Rene Wanner's Poster Page


front cover Gunter Rambow - Schule der Plakate
designed by Andi Kliem and Birgit Schmidt, published by Verlag der Kunst, Dresden (DE) (Nov 2002); 192 pages, 17 x 21 cm, 160 full page color illustrations; softcover; ISBN 3-364-00278-9; in german; Euro 19.90 (about US$ 19)
With texts by Gunter Rambow, Rolf Sachsse, Gislind Nabakowski, Melk Imboden.

Gunter Rambow is not only a successful and very busy graphic designer, but also a longtime teacher, having started as such at the Gesamthochschule in Kassel almost thirty years ago. This book shows posters designed by his students at the Hochschule fuer Gestaltung in Karlsruhe (DE) between 1993 and now, and is, appropriately, designed by two of his students.

Rambow explains in the introduction why the traditional and somewhat dated medium "poster" still plays such a big role in a school that sees its goal in exploring the new digital media: "We just had to somehow advertise all the conferences, workshops, events, and seminars about the new technology, and besides were also flooded with requests from cultural and political institutions". What a joke, High-Tech needs the helping hand of good old posters to get off the ground! The next thing we see is a poster for Rene Wanner's Poster Page, I thought, and sure enough, a few days later Kuba Sowinski from the polish graphic design magazine 2+3D sent me a beautiful advertisement on paper for the Poster Page, but that's another story.

Meanwhile in Karlsruhe, Rambow's tough school had an extraordinary success with their student posters, always being present with several entries at the german competition for the 100 best posters of the year, but also in Brno, Warsaw, Chaumont, and even with a gold medal in Toyama.

So poster design is quite popular with the students (and many full grown graphic designers too), although it is just the icing on the big advertising cake.

1994, Gerwin Schmidt
8 groups, 8 rooms; exhibition poster
1997, Andi Kliem
Exercises with letters
1997, Matthias Megyeri
Childhood is not child's play; for a poster competition

1999, Dorothea Miletzki
2001, Juliane Otterbach
Worker's productive value

2001, Melk Imboden
Art exhibition Galerie Sust, Stansstaad (CH)
At the end of the book, there are, without any further explanation, 4 Rambow posters (from 1967, 1968, 1995 and 1999), and 3 from Werner Jeker, 4 from Michael Schirner, and 3 from Melk Imboden, maybe a special kind of homage to three of Rambow's favorite colleagues?

Imboden, a photographer, book and poster designer like Rambow, lifts the curtain a bit in his text where he recounts how Rambow asked him to be his substitute while he was on a sabbatical.

From all the texts, Imboden's article impressed me the most. He tells us in simple language how he arrived in Karlsruhe and was overwhelmed by all the advanced technology with which the students tested, and sometimes exceeded, their personal limits. He soon found out however that the basic questions remain the same: What is the difference between design and communication? How do we deal with the discrepancy between art and commerce? Should a text be readable or interesting? Should a picture describe or evoke? And he pleads that the students allow themselves the luxury of not only thinking in terms of seduction and provocation in their posters, but also perhaps play with concepts like rhythm, like musicality or poetry.

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