Tag der Deutschen Einheit/Day of German Unity showcase celebrating German graphic designer Otl Aicher (1922-1991)


Post of a male swimmer diving into a pool
Date and Time 
October 3, 2022
2:00pm to 4:00pm
Room 123, Hohbach Hall, Green Library

For the German national holiday Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity) on Monday, October 3rd, 2022, there will be a showcase of rare materials and works to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of German graphic designer Otl Aicher (1922-1991).

The influential co-founder of the Ulm School of Design, Aicher designed numerous logos for companies such as Lufthansa, but his most famous legacy is as the head of the design team for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. These Olympics were intended to present a cheerful and optimistic atmosphere and to represent West Germany to the world in a welcoming light, to contrast with last time the Olympics were held under Hitler in Berlin, Germany, in 1936. Tragically, the 1972 Olympics saw a horrific incident in which 12 people (11 Israeli athletes and coaches and 1 West German policeman) were taken hostage and then killed by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September. 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of these Olympics, and on October 19th, there will be an event at Stanford (MUNICH: An Evening with Tony Kushner) discussing the 2005 film Munich based on this event, and how it is remembered in Germany, Israel, and the United States.

The 1972 Olympics were also remarkable for their comprehensive graphic design, covering not just print and the sports and informational pictograms, but souvenirs, stadium decoration, signable, and the first official Olympic mascot, Waldi the dachshund. On display will be original posters from the 1972 Olympics by artists such as David Hockney, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Serge Poliakoff, Jan Lenica, Jacob Lawrence, Josef Albers, Tom Wesselmann, Max Bill and others.

The Day of German Unity celebrates the anniversary of German reunification in 1990, when East and West Germany were re-united after decades of separation following WWII. In 1990, Stanford University Libraries began actively acquiring primary source collections related to culture and cultural politics in East Germany, both in response to changing research interests and because more GDR items became available for acquisition.