The editors of Neuland, a recent compendium of up-and-coming German graphic designers, 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.”
Although the book has a lot of moving parts — a selection of which we’ve presented here — 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.