Light Speed

Stephen Osman of EACH studio on Otl Aicher's logotype for ERCO, which demonstrates the power of a strong designer-client relationship...

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Otl Aicher

Four letters, in four descending weights of Univers. A subtle gradient of black and white that captures the essence of what the company provides: light. In understanding this fundamental principal, Otl Aicher was able to create this elegantly simple marque for the lighting manufacturer, ERCO. Although I come back to the logo for its visual appeal time and time again, it is the underlying relationship between client and designer that I enjoy the most about it.  

Aicher was originally approached by ERCO about the pictograms he and his team had produced for the Munich ’72 Olympics, as ERCO wanted to see whether they could be used by the company. During one meeting, Klaus Jürgen Maack, the director of ERCO, asked for Aicher’s opinion on their existing marque. His reply: “In five years... they will no longer use this,” and so Maack challenged him to produce a better one.

This began a creative partnership that lasted 17 years, and resulted in an identity that is still in use today. Their collaboration was born from an inherent respect and understanding of the others aims. As such Aicher investigated everything for them from print, to retail spaces, colour theory and illustration. He even considered the best species of flower to have in the offices. But it was this dedication to communicating the values of ERCO and what its lights could do for the built environment that makes it special.

Its strength is not just down to its endurance, but the trust they each had in each other to realise a vision.

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Image © ERCO

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Image © ERCO

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Image © ERCO