Item description for East German Design (Icons) by Georg C. Bertsch & Ralf Ulrich...
Overview An eccentric collection of consumer goods from foodstuffs to appliances from East germany acquired before the wall came down. A sober yet slightly kitch array of packaging and product design.
This eccentric collection of goods features East German consumer products daringly acquired before the breaking down of the wall. From foodstuffs to household appliances, East German packaging and product design--sober yet slightly kitsch--reveals a little-known side of German popular history.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2004
ISBN 3822832162 ISBN13 9783822832165
Availability 0 units.
More About Georg C. Bertsch & Ralf Ulrich
Ernst Hedler was born in 1952 and studied photo-graphic sciences in Cologne. He did audio-visual work and ad photography for agencies before setting up his own advertising studio in 1985 in Selb.
Reviews - What do customers think about East German Design (Icons)?
A Unique Book Mar 13, 2008
This Taschen book looks at a topic that is very hard to find anywhere else: East German commercial design. Yeah, not a terribly exciting subject but the book serves as a frieze of what life was like in the Communist east. Some designs looked bauhaus while others looked like designs used in the West some 10-20 years before. Overall, the quality appeared to be barely-adequate to shoddy. For a diversion don't miss the volksporn on page 106 and 107!
Great overview of a time and place fading away fast Feb 26, 2005
If there is a problem with some of Taschen's "Icon" series books, it can be that they're just too brief a glimpse at too large a topic. This can particularly be the case when the Icon book is excerpted from a much larger Taschen book study, as with their Tiki book or their great series of American ads of decades from the 1920s to 1980s.
In this case, the format works well, because it is such a small topic; product design in East Germany, which was the most technologically advanced, and consumer friendly, of the Communist nations. Coming out of the Third Reich and before that the Weimar Republik, I'd say that East Germany was also the most aesthetically forward-thinking Communist nation. This led to a fasinating mesh of Soviet austerity with German design.
What you get here is a good 100+ pages of photos of consumer items made in the DDR from the end of the cold war to the fall of the wall, give or take a year or so. The photography is up to Taschen's usual exquisite standards, and it may just be reading too much into it, but it seems Taschen will always try a little harder when it relates to things German.
As an American looking at these images I have a sense of being nostalgic for something I never experienced (If there is a word for such a feeling, it is most likely a German word). Soap, toothpaste, appliances, food and drink... These items seem to have come from a parallel universe - not just different, as products in Western Europe from the same time would have been, but with that slightly cheap, inferior quality: that "just off" feel about it, that you know would have been evident in the taste and feel of these items as well.
It is good that the images are of the products themselves, and not taken directly from advertisements for such products, which would cast it all in a different light. The other great thing is that these items could easily just slip away from all counsciousness, since we don't value recent history much in our culture. Taschen preserves a great number of fine examples here, many of which could easily have slipped away forever.
Of the many fine Icon books Taschen has released, this one seems more complete, and properly fitted to the small, cheap, functional format. Ausgezeichnet!