Architecture in Stuttgart is a pretty big deal. “There are more architectural firms in the city and its surrounding areas than they are architects in France,” graphic designers Steffen Knöll and Antonia Terhedebrügge tell It’s Nice That. It was for this reason that, when they were approached to design the cultural identity for an architecture festival whilst still studying at the State Academy of Art and Design Stuttgart, they knew they couldn’t say no.
They were tasked with developing the identity for Architekturnovember, a festival of talks, lectures and exhibitions bringing together Stuttgart’s three biggest schools from the subject area. The festival is run by the German Association of Architects Branch Baden-Württemberg which is an organisation aiming to emphasise and uphold high-quality architecture.
Visual identities tend to be united by some kind of visual anchor – an image or logotype that can encompass the personality or ethos of a brand or event. However, with Architekturnovember this proved more tricky as there was no one defining feature or conceptual thread that represented the month-long festival. Steffen and Antonia therefore had to create imagery that was representative of the festival without “too much conceptual meaning in one direction.”
They settled on a yellow circle as a bold, graphic symbol to draw people’s attention. This strong element is a clever reference to the circle that must be installed on all construction sites in Germany, to prove the building has been granted planning permission but also to provide a bit of sun which is “all you wish for in rainy November,” the pair joke. They coupled this with an ‘A’ and ’N’ set in typeface Graebenbach, alongside architectural photography to create posters that have visual intrigue and a clear hierarchy of information.
“We remembered that as children, construction sites were always fun to watch with their messy, chaotic but somehow choreographed atmosphere,” they explain. It’s for this reason that they included photographs of construction sites within the identity to show the beauty of a nearly finished building. This chaos is also mirrored in the design of the posters and programme brochure that utilise the slightly disorganised nature of layering as a reference to how a building actually takes shape.
Alongside the posters and brochure, Steffen and Antonia also created invites and a website (coded by Sven Tillack and Valentin Alisch) that functions as a calendar – a nod to the month in the festival’s name. They are currently in the process of developing environmental graphics and an exhibition that explores the relationship between posters and architecture (alongside Mark Julien Hahn, Franziska Doll and Jan Robert Obst) called Rundumschlag, which will include the work of CYAN, Studio Feixen and Gerwin Schmidt among many others.
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