Design Around the World: Germany

To coincide with this year’s April International Design Annual, we decided to pull back the grid of latitude and longitude even further and hear, firsthand, what designers in these different countries have to say about design—how their location impacts their work, how clients embrace their creativity, what’s inspiring them and what kinds of projects keep them busy.

Here, Bernd Brink from talks about design in the city that got its name from the first castle built there.
Hamburg, Germany

Where are you located, and why do you enjoy being there?
Hamburg is our hometown. It’s a very liberal city, not too fast, but always edgy.

How would you describe your style?
We like to keep our design down to the purpose, plain and simple, but always with, a) that extra touch of modern lifestyle and, b) an extravagant touch only weissraum can provide.

What kinds of design does your firm specialize in?
When we started our graphic design studio over 10 years ago, our main clients were in the music industry. Today, though still working for many musicians and labels, our main focus has moved toward corporate design, where we handle anything from logo design to business stationery, from web design to clips, depending on what our clients require.

What’s a favorite project you’ve worked on?
That was definitely the work with musician Karl Bartos (formerly with Kraftwerk). Since childhood, he was an idol of electronic culture to us. After meeting him personally, we quickly came to realize how similarly our brains work and how well our ideas and concepts harmonize. So every piece of packaging as well as the animated music video merge into a very strong corporate identity of Mr. Bartos.

What things influence your work? Where do you get your inspiration?
As long as you are open-minded, inspiration can be found anywhere—in a supermarket as well as in an art exhibition. Any object can arise from its known context if viewed from a different angle.

Do you think there’s anything that sets your location’s design aesthetic apart from other places?
We can’t really say that a kind of local design aesthetic exists, as our generation grew up with the influences of international pop culture. If anything, you could say that our style is Northern European, though we’re always open to foreign cultures. Design depends more on personality than on location.

If you were a color, what color would you be?
All colors become "weiss."

Other interviews in the series
AUTUMN:01: Sydney, Australia
BLOK DESIGN: Mexico City, Mexico
Laboratorium: Zagreb, Croatia
LeBoYe: Jakarta, Indonesia
Steinbranding: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Third World Media: Nairobi, Kenya Barcelona, Spain Hamburg, Germany
Yellow Octopus Pte Ltd: Singapore
Zetalab: Milan, Italy

HOW April 2007