13 November 2006

The feature this week highlights another submission from the Worldwide Identity. Lichtwitz - Büro für visuelle Kommunikation - was chosen to design and establish an international identity for the local museum complex Kusthaus Graz, of Landesmuseum Joanneum. Brooke van Mossel-Forrester conducted an email interview with Stephanie Lichtwitz in order to find out more about the unique design for the museum.

Lichtwitz was founded in 1998. Its partners, Kriso Leinfellner, Stefanie Lichtwitz and Harald Niessner, come from different backrounds, which enables Lichtwitz to work in diverse areas: corporate design, editorial and web design, exhibition and object graphics. They invite cross-disciplinary contact with other visual cultures, such as design, architecture, music and art.

Brooke: How did your design firm acquired the contract with Kunsthaus Graz?

Stefanie: In spring 2002, the Landesmuseum Joanneum made an international call for entries to the design scene to send in portfolios. Eight offices from all over europe were picked and commissioned to make a draft proposal for a new Kusthaus Graz identity. After a second round, Lichtwitz s work was chosen by the jury.

B: Do you feel that the identity for a cultural institution, such as the Museum, should be developed by a local designer or design firm?

S: No, we don t think so. To get the best quality should be the main goal. But we think a non-local designer should get into the local context and do a careful research to get a feeling for the "right language".

B:What is your perspective on the best way to represent an international image for a local cultural institution?

S: Graphic design cannot be vernacular or international, but only either professional or amateurish. Corporate design can't form an image by itself, but rather translates an image into a visual language. Cultural institutions such as Kunsthaus Graz are presenting mainly international projects and works to a local and international public, most of them tourists. For its worldwide reputation Kunsthaus Graz decided to take out ads in international art magazines.

B: In what ways does the logo aim to define what you have described as "the three dimensions in space," or provide a "tool for orientation in space"?

S: The graticule, which can be found in 3D charts or computer software, is not a practical tool here, but is used as a symbol for a coordinate system, or a framework at large for three-dimensional space.

B: Why was it decided that the logo would have no colour? How is colour then used?

S: In order to leave the artworks integrity untouched, colour comes in only through the art presented. Thus, rather monochromatric exhibitions (ie. solo exhibitions of Vera Lutter or Sol Lewitt) are presented in monochromatic posters and ads. The logo itself appears in black, white or transparent (ie. varnish).

B: While beauty may not be a goal itself, how was it achieved with this project?

S: Beauty is a side-effect of taking appropriate measures. Here, we tried to reach this by the right mix of a dominant customized typeface, the use of no colour, and strict grids and hierarchies.

For more information, contact:

Stefanie Lichtwitz
Lichtwitz Büro für visuelle Kommunikation
Mariahilferstrasse 101/3/55
1060 Vienna
T: +43-1/595 4898-60
F: +43-1/ 595 2727-27