For Markus Osterwalder, a Swiss graphic designer and design historian, the branding of the Olympic Games has become something of an obsession. While most of us are content to gripe about the perceived shortcomings of committee-designed print collateral and logotypes we find dated and tired, Markus finds the ongoing development of the Olympic identity fascinating.
“Since the early 1990s,” he says, “no other topic has interested me more than the development of the design of the Olympic Games. The biggest event worldwide with unparalleled media coverage is an illustrative example of how important great design is.” To prove his interest, he’s amassed an enormous collection of archive material, from the design manuals provided to ensure the correct implementation of a given identity, to small, stuffed versions of the strange mascots the IOC insists on producing for every event.
Markus’ collection is so vast that he’s held exhibitions in Turin during the 2006 games and in seven locations in Switzerland. He’s also compiled it all into an impressive online archive, allowing you to share, at least a little, in his all-consuming obsession and wonder if come 2020 the Japanese might be able to reach the heights of Otl Aicher’s celebrated Munich designs, or if they’ll produce another Sochi for us to despair over.