Rene Wanner's Poster Page


book cover Alliance Graphique Internationale, German Members, Deutsche Mitglieder 1954 - 2011

by Edited by Jianping He, designed by Uwe Loesch, published by and available from Hesign Berlin, Berlin (DE) (2011); 384 pages, 26 x 18 cm, about 500 color reproductions ; softcover in transparent book case; ISBN 978-3-9810-4-6; in german and english;

The book presents the works of all 45 members of the international designers association AGI, including those who have died. It is a history of german graphic design and introduces the best german designers in chronological order, from Helmut Lortz to Niels Schrader, with their biographical details and design philosophies.

The international association of graphic designers "Alliance Graphique Internationale" or AGI was founded in Paris in 1951 by two swiss (Donald Brun, 1909–1899; Fritz Bühler, 1909–1963) and three french graphic designers (Jean Colin, 1912–1982; Jacques Nathan-Garamond, 1910–2001; Jean Picart Le Doux, 1902–1982).

In 1954, the first german, Helmut Lortz, was accepted into this distinguished circle, and over the last 60 years, 45 german graphic designers became members, the latest one, Niels Schrader in 2010.

All of them are introduced in chronological order in this book with 8 pages each, including a one page biography and a short text about their design philosophy, by the designer himself or a colleague or art critic, and samples of their work are shown in the remaining pages. Below are the 8 pages for the german theater poster designer Volker Pfueller, b. 1939, AGI member since 1997 :

Not all AGI mebers are poster designers, especially the younger seem to branch out into visual identity, multimedia, signage, type design, exhibition design, package design, even art. Almost all of them have however included at least one poster in their work samples:

1971, Helmut Lortz (1920-2007),
member since 1954

1930, O.H.W. Hadank (1889-1965),
member since 1955

1981, Anton Stankowski (1906-1998),
member since 1956

1966, Walter Breker (1904-1980)
member since 1956

1962, Herbert W. Kapitzki (1925-2005),
member since 1958

1964, Hans Hillmann (1925-),
member since 1961

1963, Karl Oskar Blase (1925-),
member since 1964

1971, Heinz Edelmann (1934-2009) member since 1964

1982, Guenther Kieser (1930-),
member since 1964

1999, Hans Peter Hoch (1924-),
member since 1974

1963, Gunter Rambow (1938-),
member since 1974

2007, Bruno K. Wiese (1922-2011)
member since 1974

1972, Frieder Grindler (1941-),
member since 1976

1972, Holger Matthies (1940-),
member since 1976

1962, Isolde Monson-Baumgart (1935-2011),
member since 1977

c. 1970, Rolf Mueller (1940-)
member since 1976

1993, Pierre Mendell (1929-2008),
member since 1980

2010, Christof Gassner (1941-),
member since 1988

1995, Uwe Loesch (1943-),
member since 1988

1991, Feliks Buettner (1940-)
member since 1993

1993, Nicolaus Ott (1947-),
member since 1997

1991, Volker Pfueller (1939-),
member since 1997

2009, Bernard Stein (1949-),
member since 1997

2002, Helfried Hagenberg (1940-)
member since 1999

2000, Heribert Birnbach (1956-),
member since 2000

2006, Guenter Karl Bose (1951-),
member since 2000

1998, Daniela Haufe, cyan (1966-),
member since 2000

1998, Detlev Fiedler, cyan (1955-)
member since 2000

2010, Henning Wagenbreth (1962-),
member since 2002

1997, Helmut Brade (1937-),
member since 2009

1991, Dieter Feseke (1956-),
member since 2003

2009, Gerwin Schmidt (1966-)
member since 2003

2007, Markus Dressen (1971-),
member since 2004

2006, Fons Matthias Hickmann (1966-),
member since 2004

2008, Jianping He (1973-),
member since 2005

2007, Sascha Lobe (1967-)
member since 2009
AGI is now divided into national chapters which act independently from headquarters and have their own meetings, separate from the yearly international meeting. Only 4 years after Ben and Elly Boss have written their monumental international history of AGI - Graphic Design since 1950, the german branch felt the need to write their own historical survey, maybe tempted by the fact that one of their members, Jianping He, has extensive experience in graphic design publishing and has edited many award winning and popular books about graphic designers in the past years. Concentrating on Germany, he can go into more detail than in the one page summaries in the Bos book. Also his book concept is very clear and simple, like in all his publications, and it is easy to find a particular designer, while the international AGI book is a mixture of biographies, essays, anecdotes, photo souvenirs and work samples, so it is worth to have both books.

Even with a clear concept, editing this kind of book takes a lot of work, as Uwe Loesch, President of the German AGI members and the designer of the book points out. It is something of a mistery to me how Paula Scher, President of Alliance Graphique Internationale, comes to the conclusion that "It edited itself" in the preface she wrote.

I like the book for it's disciplined approach to the subject, both in style and content. It is definitely not one of the books that tries to impress the buyer with the cleverness of the author or the originality of the designer, it has a title and a table of content, and page numbers and figure captions where they belong, is comfortable to read and pleasant to look at, useful and beautiful.

home   more reviews  new publications  page created on February 11, 2012 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /