Tuesday | 26 March 2024

„Life’s a pitch“

HfK professor Tania Prill and colleagues designed one of the "Best 100 Posters 2023"
Poster of the Weltformat Festival 2023
Poster of the Weltformat Festival 2023 © Design: Anna Haas, Johnson / Kingston, Herendi Artemisio, Jiri Oplatek, Tania Prill, Niklaus Troxler

The Weltformat Graphic Design Festival has been held annually in Lucerne since 2009. Anna Haas, Johnson/Kingston, Herendi Artemisio, Jiri Oplatek, Niklaus Troxler and Tania Prill, HfK Professor of Typography, designed the poster for the 2023 edition. It was selected by a jury of the 100 Best Posters Association as one of the 100 best posters of 2023. This is probably also because it is clearly positioned conceptually and aesthetically on the theme of the Weltformat Festival, the pitches (also known as competition presentations) for the awarding of contracts in the graphic design industry. They can offer young designers in particular the chance to demonstrate their skills and secure interesting commissions. However, participating in pitches often has its downsides: Little exchange with the client, a lack of transparency and unpaid work.

Tania Prill explains why she and her colleagues wanted to change this for the design of the Weltformat poster: "When I was asked to take part in a competition for the Weltformat Festival poster on the theme of 'Life's a pitch' shortly before the summer vacations last year, I was faced with a dilemma. I was a regular festival guest and in one year I was part of the event as president of the student poster competition and in other years as an exhibitor myself. But I didn't want to take part in an unpaid pitch with six renowned design studios two weeks before the summer vacation. What's more, we, the designers, were supposed to judge our own designs at a public event in Lucerne. The request contradicted my attitude as a designer on many levels. 
Then everything turned out differently: instead of competing, we collaborated.
The poster that has now won the '100 best' award is the result of our collaboration. We joined forces to have a discussion about design competitions and to visualize our criticism. The joint design process was interesting as we all knew each other but had never worked together before. The festival committee had no idea of our collaboration. At the public judging, there was laughter, discussion, lots of questions and an anti-pitch poster. Many of the discussions continued on social media. I think our initiative shows that communication design can play a bridging role by critically questioning."

The eight-color screen-printed poster now reads: „Hi, we are: Anna, Ivan, Jiri, Niklaus, Michi, Milana, Tania and Tiziana. We were asked to design posters for the Weltformat Festival and pitch against each other. We said no, because we don’t want to participate in unpaid pitches and compete against each other. We said yes, because we want to open up a discussion of how we can work together, rather then against each other. And because thinking and designing together is fun." 

© Design: Anna Haas, Johnson / Kingston, Herendi Artemisio, Jiri Oplatek, Tania Prill, Niklaus Troxler