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Ein offener Brief führender Grafikdesigner*innen fordert die Stiftung Buchkunst heraus

If you would like to sign the open letter, please visit https://secure.avaaz.org/de/petition/Stiftung_Buchkunst_Stiftung_Buchkunst_Wider_das_schoene_deutsche_Buch/?cFBbxnb

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The case against “the beautiful (German) book”

Design is always political. It would be irresponsible to think of graphic design today as any different, because (graphic) design influences our hyper-mediatised day-to-day lives more strongly than practically any other aesthetic discipline.

In view of capitalist appropriations and an increasing populist distortion of language and communication, graphic design in general and book design in particular must be an arena of differentiated aesthetic action: it is an integral part of our language and writing culture, an arena within which social transformations are developed and implemented. The interplay between action, testing, and application describes an open process that calls for experimentation and pragmatism in equal measure. To think of book design in a primarily affirmative way and in terms of commercial exploitation is an inappropriate and irresponsible act of narrowing. After all, aesthetics criticism goes further than any marketing strategy. Thus, there is a need for a forum to promote and propagate this central aspect of critical/aesthetic cultural activity.

The Stiftung Buchkunst aims to be such a place. However, if one reviews the Stiftung’s work over the past few years, one inevitably has the impression that the Stiftung misunderstands “the beautiful book” as a marketable edification accessory with the potential to yield good returns, whilst systematically obscuring the national and international discourse of critical book aesthetics. In short: the Stiftung Buchkunst operates like a national interest group for the printing and publishing industry, not like an institution that promotes culture and is conscious of culture’s best interests, intended to reflect vibrant book art and book design discourses.

As the signatories of this open letter, we thus wish to argue for an alternative and transnational discourse on the aesthetics of books within and outside of the Stiftung Buchkunst that reflects the wide spectrum of reflection and innovation in book design and also reflects artistic experimentation – regardless of whether it takes place in the context of the market, in cultural institutions, or in universities.

This means that we need panels of judges that do not demarcate these different contexts in hostile and hierarchical terms, but instead can detect outstanding book design and bring it into the discussion. If this type of approach cannot be established within the Stiftung Buchkunst, then we call for an alternative institution concerned with the discourse of book art, which can work shoulder to shoulder and on the same level with international juries.

Initiators

  • Ingo Offermanns
    Professor of Graphics
    Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (Hamburg University of the Fine Arts)
  • Markus Dreßen
    Professor of Graphic Design
    Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig (University of Graphic and Book Art Leipzig)
  • Markus Weisbeck
    Professor of Graphic Design
    Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (The Bauhaus University Weimar)

Signatories

  • Fons Hickman
    Professor of Graphic Design / Communication Design
    Universität der Künste Berlin (University of the Arts Berlin)
  • Ulrike Stoltz
    Professor of Typography
    Hochschule für bildende Künste Braunschweig (University of the Arts Braunschweig)
  • Roman Wilhelm
    Deputy Professor of Typography
    Hochschule für bildende Künste Braunschweig (University of the Arts Braunschweig)
  • Tania Prill
    Professor of Typography
    Hochschule für Künste Bremen/Department Kunst und Design (University of the Arts Bremen/Department for Art and Design)
  • Andrea Rauschenbusch
    Professor of Communication Design, Corporate Design
    Hochschule für Künste Bremen/Department Kunst und Design (University of the Arts Bremen/Department for Art and Design)
  • Ulrike Brückner
    Professor of the Fundamentals of Design/Conception and Drafting
    Fachhochschule Dortmund (Technical University Dortmund)
  • Lars Harmsen
    Professor of Conception and Drafting/Typography and Layout
    Fachhochschule Dortmund (Technical University Dortmund)
  • Sabine an Huef
    Professor of Graphic Design
    Fachhochschule Dortmund (Technical University Dortmund)
  • Victor Malsy
    Professor of Typography
    Hochschule Düsseldorf (University of Düsseldorf)
  • Andreas Uebele
    Professor für Typografie, Buchgestaltung
    Hochschule Düsseldorf
  • Anna Berkenbusch
    Professor for Communication Design
    Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle (Burg Giebichenstein Art University, Halle)
  • Sabine Golde
    Professor of Book Art
    Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle (Burg Giebichenstein Art University, Halle)
  • Matthias Görlich
    Professor of Communication Design/Information Design
    Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle (Burg Giebichenstein Art University, Halle)
  • Andrea Tinnes
    Professor of Lettering and Typography
    Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle (Burg Giebichenstein Art University, Halle)
  • Heike Grebin
    Professor of Typography
    Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg (University of the Applied Sciences, Hamburg)
  • Dorothee Weinlich
    Professor of Communication Design, Typography/Corporate Design
    Hochschule Hannover (University of Hannover)
  • Michael Kryenbühl
    Professor for Communication Design/Design with Digital and Network Media
    Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe (State University for Design, Karlsruhe)
  • Sereina Rothenberger
    Professor of Communication Design
    Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe (State University for Design, Karlsruhe)
  • Ivan Weiss
    Professor of Communication Design/Design with Digital and Network Media
    Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe (State University for Design, Karlsruhe)
  • Gabriele Franziska Götz
    Professor of Visual Communication/ Editorial Design
    Universität Kassel | Kunsthochschule (University of Kassel | Art University)
  • Ludovic Balland
    Professor of Typography and Editorial Design
    Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig (University of Graphic and Book Art, Leipzig)
  • Stephan Müller
    Professor für Type-Design
    Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig
  • Sascha Lobe
    Professor of Typography
    Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach (University of Design, Offenbach)
  • Indra Kupferschmid
    Professorin für Kommunikationsdesign/Typografie
    Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, Saarbrücken (University of Fine Art Saar, Saarbrücken)
  • Uli Cluss
    Professor of Communication Design
    Staatliche Akademie der bildenden Künste Stuttgart (State Academy of the Fine Arts, Stuttgart)
  • Gerwin Schmidt
    Professor of Communication Design
    Staatliche Akademie der bildenden Künste Stuttgart (State Academy of the Fine Arts, Stuttgart)
  • Uta Kopp
    Guest Professor of Typography and Book Design
    Kunstakademie Münster