Thursday, April 15, 2010

Die Gestalten Verlag

DGV books canonize the ephemeral, rather than considering ‘what excellent design is really capable of: elegant, functional, and at times beautiful and surprising communication’. Robert Klanten, DGV’s editor-in-chief, told Nadel he saw ‘no need for commenting in the traditional 1980s pre-digital way. I try to let the designers explain themselves in their language and not in the teacher’s voice.’ In other words, this is visual culture in the post-literate age; and if you need it explained, it’s probably not for you the first place. There’s another more interesting question that hangs over DGV books: are they spotting design trends or are they making them? There’s a temptation to see DGV as a sort of black-polo-necked style lab manufacturing ready-made fads that sweep through the world of design and fashion, thus reinforcing its status as graphic design’s premier cool hunter. It was certainly the first publisher to spot the arrival of the new digital decorativeness with Romantik (2003); while it did not invent the trend for cartouches and flourishes that has infested visual communication in recent years, it certainly contributed to its promulgation.