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Charles Eames once said: »The details are not the details. They make the design«. And in this month’s novum we are putting those very details centre-stage, as we look at the small components that make a design distinctive and unique. We also feature an interesting interview with the internationally famous creatives from Snask and the fantastic collages by Elisa Vendramin; we glimpse behind the scenes at the British studio Iwant, and peruse the amazing portfolio of konter…

All this and more is waiting to be discovered!


novum 11.17 is also available as PDF for only 8,99 Euro.

To buy the printed issue, please visit our Shop

Small cause, large effect – that is true not only of the famous »butterfly effect«. It applies also to so many other things in daily life and of course it applies to graphic design. A detail such as bold use of just one impressive colour can make all the difference. We think you´ll agree this technique has certainly produced an eye-catching result on this month´s cover, of which there is not one, but two variants!

As regards content, the focus is our novum+ section is exclusively on details: For this we talked to type guru Friedrich Forssmann about the obsessiveness that is essential for any typographer, conducted an interview with designer-craftswoman Katja Knahn and explored the new visual identity of City College in New York. We also had a very productive chat with Carlos Magro, Creative Director at Interbrand Spain, about his unusual CD – called »Mind the Gap« – for an international firm of lawyers. And we feature a jaw-dropping interior design for a restaurant – with walls lined with thousands of bones. Cadena of Mexico tells us how their design came about.

In the Showroom this time, we have a diversity of styles and genres: Fantastic collages from Elisa Vendramin await your inspection, along with sophisticated packaging from British studio Iwant. Plus we reveal how design greats Snask with their rock ‘n’ roll discipline made it to the top – and not only with their redesign for North Korea. Beatriz Costo often lets her creativity flow into editorial design projects, and our cover designers – Dortmund-based design studio konter – show us their inspiring portfolio.

How do you protect creative titles? This is the question tackled by lawyer Andrijana Kojic; she gives practical advice in her legal column. And Andreas Koop in his column muses on why, even in design commissions for industry, so much trickery and cheating goes on … unreal realities!

And – did you know that Wrigley´s now iconic chewing gum was actually not the manufacturer’s own product at all in the early days? From give-away to world fame – find out more about this exciting brand story….

The cover

If you want to be subtle, then avoid Electric Blood and Vibrant Arsenic from the Action range of papermakers Gmund. But if you want to make a splash, then you´ll be very, very happy with this material. Electric Blood is a very specific colour – somewhere between red and orange with an almost neon-like effect. A special surface treatment, applied after the paper has been produced, gives it that distinctive shimmer. Vibrant Arsenic, with the same surface, is a resplendent pure neon yellow. We have used both in producing the cover for this month´s novum, but whichever one you have ended up with, there’s no chance of losing it on your shelves.

All the ten expressive colours in Gmund Action – available from Papyrus – keep their promise: Go to Hell Black, Alpine Sparkling Water, Crystal Vanilla Sorbet, Nuclear Acid, Clear Sky Blue, Pastel Heart Attack, Night Offshore Blue, Dark Silver Cloud and of course also Vibrant Arsenic und Electric Blood. Whether you use them for packaging or envelopes, this colour range really grabs the attention. Available in 300 to 430 gsm, any application is guaranteed to get noticed. So, for communication that really stands out, choose a muted colour for the letter and put it in one of these Gmund Action envelopes.

The finish

Any complicated processing of these visually prominent materials would almost be one detail too far, so the designers at konter studio limited themselves to the contrast-rich progression in one special colour (Pantone 286 C) and a fine embossing carefully finished with hot foil. Thus finished, their artwork uniquely interprets the focus theme this month in a unique way: »Complexity, yes. Sometimes simple but hidden, allows playfulness« …  to be discovered on the back cover of this issue. »We love the details. Very often it´s not the overall picture that we delight in, but the tiny, hidden, special aspects, that sometimes can be implemented without an enormous budget. And things really get rewarding when have the opportunity to spend time on such details. So what we produced here is a motif that at first sight is just a burst of colour, but on closer inspection you see the delicate embossing and the hidden content,« say Michelle Flunger and Sascha Schilling of konter – Studio für Gestaltung.

The foil embossing was done by the Forum Prägefolien Veredelung, a society of finishing experts and specialists offering advice and services in the different types of hot foil stamping, from micro-embossing to structure, relief and blind blocking.


Cadena (MEX)
Michael Halbert (USA)
Campbell Hay (GBR)
Friedrich Forssman (GER)
Katja Knahn (GER)
Interbrand (ESP)
Menos Es Más (ESP)


Snask (SWE)
Iwant Design (GBR)
Beatriz Costo (ESP)
Konter (GER)
Elisa Vendramin (ITA)
Neue Typgraphie, Teil VI

Paper: Gmund Action, Papyrus,
Offset printing: f&w Druck- und Mediencenter
Embossing and hot foil: Forum Prägefolien Veredelung,
Cover design: konter,
Special colour: Pantone 286 C
Photos: Tobias Holzmann