Art&Culture

Where’s Waldi?

No other creature has captured quite as many hearts and designers sensibilities as the 1972 Summer Olympic mascot.

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Where’s Waldi?

When someone mentions the phrase ‘Olympic Mascot’ it is easy to conjure an image of a strangely Japanese inspired collection of alien looking beings that have been moulded to tick off as many olympic brand values as possible.

If we look back a little further to the era when mascots resembled actual animals, almost every courageous beast has been utilised from lions to eagles to bears, however none of these creatures has captured quite as many hearts and designers sensibilities as the 1972 Summer Olympic mascot Waldi.

Created by German design legend Otl Aicher, Waldi stood, some what ironically, for the olympic values of resistance, tenacity and agility. He also carried a political agenda by incorporating all the olympic colours except red and black in an anti Nazi statement devised by Aicher who strongly opposed the movement and refused to join the Hitler Youth.

The resulting muted colour palette somehow gives Waldi’s clean lines a purer and more stylish feel than his more recent generic counterparts, who I’m sure would struggle to convey more than a message of motion, life and triumph, or whatever the current olympic core values may be.

The considered and precise lines of the petite canine’s form are typical of Aicher’s clean modernist design and were used for the route of the marathon through the city of Munich. The various parts of the hound were represented by different areas of the city with the mouth being in the Nymphenburg Park, the belly — the main downtown street and in true German style, the rear end in the English Garden.

With his proud stance and dapper striped attire it’s hard not to love this little guy, which is possibly why over two million Waldi related products were sold during and even years after the games he represented.


All artwork created by Otl Aicher
To find out more about Otl Aicher’s work visit this website
You can find some of the original artwork on sale here


Images resourced through Flickr

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