FGD1 The Archive
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FGD1 The Archive

ERCO (1976)

by Otl Aicher

ERCO, a German Manufacturer that specialises in architectural lighting produces illumination systems that create light but maintain a discrete visibility, making the company more based around the efficiency and the economical factors of the product than the ‘fashion’ of the product.

ERCO are however supporters of design in the industry and in the early 1970’s they wanted a complete re-brand. Otl Aicher was a designer whom had caught ERCO’s attention with his designs used for the 1972 Munich Olympic games.

In 1974, Aicher was hired by ERCO to make a series of pictograms for back lit signage based off his work on the Olympic games.

He was also consulted about ERCO’s use of Helvetica as it’s corporate typeface for the logo. Aicher believed he could create a better graphic identity for the companies image therefore he convinced them that ERCO needed a new logo. Aicher used the prolific and grotesque typeface Univers, influenced by Aicher’s connection to the Bauhaus, this modern logotype seems a lot more fitting for the company with it’s clean style. However he didn’t stop there. To help reflect the company ‘ideology’ of creating light with discrete visibility, he cleverly used the font in four decreasing weights, which makes the ‘ERCO’ look like it is lighting up from the right just from the use of a slight gradient.

However this idea of design of the logo lighting up was incorporated around the whole of ERCO’s corporate identity. Aicher went on to apply this to all of its marketing material and even using yellow chrysanthemums in the waiting as he believed these had the best connotations of reflecting light.

Aicher’s work for ERCO has become an example of modernist design, which successfully establishes a relationship between design and industry and the importance of branding and visual communication. This clearly shows how important Aicher was to the industry world as he helped communicate the company image through the power of design.

Otl Aicher later went on to design the Rotis typeface in 1988 which has become very popular with various companies including ERCO with its clean, modern face with varied stroke widths. The Rotis typeface also came in serif, semi-serif and sans serif, which provides the best quality without ruining how it looks to the eye.

Rotis Typeface



An Archive of Graphic Design by Year 1 Graphic Design Students at Edinburgh Napier University

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