cost him his life in these uncertain times. Arrested in 1937, forcibly conscripted into the German army, Otl Aicher will fortunately end up deserting.
The premises of the Ulm Higher School of Design, which he founded in 1953, will be designed by Max Bill, reference in Bauhaus design. She is at the origin of visual identities and reference graphic systems, led by Otl Aicher and his students.
His graphic productions are characterized by their extreme rigor and rational rather than intuitive development. of an idea. We owe him the unmistakable Braun logo and the audacity to have locked up the national crane to make the Deutsche Lufthansa logo.
The real particularity of this designer characteristic of the International Style (or Swiss Style) lies in his approach global (and new at the time) image of the brand, which made him one of the pioneers of visual identity. This current aesthetic inspired by the “new objectivity” (Neue Sachlichkeit in German) is one of the graphic references of le gramme which, also, prefers a representation without artifice of the reality of the object.
For the 72 Olympic Games, he designed a system that combined signage, printed materials, even the uniform of the employees. Because Aicher approaches design with a resolute humanism, convinced that society in general benefits from a identity well addressed. His approach is scientific, objective, rational, and it is indeed this disillusioned character which gives it its formidable effectiveness.
It is the universality of this style, its unique belief in the absolute that continues to inspire le gramme since conception functional of its objects up to the graphic identity developed in 2019.
Dieter Rams said that “designers are dangerous to any sovereign authority”: the constitutive state of our civilization is that of determination, everything is determined by the highest authorities. It is certainly why he loved so much this profession of designer which constituted for him one of the last spaces of freedom, requiring neither a diploma nor corporatism but only and always the mastery of know-how and the result of a readable by everyone.
A convinced Darwinian, Aicher was convinced of the indeterminism of human nature, a nature changing under the test of life, accidents. A prophetic sentence for this genius who died when hit by a moped while gardening in front of his House.
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