Book and editorial design, typography and print production support for exhibition catalogues, art books, monographs, book series, magazines and business reports . concepts and graphic design for identities, exhibitions, posters and business reports . development of typographical specifications and templates for scholarly publications and periodicals
A critical engagement with the visual arts and collaborations with artists, curators, authors and scholars are fundamental to my work. Practical experience is here linked with a fascination for the new and the playful.
Graphic design is neither about providing a service pure and simple, nor is it a matter of free-ranging artistic creativity. It is done for something and someone, and emerges at the time and in the place where I live. So design is always in a state of flux.
Nevertheless, book design above all is something that even today rests on a tradition of craftsmanship and on aesthetic approaches from previous centuries. At the same time, the digital revolution means that the career of the typesetter has been absorbed completely by that of the graphic designer. For me as a designer, this means I have to transport the rules of typography into the present, independent of their original parameters such as lead type and letterpress printing. But even in the digital world, typography follows more or less the same rules as before, because the physical facts of human sight and perception do not change so quickly.
After a period of experimentation and of Anything Goes in the 1980s and ’90s, a new sense of seriousness emerged. But it was always accompanied by a sense of uncertainty as to how reading would develop in these times of “locust swarms of print”, as Walter Benjamin put it already in 1928.
Design is always also an act of interpretation. As a designer, it is my task to assume responsibility for content and to operate with the graphic possibilities at my disposal in a goal-oriented, intelligent manner. And here I act as a thinking person who can justify formal decisions on grounds of content.
Despite all analyses, however, there remains a residue that is inexplicable, but that is just as important. Why something looks good and functions well is something that can never be wholly explained in words and numbers. Or, to quote Willberg and Forssman, “Good typography can’t be calculated”.
Stephan Fiedler – born 1963 in Stuttgart, studied art at the Academy of Visual Arts in Munich and communication design with Volker Küster and László Lakner at the Gesamthochschule Essen (Folkwang), being awarded his degree with distinction in 1993.
Worked for several years at the printmaking studio of Karl Imhof in Munich. In 1991 Fiedler went on a six-month employment with Limestone Press, San Francisco. Since 1994 he has worked as a freelance graphic designer in Berlin.
Numerous collaborations with artists, curators and graphic designers. Since 2001 he has taught communication design and typography at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW).