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Studio Lindhorst-Emme: Das Kapital ist weg — Wir sind das Kapital!

Work / Graphic Design

Studio Lindhorst-Emme visualises the “disappearance of art” in an exhibition identity

The Berlin-based design studio, Studio Lindhorst-Emme, continues to deliver well-informed design with an attention to detail. In a recent project, the studio designed the visual identity for the exhibition Das Kapital ist weg – Wir sind das Kapital! in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Until its closure a few years ago, the exhibition’s venue was home to Joseph Bueys’ iconic artwork Das Kapital, and the new exhibition aims to maintain the artwork’s democratic intentions that realised a new definition of “capital” beyond its monetary value, instead focusing on human creativity at the centre of economic thought.

Around 35 young artists filled the halls with life through their art, showcasing the fact that “young creatives are the capital” in today’s misunderstood age of materialistic capitalism. The founding designer Sven Lindhorst-Emme and his team created a self-professed “relaxed” visual identity for the exhibition. He tells It’s Nice That how the identity “radiates something young and uncomplicated” and this was achieved by “the use of some humour in the choice of objects that are central to the poster design.”

The objects in the design appear like mundane, everyday items but, in fact, they all have one thing in common. Sven explains, “they can all remove something or make it disappear.” While the eraser removes pencil markings and a lighter can destroy with its flammable powers (and obviously the shaver removes hair), these objects more poignantly, “stand as a metaphor for the disappearance of art” and the destruction of capital itself. Additionally, the handwritten text that fills the rest of the page with a broad, black nib was designed as “a logical consequence” to contrast the conceptual objects within the design – “to allow something personal and approachable to flow” from the metaphorical concept.

Importantly, the decision to include everyday objects at the centre of the posters was an aim to “arouse curiosity in those less interested in art.” The stock image-like objects appear so bluntly within the identity, passers-by can’t help but wonder what the significance of these objects is. The intrigue is unavoidable and Sven’s designs successfully pull the viewer in.

The founding designer further comments that: “People within the arts are often people with an extremely high level of education and those who don’t naturally feel at home tend to shrink into the background and feel underrepresented.” Alternatively, this exhibition offers open access to all and proudly demonstrates this accessibility in the design’s references to 60s protest posters as seen in the freedom of the handwritten type. The studio experimented widely with different handwritten characteristics, considering readability and the personal idiosyncrasies within each letterform’s stroke. In the end, it was decided that Sven’s own handwriting would grace the identity, not only “because it worked” but because it “served all purposes”. Despite this, Sven had to overcome the strangeness of “seeing [his] own handwriting on the media.”

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Studio Lindhorst-Emme: Das Kapital ist weg — Wir sind das Kapital!

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Studio Lindhorst-Emme: Das Kapital ist weg — Wir sind das Kapital!

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Studio Lindhorst-Emme: Das Kapital ist weg — Wir sind das Kapital!

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Studio Lindhorst-Emme: Das Kapital ist weg — Wir sind das Kapital!

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Studio Lindhorst-Emme: Das Kapital ist weg — Wir sind das Kapital!

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Studio Lindhorst-Emme: Das Kapital ist weg — Wir sind das Kapital!

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Studio Lindhorst-Emme: Das Kapital ist weg — Wir sind das Kapital!

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Studio Lindhorst-Emme: Das Kapital ist weg — Wir sind das Kapital!