A teal VW beetle with an Autumnal backdrop Volkswagen Beetle

Created in 1919, Germany gave the world Bauhaus – the most famous design school in history – the Bauhaus revolutionary approach was to fundamentally change how we view material culture and the built environment around us. For the last 100 years Germany has built on this prestige and in doing so has remained at the forefront of world-leading design. Here we look at four German designers that led the world.

  1. Volkswagen

    Created in the 1930 The Beetle, known as the “people’s car”, would remain in popularity for endless decades to come even becoming a 60s icon. No other rear engine car could surpass the success of Volkswagen. The Beetle helped make Volkswagen the worlds largest car manufacturer. In 1971 The Beetle model No.15 surpassed Henry Ford’s model T as the best-selling car in the world.

  2. Braun Design

    For many decades headed by Dietar Rams (1961-1995), Braun Design is accredited with the “smoothless” aesthetic that now dominates consumer goods. In the 1960s, Braun pioneered the innovative new idea that companies can, and should, create a corporate identity for products starting with a distinctive design and finishing with beautiful packaging. Today from sleek radios to seamless furniture the modern consumer world would be unrecognisable without the influence of Braun. Steve Jobs was famously inspired by the Braun aesthetic tactile designs with many convincing parallels drawn between Apple products and Braun originals.

    A teal VW beetle with an Autumnal backdrop Braun’s “smoothless” aesthetic

  3. “The Slash in the Box”

    In 1973, a panel of designers and a magazine editor selected “The Slash in the Box” as the new logo of Deustche Bank - The days of complex insignia were gone. The man behind the logo was Dan Stankowski, a painter and graphic designer, who promoted simple functionalism and oblique lines. Mocked by many at the time, but now highly regarded in graphic design history. Unsurprisingly fifty years later the logo has barely changed and still looks contemporary.

  4. Circular Fashion

    Today Germany is leading the trend for sustainable fashion with a low carbon supply chain, minimal waste and smart technology. Berlin is studded with rising stars like Silfir who not only use wood fibre to create their creative product lines, but sell each garment with a smart label enabling consumers to track product(s) though the entire supply chain. It’s no surprise that global names like ECOALF, who have partnered with Swatch and Starbucks, find Berlin a perfect environment for their sustainable collections which are made from 100% recycled materials.

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