Excerpt: Book
Neuland: The Future of German Graphic Design

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.

From Neuland: The Future of German Graphic Design, by Twopoints.net. Copyright 2009 by the authors and reprinted with permission from ACTAR.

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THIBAUD TISSOT Describe your working process: "I have no general recipe, but I know I'm obsessed."

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THIBAUD TISSOT What is German? "A strange mix of warmth and coldness, sometimes surprising."

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THIBAUD TISSOT Something utterly German

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KATRIN SCHACKE What is German? "Fences."

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KATRIN SCHACKE What is German design? "Vernacular, sensible, sometimes a bit chilly."

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KATRIN SCHACKE 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."

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KATRIN SCHACKE Studio surroundings

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PIXELGARTEN What is German? "Punctual, orderly, reliable. And Germany has the best sausage, so we've been told by some Japanese people."

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PIXELGARTEN What is German design? "Not, in fact, typically German. And perhaps it's also often undervalued."

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PIXELGARTEN Workplace

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PIXELGARTEN Something utterly German

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HEIMANN UND SCHWANTES What is German? "Beige. Round. Indeterminate."

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HEIMANN UND SCHWANTES What is German design? "Grass green to turquoise. Oval. Fully functional."

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HEIMANN UND SCHWANTES Something utterly German

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MATTHIAS KANTEREIT What do you aim to achieve with your work? "Transforming design into a set of instruments for the subtle shaping of ethical, social, and corporate relevance."

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MATTHIAS KANTEREIT What is German design? "From a historical perspective, for me it's the displaying of grandeur."

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MATTHIAS KANTEREIT Something utterly German

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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."

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FL@33 Workplace

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FL@33 Something utterly German

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