We, Ourselves, and Us


Festivalzentrum, Rössligasse 12


Sat 10.10.21 / 3pm

Opening hours

noon – 6pm

This exhibition gathers material submitted in response to an open call that invited graphic designers from all over the world to send in self-promotional print matter. The collection brings together more than 250 objects — ranging from business cards and stickers to refreshment wipes — and can be explored by visitors visually and tactually. In the context of the increasingly precarious working conditions in the design world, which are fuelled by pricing pressures, ever-growing competition, and a shift towards virtual representation, these material objects testify to how designers expertly and inventively present their own professional identities.

Are our clients present when it comes to the choices we make about our own professional identity? How do our work environments, specialist skills, and current trends factor in the design of these identities? How are we invested and investing in professional identity, and who do we try to attract when we design the simple but elegant business card in black and white or a colorful plastic card (evoking the chips used as payment for rides at the funfair)? What drives us to design a covetable print on a t-shirt or an expressive greeting card? The material collected in the open call suggests that many of us still take great pleasure in designing objects for our own professional identity. Browsing through these objects, we might encounter familiar names while also discovering professional identities that are new to us.

In the exhibition set-up, sleek professional identity design alternates with visuals of a more personal nature. This eclectic mix is a testimony to the narrowing gap between personal and professional identity in late capitalism. Is self-representational printed matter still relevant in an age when designers are reaching bigger and more diverse audiences online? Will this collection soon become another archive which reminds us of past practices? Or do the tactile nature and playful designs gathered in the exhibition make a unique case for preserving important parts of contemporary identity design?

Curation and scenography

Dorothee Dähler (Zurich), Stephanie Cuérel (Zurich)

Special thanks

to all designers who have sent us their printed matter