The XIX Olympiad was distinct from former Olympic Games in that architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, president of the Organizing Committee, promoted the creation of a unique graphic identity and easily legible visual program characterized by simple shapes and vivid colors. To this end, the committee contracted Mexican and foreign designers to produce a large bulk of graphic material in a remarkable short time, including publications, posters, tickets, labels, decorative papers, traffic signs, souvenirs, and postage stamps.
The production of stamps is an Olympic tradition that harks back to 1896, when the modern games first resumed. For this event, Greece issued a set of twelve stamps, one for each competitive event. Since then, both host nations and participating countries issue postage stamps to commemorate the games. In 1968 Mexico issued several series of stamps with illustrations of pre-Hispanic ceramics referencing competitive sports, sketches of athletic themes by Diego Rivera, and silhouettes of athletes by Lance Wyman (b. 1937), an American graphic designer responsible for the iconic Mexico ’68 logotype. Carlos Mérida’s studies illustrate various competitive events as well as the iconic Olympic rings. His proposed postage stamps are representative of the artist’s later style, with an emphasis on geometric shapes and bold colors. While it appears that the Organizing Committee did not select Mérida’s designs, the images are emblematic of the distinct branding adopted for the games.
Ellen Dooley, Assistant Curator, Latin American Art