Posted on 28 May 2010 in:

Hey! Munich now has an Otl Aicher Street—Otl-Aicher-Straße, in German. Otl Aicher (1922–1991) was one of the leading graphic designers in post-war Germany. I could write up a short and spiffy biography, but instead I’d rather just link to Wikipedia. The city of Munich just named a street after him, which I think is a good thing. Aicher was responsible for the corporate design of the 1972 Olympic Summer Games in Munich. He successfully managed to give Munich—and Germany—a young, vibrant, and peaceful image. No small feat. Just for this, that Otl Aicher stret sign should have gone up in 1973.

Looking at Aicher’s total career, I confess to slightly less enthusiasm. It is best for me not to say much about his typefaces; his book typography strikes me as rather wonky. In his seminal 1988 Typographie, all German text is set lowercase, yet the English translation in the next column over is set normally—with both upper and lowercase. I understand that for Aicher, eliminating capital letters from German was a social and political statement, not just a design trick. But why not be consistent throughout all the book’s languages?

Anyway, I hope that there is a beer garden in that new street. If there is, any designer passing through Munich needs to stop in and raise a glass. More information, in German, is available on these two sites: Slanted and otl-aicher-strasse.de