Munich '72 – The cheerful Games
Coordt von Mannstein's 1968 logo for the 1972 Summer Olympics
The first German Summer Olympic Games was held in Berlin in 1936. What followed was the tragic and global upheaval of WWII. Eager to repair the damage, the West German Government saw the Munich Olympics, to take place in 1972, as an opportunity to present a democratic and optimistic Germany to the world. The official motto, "Die heiteren Spiele" or "The cheerful Games" captured this sentiment, and was a guiding light in the design of the Games’ visual identity, developed by Otl Aicher’s Dept. XI and overseen by Willi Daume, president of the West German Olympic Committee. The design of the Munich ’72 emblem was not straightforward. It went on to involve many designers, took over a year and and cost 80,000DM.
The initial form of the emblem began as a proposal submitted by Otl Aicher. This represented a crown of light rays, symbolising the spirit of the Munich Games with a ‘light’, ‘fresh’ and ‘generous’ image. This was met with a mixed responses from the public  and contradictory reporting on whether the committee favoured or disfavoured this at the time. There was, however, a consensus that the proposal lacked the distinguishing qualities that would afford it a legally protectable status. Aicher went on to developed further ideas but these were also met with the same response.
In an attempt to drive the process forward, the design of the emblem was opened up to international graphic artists, with 2,332 designs submitted. But again, the results were unsatisfactory. “Even beer mats, radishes and hearts were formed into Olympic Rings by amateurish hands”. Looking for alternatives, four graphic artists were tasked with generating further ideas, and developing Aicher’s original design. These were Herbert Kapitki, Coordt von Mannstein, Klaus Winterhage and Zimmermann-Aussitzliche.
The guiding principle for the design was…