Summer 2009

An alphabetical catwalk

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Each year, Professor Niklaus Troxler and his colleagues from the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design invite six designers from around the world to hold a workshop. This year I was invited.

For my three-day workshop, I didn’t want the students to work with their computers; they do this enough for the rest of the term. I wanted them to think directly and to build something. On the first day, my opening lecture was in two parts. In the first, I presented some projects from my own studio Prill & Vieceli ( and explained my attitude towards design: how to get an idea, how to work with mistakes and the extent to which experiments influence my work as a designer. In the second part I introduced the workshop theme, demonstrating with some images I had collected that there is no ‘definitive alphabet’ – there are thousands of variations.

Top and below: Participating students: Michael Allocca, Linda Braun, Kati Bretsch, Natalie de Gregorio, Anna Grishina, Anja Haas, Helen Hauert, Ramona Heiligensetzer, Leonie Hosoda, Tim Jüdeman, Benjamin Kivikoski, Carolin Lintl, Hanna Musen, and Pasqual Schillberg

Walk the type

Walk the type

I wanted them to be ‘true craftsmen’ and to gain experiences with different materials and fabrics. The students translated typography into fashion and developed different solutions for each letter, which we discussed as a group in terms of movement, readability, materiality and creativity. Could we find harmony between the sounds of speech and garments made from letters?

Students from the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design ‘translate typography into fashion’

The next day the production began. The students had to organise everything properly to make sure that the fashion show would go ahead on the third day. Sound and choreography had to be designed. Working in a team and making decisions together was a very important component. The workshop and show were successful and a lot of fun.

First published in Eye no. 72 vol. 18 2009

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.