Letters Like Sculptures in Spechte am Meisenknödel

Spechte am Meisenknödel (“Woodpeckers at the fat ball”) is a publication for the exhibition with the same name at Ernst Barlach Haus, Hamburg. It shows works by students of Elisabeth Wagner’s sculpture class at the Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel.

Hamburg-based designers Insa Kühlcke-Schmoldt and Nina Massow from Káschem Büro have designed the entire catalogue with one typeface family only: Sombra- from title to headline to body text.
Their reflection on the design (translated from German):

“When we were thinking about the catalogue “Spechte am Meisenknödel”, it was important to us to find a design that would fit the exhibition as well as the museum itself. So we tried to let the essence of the functionalist architecture of the Barlach House influence the concept of the overall appearance by using a simple structure, a clear design of the inside section and calm and restrained colours.

We chose Sombra as a counterbalance to this simplicity. Its proportions, based on a geometric structure, are reminiscent of the formal language of classic modern architecture. At the same time, the eye-catching graphic features (for example the hairline diacritics, a high contrast, flourishing terminals and tapered details) add a refreshing contrast to the layout.

The striking title set on the grey cover subtly reflects the irony and humour of the exhibition title. The exaggerated content of woodpeckers pecking at titmouse dumplings is underlined by the visual exaggeration mirrored in Sombra’s details. The letters of Sombra Poster are sculptural objects in themselves: sharply cut, pointed inner forms like pecking beaks, letters like expressionist Barlach sculptures.”