otl aicher


It’s important I suppose to write about one’s design inspirations.  Sometimes, it can feel like I’ve completely absorbed them and don’t need to revisit them, and then, I do and discover something completely new. Or, more often, I realize that I’ve creatively drifted without realizing it, and spend a long night staring at design books, trying to find my equilibrium.

Otl Aicher was someone I came to both early and late.   Later when I knew his work as a designer, I became mildly obsessed with him, as though having his Munich ’72 Olympic iconography as my bedroom wallpaper as a kid somehow connected us across the vast spans of time.  I invested more relevance in his than perhaps is necessary, but every time, his graphics still represent an ideal I aspire to.





Found: Modernist Psychology Design

My aunt and uncle are psychologists out in New Jersey. I was visiting their house the other day, and found these awesome 60’s/70’s psychology books in a book shelf. There’s a joke about designers never reading the copy they’re laying out. I look at these designs and I think “oh, how smart and mod and classy” and then there’s a double-take about the content.

Some of these have great great moments – the interplay of the type in The Mind’s Fate is really very smart.  Pathways to Madness I enjoy for it’s retro charm – it looks like an early sci-fi poster.  The illustration on The Abusing Family is a classic example of a kind of illustration that you don’t get to see much anymore.  And look at all that Avant Garde! Clearly the typeface of the psychology establishment.









I am not awesome at being one of those people who capture ephemeral moments with their camera phones.   I walked past this sign every day for a couple years on my way to work – eventually I took a picture.  It’s a sort-of fun example of something Herb Lubalin (or here) might have done, but I can’t find any evidence that it’s him.  It stands out, at any rate, for being a great kind of awful – over-the-top finials and found shapes within the letters make it so 70’s, but still sorta cool.

The more pertinent question is: what’s the appropriate term for somethng like Lubalin without being Lubalin?  Lubalin-esque?  Lubalinian?  Herb-like?