Skip to content

HGK Basel 2011 Summer Design Workshop: Poster Design

July 9, 2011

Leander Eisenmann and participants in the Poster Design workshop

Yesterday was the final day of the concluding course of the 2011 Basel Summer Design Workshops at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst. Lead by Leander Eisenmann, a Zürich designer specializing in book and poster projects, the workshop provided an opportunity to experiment with the poster as a medium for communication and expression. The project brief was to design a poster for an exhibition on Type in Motion to be displayed at the Zürich Museum für Gestaltung. Additionally, Leander highly encouraged making objects by hand, by assembly of materials, or to consider other non-computer techniques as starting points to lead the investigation. Using the poster an application of the theoretical, formal, process-oriented ideas that accumulated over the three weeks of workshops seemed to me to be the perfect culmination. Personally, I found great potential and reward in letting the making of images and typographic expressions via cutting, slashing, bending, morphing, taping, and otherwise manually manipulating the materials of the poster. This approach, which is rare for my own process, certainly lead to unexpected results for me. It was a bittersweet end to an incredible three weeks in Basel.

Matthew Wizinsky with two poster compositions from the 2011 HGK Basel Poster Design workshop

Leander Eisenmann shares samples of his work

Leander Eisenmann shares samples of his work

Leander Eisenmann shares samples of his work

Konstantin Eremenko and his "world famous" Russian design system

Ediz Pinar shows off his sculptural stop motion typography concept

Ryan Severance is miraculously caught speechless by an unexpected "X" composition

Francisco Martins discusses gesture, expression, and type in motion

Albena Petrus presents her concepts on viewing distance

Valerie and the meta-poster

The world according to Mustafa Saifee

Leander Eisenmann responds to the work of Joe Maruca

Scott and Michael Danksin on typographic distortions

Kim Henn on the perception of motion and borders of legibility

Raul Peña with two poster variations on light, space, and the perception of motion

Chantrell Farley explores architecture, space, and legibility

Konstantin Eremenko discusses image, type, history, navigation, and the gridless system

For my own experimentation, I focused less on a single finished poster and more on the process of generating a range of possibilities within a seemingly narrow area of investigation.  For this kind of approach, I chose to start with as little of a preconceived direction as possible in order to let the manual assembly of materials guide the process. Rather quickly, I began focusing on narrow slashes of material that could potentially lead to a sense of motion through a variety of possible effects: via optical vibration, wave patterns, shifting planes, layered segments of typography, and so on.  This process proved to lead to a variety of possibilities that, for me, are both unexpected and a new take typography—through the manual manipulation I found the resulting images to put a stronger physical/visceral twist on the concept.

Two potential compositions from my own image and type experiments

Composition sketch for Type in Motion poster

Composition sketch for Type in Motion poster

Composition sketch for Type in Motion poster

Type in Motion, poster, 841 × 1189 mm (A0 format), 2011

Type in Motion, poster, 841 × 1189 mm (A0 format), 2011

Poster assembly materials

Taped type assembly materials

My shredded typography mask... the party is over

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2013 8:33 am

    Where can I read information about the cost of this program? Cheers

  2. Marcia Boynton permalink
    July 9, 2011 12:04 pm

    Destruction generates creation??? Cut/morph/slice/shred….. the green one would support your water themed work.

    • July 29, 2011 10:51 am

      Marcia— great comments!
      Philosophically, the answer would be yes… I think so. If destruction is dis-assembly/demolition/reduction of components of some entity, whether it’s a physical object, a concept, or some natural elements, then this opens up material, space, and energy for the creation of new possibilities. Don’t the two sides of an argument consist of the same elements structured differently? And, any “thing” whose impact, meaning, or function is greater than the sum of its parts will be a wholly new construction—even if from the same selection of parts.

      The next interesting question is what happens to the original if its elements are re-purposed into something else? Is the original still there? Does it exist in memory? And, what’s that? (see my project on Theseus’s Paradox, which was asking just this question through images)

      In this case, however, I don’t think destruction is really in the process. It may be only a difference of degree, but I consider this to be simply manipulation of material in search of unforeseen possibilities. Slicing, cutting, morphing, etc. the material doesn’t destroy so much as reveal the infinite potential within the very tight constraints of a single sheet of paper with three words on it. And, of course, every possibility carries its own new connotations, new meanings, new purposes, and distinct affectivity. An entire universe of potential within the tiniest parcel of the entire universe. Consider it job security for the curious designer.


  1. The Basel School of Design in the Summer - GRAFIC DESIGN – GRAFIC DESIGN
  2. The Basel School of Design in the Summer | Asian Correspondent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: