The Rainbow Games

The name “dachshund” is of German origin and literally means “badger dog”, from Dachs (“badger”) and Hund (“dog”). Although “dachshund” is a German word, in modern German they are more commonly known by the name Dackel or, among hunters, Teckel. Because of their long, narrow build, they are often nicknamed wiener dog or sausage dog.

Due to the association of the breed with Germany, as well as its popularity among dog keepers in Munich, the dachshund was chosen to be the first official mascot for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, with the name Waldi.

 
 

 
 

Waldi was created by German designer Otl Aicher, who amongst others was also responsible for designing the logo for German airline Lufthansa. The Dachshund was the first official Olympic mascot, as the 1968 Winter Olympics was the first to use an unofficial mascot, which was red ball on skis named “Schuss”. Waldi was designed to represent the attributes described as required for athletes — resistance, tenacity and agility.

Waldi was based on a real long-haired Dachshund named Cherie von Birkenhof, which Aicher used as a model. Although Waldi appeared variety of different color schemes, it is occasionally reported that the main scheme was designed to match the colors of the Olympic rings, ergo, blue, green yellow, orange and green. However, there were no black or red in the main scheme, which was a conscious decision on the part of Aicher to exclude those colors related to the National Socialist Party. The 1972 games were designed to be an optimistic “Rainbow Games”. Sadly, the sporting nature of the event was largely overshadowed by the Munich massacre in which eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German police officer were killed. Five Black September terrorists died.

In 1966 Aicher was asked by the organisers of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich to become the Olympic Games’ lead designer. He was asked to create a design for the Olympics that complemented the architecture of the newly built stadium in Munich designed by Günther Behnisch. Aicher consulted with Masaru Katsumie, who had designed the previous 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

 
 

 
 

Basing his work in part on iconography for the ’64 Games, Aicher created a set of pictograms meant to provide a visual interpretation of the sport they featured so that athletes and visitors to the Olympic village and stadium could find their way around. He created pictograms using a series of grid systems and a specific bright colour palette that he chose for these Games. These designs were directly influential on the DOT pictograms, developed in 1974 by the United States Department of Transportation, which applied the same principles to standard public signage such as those for toilets and telephones; the DOT pictograms have in turn been used around the world.

 
 

 
 

Aicher used the typeface Univers for the Olympic designs. The design team produced 21 sports posters to advertise the sports at the games, using the official design colours and also including the logo and “München 1972”. The design team used a technique called “posterization” for the graphics on the posters, separating the tonal qualities from the images and using the official Munich colours for these games. This had to be produced manually as Photoshop did not exist at this time. The first of these posters that was created manually in this way was a poster of the Olympic stadium which became the official poster for these games.

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Graphic Art for the Olympic Games 1972

 
 

The desire to reach the general public was also, to a large extent, the goal of the Olympic Games that took place in Munich in 1972. It was the first time that such an event was transmitted worldwide by television and, thereby, tragically also the first time a terrorist attack was viewed globally. For the first time the overall design, created by Otl Aicher, used predominantly images instead of text. Nearly 30 international artists were commissioned by the Olympic organizers and the Bruckmann-Verlag to create editions of prints especially for the Olympic Games. The goal was to unite art and sports.

These posters were displayed all around the city of Munich and around the Olympic sites. Posters were hung in twos alongside posters designed by famous artists chosen to represent this Olympics such as David Hockney, R. B. Kitaj, Tom Wesselmann, Friedensriech Hundertwasser, Victor Vasarely, Serge Poliakoff, Allen Jones, and many others.

 
 

Pierre Soulages

 
 

Josef Albers

 
 

Eduardo Chillida

 
 

Serge Poliakoff

 
 

Friedensriech Hundertwasser

 
 

Oskar Kokoschka

 
 

Hans Hartung

 
 

Ronald Brooks Kitaj

 
 

Allen Jones

 
 

Charles Lapique

 
 

Tom Wesselmann

 
 

Victor Vasarely