Weltformat Graphic Design Festival

Weltformat Graphic Design Festival

Life’s a Pitch

Author: Nina Vollmer

The Weltformat Graphic Design Festival in Lucerne once again includes six exhibitions this year, a symposium with international graphic artists, a competition for newcomers, and the well-known graphic bazaar. It’s already the 15th time the festival is taking place. Under the motto “Life’s a Pitch,” the organizers want to bring the competitive aspects of the graphic design industry to a wider audience, while also showcasing the seemingly endless variety of designs and possibilities in modern times. At the same time, the nine-day event reflects the exciting range of current trends in both digital and analog design.

Life’s a Pitch - The Festival Theme 2023
Participating in pitches is something that almost all graphic designers have to deal with sooner or later. Especially for young designers, it offers the opportunity to showcase their skills and secure interesting projects. Unfortunately, participating in pitches often has its downsides: limited interaction with clients, lack of transparency, and unpaid work are just some of the issues that concern us this year.

Background on this year’s festival poster
The Weltformat Festival poster is designed by a different designer every year. Due to the festival theme “Life’s a Pitch,”the plan this year was to turn it into a pitch and invite six studios to participate. The designers were supposed to act as the jury and select the winning poster from their own submissions. However, it turned out differently than expected, as the designers joined forces to make a statement against unfair pitch culture. They unveiled their jointly designed poster with the following statement:

“We were asked to design a poster for the Weltformat Festival and pitch against each other. We said no and we said yes. And that’s why: 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 about how we can work together, rather than against each other. And because thinking and working together is great fun. Pitch is a bitch.” Anna Haas, Herendi Artemisio, Jiri Oplatek, Johnson / Kingston, Tania Prill, Niklaus Troxler

Main Exhibition “Kieler Woche Plakate”
Location: Kunsthalle, Bourbaki, Lucerne
The Kieler Woche is not only Europe’s largest sailing regatta but also a huge city festival that attracts people from all over Germany. Over the years, this annual event has evolved into a prestigious design competition: Since 1959, five selected designers or design studios have been invited each year to create the poster for the following event as part of a pitch. The poster’s theme remains unchanged over the years, and thus, the designs from the last sixty years provide a unique insight into the development of European graphic design. The list of winners and participants reads like a who’s who of graphic design, including prominent names like Anton Stankowski, Ruedi Baur, Wim Crouwel, Cyan, Alan Fletcher, Josef Müller-Brockmann, and Odermatt + Tissi. In our exhibition, we will not only present all the winning designs for the first time but also showcase a wide selection of designs from the participating teams.

Exhibition "Lost Pitches"
Location: Kunsthalle (Cabinet), Bourbaki, Lucerne
The Lost Pitches exhibition presents an alternative world of works that never made it to the public and invites you to take a look at design concepts from renowned studios. In the creative industry, lost pitches are an experience that almost all entrepreneurs, designers, or artists go through at some point. While winning a pitch undoubtedly provides a sense of appreciation and success, lost pitches should by no means be seen as failures. Insights are owed to the works that didn’t quite make it to the top of the ladder.

Exhibition "The Neubad Plakat"
Location: Elephanthouse, Neustadtstrasse, Lucerne
This year, the Lucerne cultural and studio house Neubad celebrates its tenth anniversary. Over the course of this decade, an impressive collection of black-and-white posters has accumulated, reflecting the diversity and distinctive character of Neubad as well as black-and-white poster art in many ways. Neubad is not only a cultural venue for the Lucerne metropolitan region but also enjoys a high level of recognition in the graphic design scene due to its distinctive corporate identity. The black-and-white artworks are known worldwide, and over the years, more than a hundred different designers have created almost 600 posters for Neubad, including some renowned award winners. This year, the collection was published in the book The Neubad Plakat.

Weltformat Graphic Design Festival


October 7th to 15th, 2023

Further information here.

Weltformat Graphic Design Festival

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