Otl Aicher: Poster Designer

Otto “Otl” Aicher was a German poster designer who was famous for creating posters and pictograms for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the Rotis typeface, and pioneering the usage of stick figures in everyday signage. Aicher was also the founder of the Ulm School of Design. His pictogram designs are very unique because they show so much movement in such a simple way. The Olympic posters are also interesting because they use a unique color palette. Aicher also used the typeface to his advantage in the Olympic posters because of how clean and simple it looks on the poster, and it isn’t too distracting from the poster, as it shows what event is being sponsored and promoted for people to go to.


I think Aicher’s work is very interesting and simple. Very clean designs, crisp use of typography, unique usage of color, and the usage of a stick figure is very clever because it shows a person actually doing the thing the sign/poster is promoting (walking, running, etc).



First Image

Second Image

Third Image

Source for information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otl_Aicher


Demystifying Graphic Design: How Posters Work: Ellen Lupton

Within the first few minutes of the video, Ellen Lupton explains how to make a poster look better to the eye. The first lesson of the class has you looking at examples of political posters, which are extremely effective in portraying a message. My favorite example was the Peace March in New York City because it is an extremely effective but simple poster. It shows the peace dove with different sets of legs in different clothes.



Lupton stated that telling a story within the poster makes it an effective poster, and that imagery helps as well. I feel the imagery in the poster above works because it shows all walks of life walking underneath the same message of peace.  Another interesting example from the first lessons were the World War II posters. The poster below is very powerful visually and emotionally because it shows a drowning sailor pointing at you. He’s pointing at you because someone talked about his ship and the Germans sank it. Very simple, but very powerful.


The diagonal effect on a poster is also an effective tool because it adds a sense of energy and a more dynamic feel. The depth also is effected in a positive way. She states that the viewer of the poster needs a path to travel visually, and I feel this is an extremely effective tool because you can use it to your advantage when designing a poster. Narrative is also another important tool because it creates a “journey”, as she states.


I feel the poster above is an excellent example of making a sense of depth in a poster. The artist spelled out the name Jonathan Jones, and your eye travels along the white lettering and the black lettering. The sense of depth is used in such a unique and clever way here it makes the poster stand out from the other ones I have shown here. Another way this poster stands out from the rest is the simple use of colors here, which are blue, white, and black, but it is used in a way that is so interesting it makes it visually appealing.

Overlapping is another point she gives emphasis on. Overlapping adds even more depth with a layering system. The poster below is an example of attempting to overlap, but I feel it isn’t very effective.



I feel that the poster above shows layering in an excellent way. The sense of depth in this poster is fantastic because there is a lot going on that the eye has to see. Different colors of text, different languages, and the color of the background are a few of the strong points for this poster.

I enjoyed this video! I thought that it was fantastic, and that it helped a lot in creating some ideas for this project. I never knew there was so much that could be added/deducted from creating a poster, and I feel that some of these techniques can be used to the designers advantage.