We express our gratitude for the abundance of events that characterized the recent festival. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of all artists, speakers, and volunteers who made the Weltformat Graphic Design Festival2023 an unforgettable event. The festival has once again delighted us with inspiring ideas, fascinating talks, and creative works. Join us as we immerse ourselves in the unforgettable moments of the festival—here are some captivating impressions and highlights!
In the Lens of the World Format Festival
In the 15th edition of the Weltformat Graphic Design Festival, the theme "Life's a Pitch" took center stage, as we illuminated and reflectively analyzed it in all its facets. It provided a platform that highlighted the ambivalence of participating in pitches within the graphic design scene. Nearly all graphic designers confront this issue at some point in their careers. Pitches, especially for students, offer the opportunity to showcase their talent and secure exciting projects. In this year's edition of the Weltformat Festival, we dedicated ourselves to this widely discussed theme, exploring the various motivations for organizing and participating in pitches. Additionally, we showcased successful examples of well-organized pitches where the value of graphic work is recognized from the outset.
The symposium at the beginning, the Newcomer Award, and the wide range of exhibitions focused on the current developments in the pitch domain of graphic design. They presented ways to create fair pitch situations and strengthen collaboration to work together on projects. These platforms provided an excellent opportunity for exchange between graphic designers and a broad audience. Of course, traditional exhibitions such as the 100 Best Posters and the Most Beautiful Books from around the World also constituted highlights that were enthusiastically received.
The opening event at the Neubad Pool, following the festival's first day, provided a perfect conclusion to the evening. During the festival dinner, it offered all attendees the opportunity to interact, establish new connections, and reunite after an extended period. The diverse framework of the program presented a plethora of entertainment options, including the Typotombola, where guests answered questions for a chance to win prizes like the new festival merchandise. Additionally, there was a small exhibition featuring all Weltformat posters as an anniversary special. The team from Studio Kolljguyer promoted collaboration among designers with their self-developed project tool called "Me, We, Us." At the end of the evening, this culminated in an exhibition showcasing 8 posters.
Aligning with this year's theme, we invited seven esteemed designers Anna Haas (Fribourg),Herendi Artemisio (Zürich), Johnson/Kingston (Bern/Luzern), Jiri Oplatek (Claudiabasel, Basel), Tania Prill (Zürich) and Niklaus Troxler (Willisau) to create our official festival poster and collectively serve as the jury to select the winning design. However, their protest action during the judging process was a surprising and lasting moment. The designers used the platform of the poster presentation competition to voice their objection against exploitative pitch culture. Together, they took the stage and unveiled the poster they had collaboratively created. Through their protest infused with design, they actively advocated for collaboration, solidarity, and a dialogue-oriented approach to promote understanding among attendees and within the design scene. Their proclamation: "We were asked to design a poster for the Weltformat Festival and pitch against each other. We said no and we said yes. And thats why: We said no, because we dont want to partivipate in unpaid pitches and compete against each other. We said yes, because we want to open up a discussion about how we an work together, rather than against each other. And because thinking and working together is great fun. Pitch is a bitch». Our sincere gratitude goes to their courage and collective commitment to our community.
Another highlight of this festival edition was the annual Symposium, which took place at Stattkino. National and international designers addressed the theme "Life's a Pitch" at this year's symposium, sharing their experiences with competition presentations. It was a great pleasure to listen to our esteemed guests as they spoke about their insights and experiences related to pitching. Leonie Felber (Bern) and Josh Schaub (Zürich) curated, organized, and moderated the two blocks excellently. Our speakers: 2xGoldstein (Karlsruhe) shared their experiences as jury members at the Kieler Woche. Martyna Wędzicka-Obuchowicz (Gdansk) discussed the pitching landscape in Poland and the collaborative aspects of working on joint projects. Manuela Pfrunder (Flums) reported on the process of redesigning Swiss banknotes. Christian Haas (Zürich) recounted his experiences with pitches and his work at the Raffinierie agency. Finally, two of the three invited studios presented their pitch for the ETH series on Architectural Knowledge and engaged in a discussion with a representative from the jury. Ivan Weiss represented Johnson/Kingston (Bern), Nayla Baumgartner represented Data-Orbit (St. Gallen), and Vinzenz Meyner represented the gta Verlag (Zürich).
A heartfelt thank you goes to the hosts, all participants, and, of course, our audience, who made this day an unforgettable experience and inspired us with their contributions and questions. We are grateful for the opportunity to discover new perspectives together.
The workshops held this year in the Graphic Design Department of Lucerne School of Graphic Design, located in the Viscosisstadt, offered a wide array of choices. These workshops provided participants with the opportunity to collaborate with esteemed designers and learn new design techniques. This year, the nine workshops were divided into two categories: The Work like-Workshop focused on guiding participants on how to design in a leadership role for a full day. These workshops were led by Balmer Hählen, Martyna Wedzika, and Kleon. The six Skill Workshops were conducted by Syndicom (Entrepreneurship Start), Hanna Züllig (Creative Coding), Josh Schaub (After Effects Basics), Ted Davis (Generative AR-Poster), Céline Odermatt (Variable Fonts), and Paulina Zybinska (VJ Touch Designer). These workshops provided an opportunity to delve into a new subject for an afternoon.
Kieler Woche Plakate
The Kieler Woche is not only Europe's largest sailing regatta but also a massive city festival that attracts people from all over Germany. Over the years, this annual event has evolved into a prestigious design competition. Since 1959, five selected designers or design studios are invited each year to participate in a pitch to create the poster for the following event. They not only receive a written briefing but are also invited to Kieler Woche for a weekend to experience everything firsthand on-site. The theme of the poster remains unchanged over the years, providing a unique insight into the development of European graphic design through the designs of the last sixty years. In our exhibition, we presented not only all the winning designs but also a broad selection of designs from participating teams for the first time. Thus, 400 posters were displayed in the Kunsthalle. The list of winners and participants reads like a who's who of graphic design. Prominent names such as Anton Stankowski, Ruedi Baur, Wim Crouwel, Cyan, Alan Fletcher, Josef Müller-Brockmann, and Rosmarie Tissi can be found among them. 2xGoldstein (Karlsruhe) introduced us to the exhibition curated by Josh Schaub, providing insights and inaugurating the exhibition.
The Neubad Plakat
The Lucerne cultural and studio space Neubad celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2023. Throughout this entire decade, an impressive collection of black and white posters has accumulated, reflecting the diversity and distinctive character of Neubad as well as the artistry of black and white posters. Visitors had the opportunity to step into the Sic-Elephanthouse within the Neubad Posters Exhibition, adorned with 120 Neubad posters. They marveled at the impressive black and white posters created over the last ten years by over 100 international artists for the Lucerne cultural space Neubad.
The exhibition Lost Pitches underscored the value of competition and represented the destigmatization of failure. Lost Pitches showcased an alternative world with works that never reached the public, inviting a glimpse into design concepts from renowned studios. In the creative industry, lost pitches are an experience nearly all entrepreneurs, designers, or artists go through at some point. While winning a pitch undoubtedly provides an uplifting sense of appreciation and success, lost pitches should by no means be viewed as failures. Recognition is due to the works that didn't quite make it to the top of the ladder. With the acknowledgment they deserve, they foster an exchange of diverse perspectives and discussions.
Newcomer Award 2023
The Weltformat Graphic Design Festival once again showcased interesting and surprising designs from young emerging designers this year, providing a platform to present their creativity and talent. The challenge was to optimally present the theme "Look at Me" on posters in the streets. In the midst of intense competition, posters had to vie for the viewer's attention. Each individual poster aimed to stand out from the crowd with an outstanding idea or striking motif. The top twenty projects were presented in an F4 exhibition in front of the Luzerner Kantonalbank.
During the awards ceremony on the opening night of the festival, Zoë Boudreau's (Toronto) poster was crowned the winner of the jury prize. Following the exhibition, the winning poster was displayed at 500 locations nationwide, reaching a broad audience through an advertising campaign valued at CHF 30,000, made possible by APG|SGA. The Audience Award, selected from the twenty nominated posters through online voting, went to Eliot Elsaesser (Bern). He received a CHF 500 voucher provided by Grilli Type.
The Graphic Bazaar, featuring 19 designers, was once again hosted at Neubad this year. It provides designers with the opportunity to showcase and directly sell their printed works. The participant list for the Graphic Bazaar was impressive, including renowned designers such as Dafi Kühne, Erich Brechbühl, ECAL, HKB, Collectif Aristide, Kollektiv Sammelsurium, SAFU, and Amadeus Waltenspühl. The bazaar offered visitors a fantastic chance to explore the works of these talented artists and purchase their favorites to cherish as keepsakes.
To close the festival, Weltformat hosted its infamous party! This event not only proved to be a magnet for creative minds in the design world but above all, an unrestrained, accessible gathering with top DJs from the electronic scene. Thanks to the unique atmosphere created by the visuals by Paulina Zybinska and the soundscapes by Vera Amberg, Daughter in law, Scheppērt, and Beaurice, the night transformed into a day full of pulsating energy and creativity.
This year's Weltformat Graphic Design Festival was finally accompanied by a well-researched magazine after a prolonged hiatus. Our magazine team collected content and conducted interviews with personalities such as Beni Bischof and Cristian Andersen, who discussed the necessary conditions for creative work, as well as lawyer Bernard Volker, who explained the legal foundations in pitch situations. The magazine spans 62 pages and provides content in both German and English.
For the first time, the Weltformat Graphic Design Festival even offered merchandise. Alongside books such as the Neubad Plakate Book and the 100 Best Posters 22, the beautifully designed socks, caps, scarves, and bags were showcased in the Kornschütte. All these items are currently available in the Weltformat Shop as well.