20 January until 7 May 2017
Willy Fleckhaus
Design - Revolt - Rainbow

Magazine designers are not usually well-known in their own right. As art directors or graphic designers, they tend to remain in the background; their names are not included in copyright notices and will be familiar only to insiders. Willy Fleckhaus (1925-1983) is a notable exception to this rule. In the period from the 1950s to the early 1980s, Fleckhaus was one of the most innovative and influential magazine and book designers in Germany. He became internationally renowned for his groundbreaking work on the lifestyle magazine Twen, which attracted several generations of readers with its generous layouts, modern typography and distinctive photographic design. Fleckhaus’s pioneering approach involved working with leading contemporary photographers such as Will McBride, Charlotte March and Ulrich Mack – earning him the nickname of “Germany’s most expensive pencil”. The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) is presenting a major retrospective of Fleckhaus’s work, with more than 350 exhibits that include layouts from Twen and many of the original photographs used to create them; book designs for Suhrkamp and other publishers; and around 50 magazine supplements for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. Besides Twen, the name Willy Fleckhaus is associated with the news magazine Quick (in its heyday), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin (from 1980 onwards), book series such as Edition Suhrkamp with its rainbow-coloured covers, exhibition designs for the Photokina trade fair in Cologne, and the logo of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk broadcasting corporation. The comprehensive exhibition has been compiled by Hans-Michael Koetzle, a collector and expert on the work of Willy Fleckhaus, in cooperation with the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln and the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich. The Hamburg exhibition was made possible by the Hans Brökel Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Kultur.

Ill.: edition suhrkamp, Suhrkamp Verlag, design for a book series, 1963, Willy Fleckhaus, © Suhrkamp Verlag