Mexico Olympics, 1968 – graphics and design

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Superb design, a rival to both Montreal and Munich, if not superior to both. Thanks to the Canadian Design Resource for pointing this out.

Lance Wyman was the designer for the graphics for the ’68 Olympics, and did it on a minimal budget. It so often seems that the application of money produces inferior design, not better, but that’s a topic for another post, or book. In Lance Wyman’s own words, “Graphic design became an important visual ambassador for the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games. It was the first time the games were hosted by a Latin American nation. In planning for the games, Mexico, an emerging third world nation, could not afford to make the extensive architectural statement made in Tokyo four years earlier. Graphic design contributed to the ambiance of the Mexican games and helped to make a meaningful visual impact for fewer pesos.” (To read his whole statement, go here.)

Mexico '68 Olympics logotype

The Mexico 1968 logotype, based on traditional forms from the Mexican culture as well as being Sixties Op-art kinetic typography, set the tone for the entire graphics system. It was designed by integrating the official five ring Olympic symbol into the number 68 to create a parallel ine typography that suggested imagery found in Mexican preHispanic art and Mexican folk art. The logotype powerfully expressed a sense of place and culture and visually exclaimed the Games were in Mexico.”

Most of the photos below are via Graphic Ambient. To see Olympics graphics and design done badly, see the Vancouver 2010 effort. (Or London.)

Lance Wyman’s website is here and also see the page for his Mexico ’68 logotype.

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8 Responses to “Mexico Olympics, 1968 – graphics and design”

  1. Joe Says:

    Absolutely gorgeous.

  2. LB Says:

    I know. What happened? Something happened to graphic design after 1980.

  3. iinekore Says:

    that is incredibly wonderful. i entirely agree with your comment.

  4. Alex Morrison Says:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_6560000/newsid_6567900/6567953.stm?bw=nb&mp=wm&news=1&ms3=6&ms_javascript=true&bbcws=2

  5. LB Says:

    Yes. How long is it that people have been saying the Olympics need to be rethought? The student in that video calling them “a diversion for the rich that the poor are paying for” … And that same huge police presence. It’s weird that 11 were murdered in Munich and that’s remembered, but the 25 anti-Olympic student protesters shot in the leadup to Mexico aren’t as well known. Mexico’s more remembered for the black power salutes by the black athletes on the podium:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/17/newsid_3535000/3535348.stm

  6. Sami Says:

    The torch is gorgeous! Brilliant on so many levels, it keeps with the op-art poster theme yet it’s very distinctive in its own way. It also evokes a bundle of small rods, which would be a natural form for a torch.

    It’s amazing how unremarkable (if not downright ugly) are most of the more recent olympic torches:

    http://gizmodo.com/5032853/the-olympic-torch-transformed-over-history

  7. LB Says:

    I know. Do you like any of the ones in that link? I don’t. None of them even comes close to any of the 70s torches. Especially the Mexican one, which might be my favourite.

  8. Graphic Design Classics: Lance Wyman | The Pixellogo Blog: Graphic Design, Logo Reviews, Tips & Tutorials Says:

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