The A5 series is intended as a growing archive on the history of graphic design. Each volume introduces outstanding personalities and important themes from the history of international graphic design, with numerous illustrations, essays, and interviews. A5 is a cooperative project between Optik Studios and the labor visuell [visual lab] in the design department at Peter Behrens School of Arts/Hochschule Düsseldorf.

Studio List

An examination of the current tendencies in graphic design: Our Studio List is a growing index of relevant design studios around the globe.

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A5+ Interviews

Let's talk about design! Watch our series of interviews with influential graphic designers from different generations such as Hans Hillmann, Odermatt+Tissi, Klaus Hesse or Norm. Videos are available in German language only.

See A5+ Interviews


Best German Posters
Eine Geschichte der deutschen Plakatwettbewerbe/A History of German Poster Competitions

Jens Müller (Ed.)
128 pages · 300 illustrations · 2016 · Englisch/German texts
ISBN 978-3-00-053060-9

28.00 Euro · $33.00 · £ 25.00
incl. Free Worldwide Shipping/inkl. kostenlosem Versand weltweit

In 1949, the competition »Die besten Plakate des Jahres« (The Best Posters of the Year) took place for the first time in the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany. Designers could enter poster designs from the past year, a jury of experts awarded prizes for the best works. From 1966 onwards, there was such an annual competition in the GDR too. Many of the commended works from that time are today amongst the canon of German and international design history.

The book tells the eventful history of the com­peti­tions and their changing shape over the decades. The picture section shows over 250 posters from 1949 to 2000 from a total of almost 4,000 award-winning works. An all-German poster history, which visualizes lasting changes as well as transient design trends and shows many of the best German posters, including works by Helmut Brade, cyan, Michael Engelmann, Frieder Grindler, Erhard Grüttner, Rudolf Grüttner, Hans Hillmann, Günther Kieser, Uwe Loesch, Holger Matthies, Pierre Mendell, Rolf Felix Müller, Volker Pfüller, Ott+Stein, Gunter Rambow and many others.

1949 fand der Wettbewerb »Die besten Plakate des Jahres« in der frisch gegründeten Bundesrepublik Deutschland zum ersten Mal statt. Gestalter konnten Plakatentwürfe des abgelaufenen Jahres einsenden, eine Fachjury prämierte die besten Arbeiten. Ab 1966 gab es auch in der DDR einen solchen jährlichen Wettbewerb. Viele der damals prämierten Arbeiten gehören heute zum Kanon der deutschen und internationalen Designgeschichte.

Das Buch erzählt die wechselvolle Geschichte der Wettbewerbe, mit ihren sich über die Jahrzehnte verändernden Veranstaltungsformen. Aus den insgesamt fast 4000 prämierten Arbeiten zeigt ein Bildteil mehr als 250 Plakate der Jahre 1949 bis 2000. Eine gesamtdeutsche Plakat­geschichte, die nachhaltige Veränderungen wie kurzlebige Gestaltungstrends sichtbar macht und viele der besten deutschen Plakate zeigt. Darunter Arbeiten von Helmut Brade, cyan, Michael Engelmann, Frieder Grindler, Erhard Grüttner, Rudolf Grüttner, Hans Hillmann, Günther Kieser, Uwe Loesch, Holger Matthies, Pierre Mendell, Rolf Felix Müller, Volker Pfüller, Ott+Stein, Gunter Rambow und vielen anderen.

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A5/08: Best German Posters · €28.00 · $33.00 · £23.00 · Free worldwide shipping

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We offer free worldwide shipping for all books available for direct purchase. Shipments are processed by DHL/Deutsche Post with Standard Airmail.


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For any other questions please contact us at order@a5design.de before ordering.

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Rolf Müller
Stories, Systems, Marks/Geschichten, Systeme, Zeichen

Jens Müller (Ed.) 
128 pages · 350 illustrations · 2014 · Englisch/German texts 
ISBN 978-3-03778-414-3 · €28.00 · $40.00 · £25.00

Rolf Müller (born in 1940) studied at the famous Ulm School of Design, taught by Otl Aicher, Josef Müller-Brockmann and others. Shortly after graduating, he became one of the leading personalities under Aicher in the design of the visual identity for the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 – work which set new standards in international design. In parallel, he established his design firm Büro Rolf Müller. For nearly four decades, the firm developed corporate identities, books, magazines and signage systems on the highest level. The firm’s projects included the visual identity of the City of Leverkusen, forged over several decades, and the magazine HQ High Quality for Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, of which 39 issues were published. 

As a storyteller, system designer and mark maker, Rolf Müller has left his mark on international design history with his work. His stance has had a decisive impact in shaping the way in which today’s communications designers view their profession. This book is the first monograph dedicated to him. On the basis of selected projects, it attempts to sketch the mentality and methods of his design.

»An exciting monograph which conveys many insights.«
— Novum, 09/2014

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HfG Ulm
Concise History of the Ulm School of Design/
Kurze Geschichte der Hochschule für Gestaltung

Jens Müller (Ed.), René Spitz 
128 pages · 190 illustrations · 2014 · Englisch/German texts 
ISBN 978-3-03778-413-6 · €28.00 · $40.00 · £25.00

The Ulm School of Design (HfG Ulm) ranks among the world’s most important institutions of the 20th century in modernist design. What design means today cannot be understood without considering the developments at HfG. That applies not only to the design of appliances and messages in a great variety of forms, but also to the profession of designer, design education at universities, methodology and design theory – starting with the relationship between design and science and ranging up to the question of what relationship design should adopt with art and with crafts, with business and with society. This massive impact of HfG is all the more astounding when one considers that it existed for only 15 years, from 1953 to 1968.

This book clearly relates and richly illustrates the history of HfG Ulm. It contains a brief overview which also conveys the background below the formal surface. For HfG was not founded to compensate for an aesthetic deficit. On the contrary, after the terrible experiences of the Nazi regime and the Second World War, its founders Inge Aicher-Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill wanted to contribute to the shaping of a new and better world.

»Spitz successfully combines his succinct account of the fifteen-years history of the HfG Ulm with a wealth of photographs (covering the foundation course, the most important professors and the departments of visual communication, product design, building, film and information). The book appeals in other respects as well: hidden inside the brightly coloured front cover is a poster showing the title pages of the first four issues of the design school’s in-house magazine ulm
— Form, #252

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Lufthansa+Graphic Design
Visual History of an Airline/Visuelle Geschichte einer Fluggesellschaft

Jens Müller, Karen Weiland (Ed.) 
128 pages · 300 illustrations · 2012 · Englisch/German texts 
ISBN 978-3-03778-267-5

Lufthansa is a leading global airline that can look back on a long and varied history stretching back to the 1920s. The history and development of the company’s visual aesthetic is equally interesting. In the early 1960s, the company took a decisive step in corporate communication by commissioning designer Otl Aicher and his group of HfG Ulm students to compile an integrative study, with a view to redesigning Lufthansa’s visual aesthetic. An extensive but incomplete implementation of their plan began in 1963. Today it is considered to be one of the most pioneering corporate design solutions of the twentieth century.

This book comprehensively documents, for the first time, the history of the airline’s design and advertising from the 1920s to the present day—with an emphasis on this famous aesthetic. In addition to more than four hundred illustrations from the company archive and a number of relevant articles, the book includes the Ulm study of 1962 and extracts from a number of Lufthansa design manuals.

»Through a wealth of postage-stamp-size documentary images, including style manuals, advertisements, posters and more, this book concisely examines the importance of and loyalty to good design at the corporate level. The small, pocket-size format is perfect for reading on your next Lufthansa flight.«
— The New York Times, 01.06.2012

»The book charts nearly a century of corporate design history with a handsome survey of the German airline's design and advertising, plus background articles and interviews.«
— Eye Magazine, #81

»Beautiful layouts, clean typography, a well-considered selection of paper stocks and a great collection of essays, diagrams and illustrations make this book essential reading. Everybody with a love of corporate design will be deeply impressed with this quality publication.«
— Desktop Magazine (Australia), #285

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Kieler Woche
History of a Design Contest/Geschichte eines Designwettbewerbs

Jens Müller, Karen Weiland (Ed.) 
128 pages · 370 illustrations · 2010 · Englisch/German texts 
ISBN 978-3-03778-231-6

The first poster competition for the Kieler Woche regatta was held in 1950, and over the years this annual event has come to be Europe’s most prestigious design competition. Since 1959, five designers or design practices have been invited to take part. While the poster competition became a corporate design competition in the 1970s, the Kieler Woche theme remained unchanged, so the designs submitted over the past sixty years offer a unique survey of how European graphic design has developed. The list of winners and participants reads like a Who’s Who of graphic design. They include: Anton Stankowski, Ruedi Baur, Wim Crouwel, Cyan, Alan Fletcher, Josef Müller-Brockmann and Odermatt + Tissi. 

This fourth A5 volume tells the exciting story of the Kieler Woche design competition and its rich traditions. It shows all the winning posters, and also many alternative motifs—some previously unpublished—by well-known graphic designers.

»This impressive documentation of the reknown poster contest is a recommendation – even for landsmen«
— Form, 12/2010

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Celestino Piatti+dtv
The Unity of the Programme/Die Einheit des Programms

Jens Müller (Ed.) 
128 pages · 200 illustrations · 2009 · Englisch/German texts 
ISBN 978-3-03778-178-4 · €20.00 · $30.00 · £20.00

In 1961, eleven German publishing houses joined forces to create the Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, exclusively to publish paperbacks. The publishers wanted to the corporate image of the company and all the book jackets to be designed by the same hand. This was a commission that remains unique to the present day, and it went to the Swiss designer Celestino Piatti (1922-2007). Piatti gave dtv its unique look for over 30 years, and created the image, still unforgotten, of these white paperbacks with their right-justified Akzidenz Grotesk typeface and characteristic cover illustrations. He became the most productive book designer of all times, producing over covers of over 6300 books that sold in a total print run of over 200 million copies. 

The present volume concentrates on the early years, showing a large number of outstanding book covers confirming Piatti’s creative diversity. This selection is complemented by some hitherto unpublished designs and advertising material from the dtv archives. 

»The beautiful book Celestino Piatti+dtv, published by Lars Müller Publishers, retells the story of Piattis successful concept and shows many of his covers.«
— Fluter Magazin, 05/2010

»This is a precious reference book with fine typesetting and good texts on serial book design (…) not only for fans of Piatti.«
— Blog-Satz, 12/2011

»The illustrations work well on pleasant bookprinting paper, the lightweight books being agreeable to hold. Despite generally applied layout principles each of the three books maintains complete individuality of appearance. The very restrained page-numbering makes a flexible and diverse impression despite an underlying grid. The texts are also easy to read when using small typeface sizes and the captions (in this case just as important as the accompanying texts) have been generously set. The idea behind the jacket is first-rate, producing a double-sided poster when folded out. Printed on the respective covers beneath are examples of significant works or typical forms from the designer in question.«
— Jury’s statement, The Best German Book Design 2009
(Winner in the category “Academic and Specialised Books“)

»With only a few concentrated ingredients, the book conveys the thinking and working process of design.«
— Artnet, 12/2009

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Realism is the Score/Der tonangebende Realismus

Jens Müller (Ed.) 
96 pages · 120 illustrations · 2009 · Englisch/German texts 
ISBN 978-3-03778-180-7 · €20.00 · $30.00 · £20.00

Between 1961 and 1968, the magazine Twen produced a series of LP recordings in collaboration with the Philips record label. During this period, all editions of Twen were accompanied by LPs drawn from the realms of jazz, classical music, radio plays, world music, or pop. For the designs of his record covers, art director Willy Fleckhaus used Concrete Art by Karl Gerstner, Max Bill, and other dedicated graphic designers such as Heinz Edelmann and Günther Kieser. This now forgotten series, comprising around 70 disks, is a masterful instance of the conjunction of music and graphic design. In collaboration with music archives and private collections, this rare series is reunited in its entirety and documented in this publication.

This volume illustrates all the sleeves from this unique LP series, and the text includes an interview with jazz legend Klaus Doldinger, whose first three records appeared in the Philips-Twen series.

»The selection of designers who contributed to the label is very impressive. Featured is work by Karl Gerstner, Max Bill and Wolfgang Schmidt, to name ony a few. This is an inspiring title that successfully portrays the power and impact of graphic design within the music industry.«
— Desktop Magazine (Australia), #281

»Three exceptional publications. The series has a strong concept, is formally sophisticated and is perfectly produced.«
— Börsenblatt des Deutschen Buchhandels, 49/2009

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Hans Hillmann 
The Visual Works/Das visuelle Werk

Jens Müller (Ed.)
128 pages · 190 illustrations · 2009 · Englisch/German texts 
ISBN 978-3-03778-179-1 · €20.00 · $30.00 · £20.00

Hans Hillmann, (b. 1925), studied under Hans Leistikow at the Werkakademie in Kassel. He started to design film posters while he was still a student, and by 1974 he had produced over 150 of them for the Neue Filmkunst distribution company, attracting international commendations, including the Grand-Prix-Toulouse-Lautrec. He was appointed to a chair in Kassel in 1961, and made a major contribution to shaping the character of the Kassel poster school. He worked for the cult magazine «twen» as an illustrator, then later for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin. He illustrated numerous books, including his version of the Dashiel Hammett thriller Fly Paper (1982).

The present volume is the first German-language monograph on one of the most influential German designers, who created some of the high points of graphic design history with his work in the poster and illustration fields. This book features familiar work that has been published frequently, but also presents numerous forgotten and unknown works from Hans Hillmann’s private archive for the first time.

»A format that invites you to read. The A5-series introduces subjects and personalities of graphic design histories volume by volume.«
— Ètapes, #178

»The book is small-sized, but graphic quality is not a question of square inches. The opposite is the case: The miracle of Hillmann’s works is most beautifully reflected.«
— Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 28.04.2010

»The illustrations have a heart-stopping air of tension.«
— Grafik Magazine, October 2009

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