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Exhibition poster Otl Aicher 100 Years 100 Posters. © HFG Archive
Otl Aicher and collaborators. Olympic Games 1972 Munich Design 1970-71. © Florian Aicher HfG Archive – Museum Ulm

Even in times of digitalisation, posters still have an impact in public spaces. Even if they only circulate as a data set, they are at the same time a medium of information and graphic art. While the 19th century understood the poster primarily as an artistic medium presented in the “gallery of the street”, in the 20th century it advanced to become the preferred instrument for product advertising and political propaganda. Otl Aicher (1922 to 1991), designer, graphic artist and co-founder of the Ulm School of Design, also used posters throughout his life as a preferred means for advertising purposes, but also to take a social stand. As early as 1955, Aicher received the prize for the Best German Poster. According to the HfG archive, the medium of the poster runs through Aicher’s entire oeuvre like a red thread. He chose it for the most diverse purposes and occasions, always succeeding in a concise thematic and visual realisation. Thus, he created posters for the image of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, advertising posters for Münchner Rück, for companies such as Bulthaup, Erco or FSB – and last but not least posters on political topics, for example for the European election campaign of the SPD in 1979 or against the stationing of Pershing missiles on German soil in the 1980s.

Under the title “100 Years, 100 Posters”, the Ulm HfG Archive is presenting an exhibition from 26 March to 8 January 2023 on the occasion of Otl Aicher’s 100th birthday, which surveys his entire oeuvre in 100 posters. By concentrating on this one visual medium, according to the announcement, “many of the themes that were important to Aicher throughout his life can be brought to light”, making him “visible and tangible as a formally convincing and politically arguing designer”. The HfG Archive owns Otl Aicher’s estate and thus also central archives of his extensive work as a communication designer.

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