Wednesday, 8:00am
7 September 2022

Graphic design live #5

Air-India’s Maharaja in New York; Otl Aicher in Zurich; AGI Open in Trieste; BBC’s ‘Kingdom of Cardboard’ in London

Graphic Design Live #5

Here are details of four of the many international exhibitions, conferences, talks and workshops taking place during September. To keep informed about the latest developments, read the Eye Events page, updated weekly.

Coming Soon
Air-India’s Maharaja: Advertising Gone Rogue
9 September 2022 —12 February 2023
Location: New York

Opening at the Poster House in New York is the story of one ‘rogue’ mascot: Air-India’s ‘Maharaja’. Originally designed in 1946 to feature on an in-flight memo pad, the Maharaja quickly became the leading character for all Air-India’s advertising campaigns. Characterised by a robust belly, strong moustache and striped turban, his antics brought him many supporters and critics over the years. The exhibition presents the advertising posters of Air-India across the years, picturing many different personas of the mascot, such as snake charmer in India, monk in Rome, or ‘lover boy’ in Paris. International audiences can join the free online curatorial tour on 11 October 2022.

The character of the Maharaja was conceived in 1946 by Bobby Kooka and illustrated by Umesh Rao.

Air-India Maharaja

Travel advertisements: [left to right] Air-India, 1969, by Jacob; Air-India / Sydney, 1963, by V. V. Shety; Air-India / Europe, 1971, by Sheela ‘Charu’ Gupte.

Air-India’s Maharaja

Final weeks
Otl Aicher’s Olympiad
until 18 September 2022
Location: Zürich

When Otl Aicher was commissioned to design the visual systems for the Olympics in 1972, he was faced with a challenging task. Held in Germany for the first time since the end of the Second World War, the focus for the designs was to capture the spirit of the games and sportsmanship as well as celebrate Munich as a future-facing city. As such, great care was taken to avoid any nationalistic references and symbolisms, starting with a bright colour scheme, and development of pictograms that were initially introduced by Yamashita Yoshirō in Tokyo 1964 games (see ‘The year of pictograms’ on the Eye Blog). The exhibition tells the story of Munich 1972 Olympics through series of posters Aicher developed with Gerhard Joksch, picturing athletes in motion.

See also, ‘Mark Holt: Games, set and dispatch’ and our review of Munich ’72: The Visual Output of Otl Aicher’s Dept. XI in Eye 101, and ‘Otl Aicher’s interjections’ by Katherine Gillieson on the Eye Blog.

The Munich 1972 Olympics were held in Germany for the first time since the end of the Second World War.

Otl Aicher's Olympics

1972 Munich Olympics posters designed by Otl Aicher and Gerhard Joksch, here picturing archery (left) and handball (right).

Otl Aicher's Olympics

Coming Soon
AGI Open Trieste
Tuesday 20 and Thursday 22 September 2022
Location: Trieste

Primarily aimed towards students, the upcoming edition of AGI Open will take place in Trieste (Italy) alongside the annual congress of Alliance Graphique Internationale [AGI], where members of the organisation meet to share ideas and discuss critical issues in design – this year under the theme of ‘together’. AGI Open’s two afternoons feature short presentations of work from AGI Italy members, including Leonardo Sonnoli and Silvana Amato, plus keynotes from Yah-Leng Yu (Foreign Policy Singapore), Astrid Stavro, Liza Enebeis (Studio Dumbar), Tereza Ruller (Rodina) and Paula Scher (Pentagram), current AGI president. On the agenda is also a design forum on ‘Relevance and Longevity’ moderated by Lucille Tenazas, where four designers and educators will lead the discussion.

Visual identity for AGI Open Trieste, designed by Studio Mut.

AGI Open Trieste

Tereza Ruller (The Rodina) is a keynote speaker on day 2 of AGI Open Trieste, 22 September 2022.

AGI Open – Rodina

Coming Soon
A Kingdom of Cardboard: Bob Richardson on the Golden Age of BBC Graphics
21 September 2022, 7–8pm (BST)
Location: St Bride Library, London + Online

Bob Richardson joined the BBC’s Presentation Department in 1977 and spent more than 30 years as an assistant in the Graphic Design Department. In that time, he documented and gathered a huge collection of ephemera, a selection of which is now on display in the exhibition ‘A Kingdom of Cardboard’ at St. Bride Printing Library. As the title suggests, cardboard was the principal material used by broadcasters to produce title screens and graphics, as well as for ‘live’ animations, such as updating game scores during matches. On Wednesday 21 September, Richardson will tell the stories behind various objects in his collection, including iconic channel idents, an illuminated Dr Who Police Box panel from 1980, studio logos used for Match of the Day and an early example of the famous Blue Peter badge.

‘A Kingdom of Cardboard‘ presents many examples of designs used by the BBC before electronic systems were introduced in 1980s.

BBC Graphics

Rear view of a cardboard contraption used to update live scores during Match of the Day.

BBC Cardboards

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