Neuland – The Future of German Graphic Design reveals a previously undiscovered territory – in search of young talent that will shape the future of German graphic design. Neuland asks questions in place of providing answers: Are preconceived notions about German graphic design correct; does German graphic design really even exist? The answer to these inquires involved a journey to Germany, getting to know its German and immigrant designers, and a trip beyond Germany‘s borders, in pursuit of German designers who live abroad.
THIBAUD TISSOT Describe your working process: “I have no general recipe, but I know I’m obsessed.”, What is German? “A strange mix of warmth and coldness, sometimes surprising.”
Neuland provides a helpful map of information for designers curious about study, lectures, workshops, books, or exhibitions in Germany; those individuals that want to learn about the history of design in Germany.
KATRIN SCHACKE What is German? “Fences.”, What is German design? “Vernacular, sensible, sometimes a bit chilly.” What do you aim to achieve with your work? “I try to tempt people with pictures. Familiar things are taken out of their context and presented from an unaccustomed angle.”
The editors of Neuland, struggled with all the usual big, philosophical questions while putting their book together: What is German design? What is German? Who cares? If they were Ellen Lupton or Steven Heller, they might have spent pages upon pages ruminating on these issues. Instead, they did what any editors who are actually designers by trade might do — they asked their 51 subjects for all the answers. In mini-interviews accompanying each entry, some said German design was “a cuckoo clock,” while others described it as “strips of pork” or “a bit chilly.” Each subject was also asked to submit a picture of their studio surroundings, of their workspace, and of “something utterly German.”
PIXELGARTEN What is German? “Punctual, orderly, reliable. And Germany has the best sausage, so we’ve been told by some Japanese people.”
PIXELGARTEN What is German design? “Not, in fact, typically German. And perhaps it’s also often undervalued.”
Although the book has a lot of moving parts, it’s more than just the sum of them. As you reach the end, you may not have a firm grasp on what, if anything, makes nationality so important in one of the world’s most globalized professions, but you do get to know Germany’s next generation of talent in small but poignant ways, right down to their enduring obsession with currywurst.
FL@33 What is German design? “While I was studying in Germany in the mid-’90s I would have associated the graphics with the Bauhaus and the ULM school. Product design definitely with Braun and Siemens. Nowadays, I’m not so sure.”