The visual identity for the 1972 Olympic games is a remarkable design achievement, and any organization could learn an important lesson from this body of work. From posters to signage to a cohesive icon program, it is a classic brand program across many platforms.
The visual language of the games was developed by the renowned German designer Otl Aicher (1922–1991). Aicher was a leading figure of the International Typographic Style in graphic design. This design approach works within a tightly defined grid system and utilizes sans-serif typefaces, such as Univers, which Aicher used for the 1972 Olympic campaign.
These posters showcase the overarching visual consistency (typography, composition, illustration style) paired with an individual approach for each event (imagery, color palette, logo placement). In addition, Aichter and his design team pioneered the first comprehensive set of pictograms, used to communicate each sporting event in a universal system of fully-integrated symbols. A pretty good idea, considering that there are 23 official languages in the European Union alone.
Consistency, repetition, and a sense of style: it makes for a great athlete, and a strong brand image.