‘All new!’ describes not just ambitious design standards, but above all the sphere of influence of a reform movement called ’Neues Frankfurt’ (New Frankfurt). The overarching goal of this 1920s modernization process was to shape a new society. To highlight this aspect, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Art) is showing a comprehensive retrospective about the importance of writing and communication design (ends 21 August 2016). The exhibition shows around 1,000 milestones of modern visual design from Frankfurt, from the first decades of the 20th century through the post-war era and well into the 1980s. ’100 Years of New Typography and New Graphic Design in Frankfurt am Main’ is rounded off by contemporary interventions in the form of statements by Frankfurt designers.

Black. White. Silver. The large-area colour scheme of the exhibition design creates a worthy framework for the various theme areas. A single typeface is used throughout: Futura Bold, probably the best-known and most globally successful font of the 20th century. It was designed in Frankfurt am Main by Paul Renner in 1927, and promptly marketed worldwide by the Frankfurt Bauersche Font Foundry. Close-ups of individual items add extra impact; these include a stylized Frankfurt ‘Adler’ typewriter, provocative pictograms from the 1960s, and style-defining letters such as the letter ‘f’ in three versions: Gothic, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Front Page. Front Page in particular spans an arc to the present day.
Matte silver picture mats showcase the twelve present-day pieces. Their colour is a subtle reference to a Californian company’s computer housings, and hence the tools designers use. The individual works are equally humorous and contextual, if not more so. As a result, exhibition visitors discover not just a slice of Frankfurt design history, but the occasional socio-critical stumbling block too.


Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt am Main

Exhibition design:

Atelier Markgraph, Frankfurt am Main


Klaus Klemp, Friedrich Friedl, Peter Zizka, Matthias Wagner K

Exhibition director:

David Beikirch


Stefan Beuttler

Exhibition builders:

Nadine Auth, Johannes Grehl, Florian Hundt, Peter Otterbein, Katrin Trost

Exhibit and wall lettering:

Martin Color, Frankfurt am Main, Drechsler Medien, Geithain


Sabine Maurischat, Christian Dressen

Museum technicians:

Marcel Bode, Tilo Kohl

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