NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

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Neshan 27


Bruno K. Wiese - Visual ideas

Jens Mueller

Bruno K. Wiese (born 1922) belongs to a generation of German design personalities, that left behind the so called “Gebrauchsgraphik” (advertising art) after World War II, and set with his works and doing the basics for that what we call “graphic design” today. His basic understanding of design is based on the influence of his teacher O.H.W. Hadank, who was one of the leading brand designers of the 1920s and 1930s. With his works for cigarette corporations and the ink-producer “Pelikan”, he is rather a representative of a classic design approch, but with a sympathy for modernism in design. Wiese has the opportunity to study at Hadanks final seminars held at Berlin Academy of Fine Arts between 1945 and 1949. In this classes Wiese meets his later wife Ruth, and after finishing their studies they initally become assistents at Hadanks commerical studio and open their own studio in Hamburg in the year 1954.

It is the so called West-German years of “Wirtschaftswunder” (economic miracle), that Wiese starts his self-employment career in. As a former student and employee of Hadank, many doors are open for him - particularly in the growing cigarette industry. Wiese’s commissions as a designer of logotypes and packaging-drafts for many cigarette brands gives him a secure income for many years. Simultaneously he participates in many open design contests, which were very pouplar back then in Germany. On one occasion he wins the branding-contest of a sparkling-wine-manufacturer in a competition of hundreds of entrys, and as the trade press reported “with a big lead”. In the end of the 1960s Wiese becomes a member in the selected group of designers for special issue stamps of the Federal Postage Service of Germany. For more than three decades he regularly succeeds with his drafts, that are later printed and published by the million.

In 1971 and 1982 Bruno K. Wiese wins the reknown poster contest of the annual sailing-fest “Kieler Woche”. That contest was set up in the 1950s and was limited to five leading designers. During the 1960s it became one of the most notable international design competitions. In the following years Wiese is asked to be the constant expert adjudicator of the “Kieler Woche”-contest, alongside with the art historican Fritz Seitz. Over twenty years the team Wiese-Seitz is shaping the competition, they select designers to participate and - with their ongoing facination for good graphic design - are helping many drafts to become accepted by the rather conservative city council of Kiel.

The “Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt” (German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics) is searching for a new logotype in 1975 through a competition. Wiese wins the contest with a constructive logo draft, that consists of two overlaying forms, that can be interpreted as a landing, starting and flying airplane. This logo is still in use and can today be counted among the most concise Germany identities. It is a typical example of Wiese’s works since the 1970s: A combination of graphic constructivism combined with a more or less hidden simple visual idea. This approach can be found in many of his works, including his annual new years greeting cards, where there is always a geometric-typographic clou regarding the date.

An all new chapter in Wiese’s carreer begins in 1980: After a few years of lecturing he is appointed to a professorship in graphic design at University of Applied Sciences Kiel. As a proficient and humorus teacher he shares his his knowledge and vision of design with numerous students. His work in the field of graphic design continues even as a professor emeritus. A visual identity for “Haus der Geschichte”, one of the most important new museum projects of its time in Germany, is designed by him, after winning a competition in the early 1990s. Many more posters and logotypes have been designed by Wiese since. In August 2011 he dies in Hamburg at the age of 89. Bruno K. Wiese will be remembered as an important representative of modernist graphic design.

Jens Mueller

Born in Koblenz/Germany, 1982. Apprenticeship in advertising agency and printery. Diploma and Master-Degree in graphic design from University of Applied Sciences Dusseldorf. Since 2007 Designer of stamps for German Ministry of Finance. 2009-2012 partner of „müller,weiland“ design studio. 2013 Winner of international design w „Kieler Woche“, with Karen Weiland. Since 2009 editor of „A5“ book series about graphic design history. Since 2012 Creative Director of "optik" design studio in Düsseldorf. Winner of national and international design awards. Author of several articles and books on graphic design history.

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