Was War Design?
The graphic identity of the conference “Was War Design?” (what was design?) included a poster and folded flyer to announce the event. Leftover flyers were then repurposed as covers for the program booklet for the attendees, bound together with a rubber band. A custom display type was developed, inspired by stencil fonts, LCD typography and cuneiform characters of early writing systems. The attempt was to create letter shapes that are both historic and futuristic, ageless yet ancient, fitting to the approach of the conference. The question of what design once was, tackles its progressive orientation. Since the modern age, design has been created for a future that needed to be improved—by design. The idea of feasibility and changeability is symptomatic in such concepts and has left its mark on our present day, referencing both the future and the past. The symposium touched on concepts of retro and neo, questioning the age-old promise of timeless design. It was hosted by the Institute for History and Theory of Design on 8–9 December 2017 at the Charlotte Salomon Hall of the Berlin University of the Arts and organised by Tashy Endres, Susanne Hauser, Lutz Hengst, Kathrin Peters and Judith Siegmund.