This book is about asking and designing Questions.
When Prof. Sereina Rothenberger and Prof. David Bennewith invited graphic designers to give lectures at the University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, they noticed that there was a certain hesitation amongst the students to ask questions. They were convinced that this was not due to a lack of curiosity, but more so because the students felt they might ask the ‘wrong’ questions. So Rothenberger and Bennewith decided to come up with a seminar that was all about asking questions, which is a valuable skill for a graphic designer as well. In May 2015 they invited Marietta Eugster, Elisabeth Klement and Laura Pappa, Vier5 and Honza Zamojski to come to Otl Aicher’s ‘Institut für analoge Studien’ (Institute for analog studies) in Rotis (Germany). They repeated the seminar in November 2017 and invited Wayne Daly, Veronica Ditting, Manuel Krebs (Norm), Vinca Kruk (Metahaven) and Monika Maus to Rotis.
Over two days, the invited designers were interviewed in a myriad of ways by the students, whose assignment it was to learn to conceive, ask, and design questions. Each interview in the book is designed by a group of students that developed and conducted the interview. Part of the assignment was to design a typeface for each interview which was based on Otl Aichers ‘Rotis’, released in 1989. ‘Rotis’ is a universal typeface that is somehow stuck in its time. All the more remarkable were the redesigns by the students which were developed in the seminar. The results all together are a wild mix of aesthetics that are influenced by the students perspective on the works and the interview subjects.
A team of three students – Friederike Spielmannleitner, Simon Knebl and Béla Meiers – summarized the interviews and designed the book using their font ‘Aach’ which is based on typographic sketches for the 1972 Summer Olympics they found in Aicher’s old studio complex. The varied content of the interviews is conspicuously structured into two sections, one for each visit to Rotis. The colors of the book represents the different seasonal atmospheres. The winter-purple and spring-yellow are also a homage to the color tones they discovered in Aicher’s work. The two sections are joined by a chapter of illustrative collages that intend to give an atmospheric insight into the trip to Rotis. Through the clear structure of the book and a design that forms perceivable brackets, the book looks more ‘candy marshmallow’ than ‘stone monolith’ and becomes an object.
The work produced by students of all age groups is maybe the most contemporary insight you can have in graphic design, since the work reflects their momentary curiosity. It is interesting to question how there is already a visible difference between the designs that were produced in the 2015 edition in comparison to the designs from 2017.
Massimiliano Audretsch, Lorena Castro, Timothée Charon, Adrian Dickhoff, Matthias Gieselmann, Laurine Haller, Johannes Hucht, Bruno Jacoby, Desiree Kabis, Rana Karan, Simon Knebl, Janosch Kratz, Calvin Kudufia, Béla Meiers, Yannick Nuss, Sun Young Oh, Tatjana Pfeiffer, Kathrin Rüll, Simon Schelsky, Henrik Schmitz, Ioanna Spanachi, Tatjana Stürmer, Marcel Strauß, Henriette Wehking, Hendrik Whelan, Jannis Zell, Roman Zimmermanns, Shuaitong Zong
David Bennewith & Sereina Rothenberger für die Staatliche Hoschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe
Béla Meiers, Simon Knebl, Friederike Spielmannleitner