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Designing for the Olympics

The exhibition will be open from
8th of July to 3rd of October, 2022.

The Olympic Games took place in Munich in 1972. 
This is exactly 50 years ago.
Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum is therefore 
making this exhibition.
The biggest sports competitions in the world are: 
the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.
The Paralympic Games are for athletes with disabilities.
The design for Olympia always matches the country, 
the games are being held in.

Thereby, the games constantly inspire new ideas in design.
The Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games are 
not only competitions for athletes.

They are also like a competition for
sports outfitters and 
for venues.
The sports outfitters always make special clothes, 
shoes, and sports equipment for the athletes.
But the different countries have different clothes. 
The venues have a special design too:

for example with the colours, the fonts or

the clothes of the employees.
Like this, the Olympic Games and 
the Paralympic Games will always be unique.
For the Olympic Games 1972, Otl Aicher considered, 
which colours can be unique for Munich.
Otl Aicher was an important German Designer. 
He designed the posters, the program booklets,
and the sign posts, for example.

The museum shows many examples of design 
for the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games 
before and after 1972.

The exhibition has 2 parts.
More than 350 objects are shown on 2 floors.
Objects are the things that you can see in an exhibition.
The objects show the diversity of design in these sports competitions.
On the ground floor, 
you will see:
• posters
• medals
• mascots

These are usually figurines or soft toys.

They are supposed to bring luck.
• sports equipment
• sports clothes
• measuring instruments

for example stop watches
• photo cameras and photos from 1972
• the equipment of the lodgings for the athletes and 
from the sports fields.

On the second floor, 
you will see objects and pictograms
 from winter sports
and from summer sports.
A pictogram is a very simple drawing.
It shows with a few strokes,
what is the most important in a type of sport.

You can see from the examples 
how the pictograms for the different types of sport 
have evolved.

These institutions support the exhibition:
• Freunde der Pinakothek der Moderne

• Allianz

• Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung




About the Summer Olympics and 
the Winter Olympics
On the ground floor you see lots of objects from 
the Summer Olympic Games and
the Winter Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games happen in a different county every 4 years.
The objects show,

people do many different kinds of sport.

There is different equipment depending on the sport you do.

For example, equipment for racing a sled or a suit for skiing.

There are also sport shoes.

Sport shoes are called a serial product.

This means companies make a lot of them.
As well as the Olympic Games,

there are also the Paralympic Games.

This is a sports competition for people with disabilities.

The sports equipment for the Paralympic Games is 
always of a high quality.

Usually equipment needs to be changed a little bit so 
that people at the Paralympics
can do the sport.

For example:

a mono-skibob with one ski and a special seat or 
a racing wheelchair.
There are rules for sports equipment and sports clothing.
The rules make things fair for everyone.

The sports federations set rules for all countries.

Sports equipment and clothing are getting
better and better.

This helps the athletes to do better in their sports.

Because equipment is getting better sometimes 
the rules have to change to keep things fair.

Olympic Games and Paralympic Games

Summer Olympic Games
3 thousand years ago the Olympic Games were 
created in Greece.

Then the Olympic Games were forgotten
for a long time.

It was only about 120 years ago that they took place again.

That was in 1896 in the city of Athens in Greece.

It changes all the time which and how 
many types of sport there are.

For example,

a sport that used to be included was:
spear throwing.

People have used the spear as a weapon since ancient times.

Today it is made of a different material than 
it was at that time.

But the shape of the spear is still the same.

Today modern sports are part of
the Olympic Games,

for example horse riding, shooting or fencing.

These sports come from the military.

Swimming, cycling and track and field athletics are also 
part of all Olympic Games.

Track and field athletics are all sports
with 
running, jumping and throwing.

More people and also young athletes should be present
at the Olympic Games.

That is why there are new competitions in cycling.

These are Cross-country and freestyle.

Cross-country means: across the country.

You cycle across lots of different areas like hills and on the flat.

You cycle for a long distance.

Freestyle means:

the cyclists do jumps and figures in the air.

Since the Olympic Summer Games in
Japan 1 year ago

skateboarding, wave-riding and sport-climbing are 
also part of the Games.

Paralympic Summer Games
The Paralympic Summer Games have been taking place since 1960.

The first place to hold the Paralympics was 
the city of Rome in Italy.

Athletes with disabilities compete in different sports.

For example in long jump, running and swimming.

First Winter Olympic Games
In 1924, the first Winter Olympic Games took place
in Chamonix in Switzerland.
At that time there were these sports competitions:
• ice hockey
• ice speed skating
• cross-country skiing
• ski jumping
• biathlon

Biathlon consists of 2 sports done together:
cross-country skiing and shooting.

It was not until 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen that 
alpine skiing sports were included in the Winter Olympic Games.

These are:
• Slalom

In the slalom, the skiers ski through gates that are close together.
• Giant slalom

In giant slalom, skiers ski through gates that are further apart.
• Super-G

Super-G is an acronym for super giant slalom.

In the Super-G, the skiers ski through gates,

that are even further apart.
• Downhill

In downhill, the skiers ski very fast downhill through a few gates.
• Alpine combination

This is a mix of slalom and downhill or super-G.

These types of skiing are very popular today.

The skiers reach very high speeds of 
up to
130 kilometres per hour.

The skiers are as fast as a car on the motorway.

That’s why the skiers need to make 
a certain shape with their body when they ski.

It looks a bit like they are bending over.

This means the ski turns are not too big.

It helps to make skiing less dangerous with 
less injuries and accidents.

There are now also freestyle sports at
the Winter Games.

For example, the riders jump over moguls.

Moguls are ski slopes with small hills.

Or they make figures in the air when 
they jump over a ski jump.

First Paralympic Winter Games
The first Paralympic Winter Games took place in 
Sweden in 1976 in the city of Örnsköldsvik.

At the Paralympic Winter Games there are lots of rules
for sports equipment and sports clothing.

All equipment should be safe and easy to get hold of
for athletes with disabilities.

The equipment should not do the job for the athlete without 
them putting in any effort.

The athlete must use their strength and skill too.
This is the same for the Olympics too.

Designs used for the Olympic Games and 
the Paralympic Games

Olympics posters
The first posters for the Olympic Games were made in 1912.

The country holding the Olympics decide
who will make the posters.

The design should always match the country the games
are being held in.

They should look modern and up to date.
Looking at the posters also shows the history of graphic design.

Graphic designers create, drawings, pictures and posters.
The first poster was made for the Stockholm Olympic Games in 1912.

It was designed by Olle Hjortzberg.

He was a painter and a member of
a group of artists.

The group designed posters.

Later, graphic artists also designed the
Olympic posters.

Since 1948, only graphic designers have been making the posters.
The posters are very importan
t
in telling people about the Olympic Games.

How they look depends on the politics in the country 
where the Olympic Games took place.

An example of this is the poster by
Ludwig Hohlwein.

Hohlwein made it for the Winter Olympics

in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a town in Bavaria.

At that time, Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists ruled Germany.

The politics of the National Socialism ruled politics in Germany
 during the Second World War
and in the years before it.

The National Socialists believed, for example:

Only certain people are of value.

The poster from 1936 was like an advertisement for National Socialism.

The poster shows an athlete.

He is stretching his right arm upwards.

This is how a winner stands.

The outstretched right arm is also the so-called Hitler salute.

The history of the Paralympic Games

can be seen in the posters.

In 1972 the Paralympics were still called

the Olympic Games for the Paralyzed.

These Games took place in Heidelberg
and not in Munich.

The poster for the Paralympic Games was not as well known as 
the Olympic posters designed by graphic designer Otl Aicher.

There had not been a design that showed
 the Olympics and the Paralympics were parts of the same thing.

In 2010, the Winter Olympics took place
in Vancouver.

Vancouver is a city in Canada.

The graphic designer Ben Hulse first understood
 the posters for the two sports competitions needed to work together.

In his posters the images on the posters for the Olympic Games and 
for the Paralympic Games belong together.

The images fit together.

This was also a sign of inclusion in sport.

Inclusion means:

All people should have equal rights and opportunities.

No one should be stopped from taking part
in society.
People should not be stopped from doing sport because 
they have a disability.

Poster diversity for the Games
For the Olympic Games and for the
Paralympic Games
 many printed materials
are needed.

Printed materials are, for example, information booklets or posters.

Posters are very important for advertising.

They often already exist before the sports competitions.

They give first impressions of the countries where 
the Olympic Games take place.

During the sports competitions they serve
as decoration.

That means: They make the venues more beautiful.

2 types of posters are always available as series:

Sports posters and art posters.

Since 1964, sports posters show individual sports.

For example:

Swimming, handball or ski jumping.

Artists designed and sometimes made
the art posters.

These sports posters showed what 
the Olympic program was all about.

The posters also clearly show:

The organizers of the Olympic Games in different countries
like different art.

Tokyo 1964
In 1964, the Olympic Games took place for the first time in Japan.

That was in the city of Tokyo.

At that time, designer Masaru Katzumi set himself
a task:

He wanted to create a picture language that 
all people could understand.

Katzumi developed an imagery for
the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Today, the signs of the imagery
are called pictograms.

In 1972, Otl Aicher used the idea for these pictograms for 
the Olympic Games in Munich.

Later Aicher designed his own pictograms.

The pictograms from Tokyo in this exhibition are 
rare original pieces.

Katzumi donated them to Die Neue Sammlung more 
than 50 years ago.

The Ernst von Siemens Cultural Foundation gave support.

Nowadays, the old pictograms are in good condition again.

Medals
All professional athletes have a dream:

to win a medal at the Olympic Games or the Paralympic Games.

The medals from the Summer Games look very different from 
the medals from
the Winter Games.

The medal at the Summer Games always have
a goddess of victory on the front.

The design of the medals at the Paralympic Games can be different.

The medal at the 2022 Winter Games in Tokyo
was special:

It was the first time a medal has been made 
from reused precious metals.

This is called recycling.

This is good for the environment.
But the shiny outer layer of the medal caused
some problems.

Sometimes the layer peeled off after just
a few weeks.

The Olympic Waldi mascot
In 1972, Waldi was the mascot of the Olympic Games in Munich.

Waldi was the first offical mascot

in the history of the Olympic Games.

A mascot is usually a figurine or a soft toy.

It is supposed to bring luck.

Everyone really liked the mascot.

Waldi was a striped dachshund.
A dachshund is a small type of dog.

It is sometimes called a Sausage dog.

Waldi had several different colours on it.

Otl Aicher and Elena Winschermann choosed
the colours.

Lots of people tried to copy the mascot so they could sell it.

That was not allowed.

The fake Olympia Waldis were often larger or smaller than 
the real mascot.

Also the shape or the colours were often not right.

Torches
In the city of Olympia in Greece, the olympic flame is lit.

Sunlight shines onto a lens made of glass.

This lights the torch.

Athletes pass the fire on to other athletes
using torches.

The flame must not go out due to rain or wind.
Many weeks later, the fire arrives in the city

where the Olympic Games is being held.


All of the torches must look the same and
must be a design agreed by the country holding
the games.

In 1936, the torch relay for the Olympic Games was 
done in Berlin.

But the first idea for it came from 
a German-Jewish man called Alfred Schiff.

Today, the Torch Relay has
a special meaning:

Selected athletes from different countries carry the torches.

This shows:
The Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games
are for everyone.