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- Books , Typography , Illustration , Print & Production

Poster design by Karl-Heinz Drescher

The graphic artist Karl-Heinz Drescher is mentioned whenever German type experts talk about outstanding poster design of the GDR, included in the selection »The 100 best posters of the year«. After his death in 2011, he left behind hundreds of posters, many of them for Berlin theaters such as the »bat« (Berliner Arbeiter-Theater), the Maxim Gorki Theater, the German State Opera, the Academy of Arts of the GDR and the Deutsches Theater; most of his work, however, was for the Berliner Ensemble.

© Slanted Publishers

A biography marked by the passion for type design

He had a huge passion for typography, which is why he often visited the printers who produced his posters. On of those print offices, »Druckkombinat«, was located within the border area of Berlin, and the production areas were near the death strip, so it was only due to his good relations with the printers that he was allowed to pass the controls. This way, he managed to discover many fonts as well as wood, lead and brass letters that were not available in the GDR.

© Slanted Publishers

Rediscovering type posters from Berlin

When designer Markus Lange was doing research for his master's program in the university archive of Burg Giebichenstein, he discovered the fantastic typographic poster work by Karl-Heinz Drescher. From 1955 to 1960 he had also studied at the University of Industrial Design Halle - Burg Giebichenstein, under Walter Funkat in the class for commercial art. Although he became an important freelance graphic artist after his graduation and worked as a contract designer at Bertolt Brecht's Berliner Ensemble, Markus Lange discovered that only few of his fellow students knew anything about his poster career.

© Slanted Publishers

Fascination diversity

»I was enthusiastic about his posters, which until now had been rather unnoticed, and decided to use them as a basis for my master's thesis,« says Markus Lange about his work, which was to show »how diverse and inventive Drescher has worked. He had devoted his career as a graphic designer to the posters, typography, color and, above all, book printing.«

Markus Lange contacted Drescher's family during his one-year research. In various interviews he learned more about the talented designer, including that Drescher had worked for almost 40 years under the direction of Brecht's wife Helene Weigel. He also had assignments for other cultural institutions, museums, galleries and theaters and his catalog of works includes more than 400 posters.

© Slanted Publishers

Recognizing the work of an outstanding designer

A Kickstarter campaign will now make his typographic posters available to a broader public for the first time. The planned publication contains texts and interviews by various authors such as Dr. med. Friedrich Diekmann, dr. Sylke Wunderlich, Helmut Brade, Niklaus Troxler, Gerd Fleischmann, Jamie Murphy, Erik Spiekermann, Ferdinand Ulrich, Götz Gramlich, Peter Kammerer, Vera Tenschert, Cesarina and Alessandro Drescher.On the one hand, the book is intended to serve as a retrospective view of the life of an extraordinary theater artist. On the other hand, it is also an inspiration for contemporary type and graphic designers, as for Markus Lange himself.Lange is supported by Slanted Publishers, but also readers can help financially to achieve the goal. The Kickstarter packages start at 5, - € and include many exclusive rewards such as early bird discounts, original posters or a mention in the book.


Publisher: Slanted Publishers und Markus Lange
Concept and design: Markus Lange
Publishing date: February 2020
Format: 195 × 265 mm
Volume: 272 pages
Language: German & English
Production: Offset
Edition: 1.000
ISBN: 978-3-948440-00-8

You can preorder the book via Kickstarter