Wreath of Rays


The following information was written by Harvey Abrams of State College, Pennsylvania,
and is used with permission.

 
 

1972 Munich Olympics Logo

 
 

Otl Aicher originally submitted his design of a “wreath of rays” in September 1967. The Organizing committee did not like it and instructed Aicher to make alternative designs, which he did. By November 1967 the Organizing Committee still did not like his submissions and they decided to have a competition for the logo. The competition was then opened to all German artists. By April 1968 there were 2,332 designs submitted and they were all rejected. On May 8, 1968 the committee went back to Aicher’s original designs and chose an alternative – his wreath of rays within a spiral. The design by Otl Aicher was refined by another graphic artist, Coordt Von Mannstein of Koln who used a mathematical concept to make it a three dimensional optical illusion.

 
 

 
 

The design was then further refined – in color – by Victor Vasarely, and is frequently mis-identified as a Vasarely piece in art literature. This symbol was then used on all Munich Olympic publications and ads. In addition to the Spirale design, Aicher created the numerous pictograms used for each sport. Aicher also selected the color scheme of muted pastels with the intention of not using any colors that were previously in the National Socialist (Nazi) flag from the World War II era. The colors red and black are nowhere to be found in the 1972 Munich Olympic designs.

 
 

Kraft und Natur, Victor Vasarely, 1972

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