A collaboration between 10 leading German design studios and Shutterstock, Analog Mensch Digital kicks off this week with an exhibition in the heart of Berlin. For the exhibition, German designers were asked to present visions of human existence in digital worlds. What does tomorrow look like? What is already possible? What should technology do for us?

A sample of the artwork featured at the exhibition.
A sample of the artwork featured at the exhibition.

“We wanted to give the studios and German design a platform to express themselves,” explains Shutterstock Design Director Philippe Intraligi. “It’s always good to bring visionary people and studios together and let them work freely on ideas and concepts to start a conversation. There’s so much entrepreneurship in the design scene, which is something that connects us.”

The studios involved in the project work on everything from mobile brand communication to interaction design and traditional graphic design, with clients including cultural institutions, Nike, BMW, brand eins, Der Spiegel, Harrods, Disney, FIFA, Volkswagen, X-Box, Universal Music, The New York Times, and even Jay-Z.

Participating studios: (top, left to right) Deutsche & Japaner, Johannes von Gross,  Universal Interaction, Elastique., Hort, (bottom, left to right) Fons Hickmann m23, Quintessenz, Eps51, Swipe, Studio Nand.
Participating studios: (top, left to right) Deutsche & Japaner, Johannes von Gross,  Universal Interaction, Elastique., Hort, (bottom, left to right) Fons Hickmann m23, Quintessenz, Eps51, Swipe, Studio Nand.

Bringing together these diverse artists, united only by their location and a singular theme, inspired a unique combination of creative perspectives. As a result, artwork ranging from posters and performances to interviews and 3D installations combine to form the exhibition, which runs through September 15 at Berlin’s Direktorenhaus.

We asked the studios involved to comment on topic of the show and the state of German design. Here’s what they had to say:

Universal Interaction
“In our world, the designer is the one who defines and designs the interface between people and machines, between the analog and the digital. That’s one of the major responsibilities of the future for designers.”

Eike König, Hort
“Whether analog or digital, in the end it’s people that count. Technology helps us and gives us the opportunity to think about and design things differently, so that’s exactly the experience we want to create at the exhibition. We’ll be appearing with our Hort Band. The band will play only once in that constellation. The room, the happening, the visitors, they’re all part of the concept. Our work doesn’t exist until the moment when the visitors come into contact with it. That unique, personal experience is our gift to everyone who attends the exhibition.”

Elastique.
“People are constantly changing and reshaping nature and reality – almost nothing remains untouched. Everything, every square inch, is coated in an invisible digital layer. People live somewhere between the two and do their best to manage, knowing that both exist. One place has become a different place. It seems different because it is now covered in information.”

Deutsche & Japaner
“The world is becoming more and more digital. That means the analog experience is becoming more important as well. It’s becoming easier to access knowledge, and the analog experience is becoming a luxury item. Tangible experience, uniqueness, individuality, rarity – those are the things that now spark desire.”

Johannes von Gross
“More and more, society is expecting us to think and act as machines. Machines and robots are replacing humans in nearly every area of life. But in the end, machines can only do what we’ve programmed them to do. They’re not able to reflect on the deeper meaning of things. That’s what makes people human – the ability to question things and think in abstract terms.”

Fons Hickmann m23
“The strength and potential of German design is recognized around the world. But the problem is that we don’t recognize that ourselves. Maybe we need to see things from the outside so that we can get a better perspective on ourselves. We could learn a lot by taking a look across the borders to our Swiss and Dutch neighbors. Their designers receive a lot of support and are sent around the world. They’re top exports.”

Swipe
“Fortunately, the international exchange that comes with the internet has liberated Germany from a deeply rooted schoolbook type of conformity to DIN norms and Fibonacci grids.”

Studio Nand
“Identifying with design based on country borders is completely irrelevant to us. What’s important is a transparent approach across all borders and disciplines. That includes the courage to discuss and criticize, and to become involved with the technologies of today and tomorrow.”

Eps51
“German design is known for being traditional and straightforward, with high-precision typography and strict adherence to rules and grids. It’s efficient. But if we look at the big picture, there have always been outliers that did just the opposite and thus created something new.”

Quintessenz
“Wherever you work and live, it’s important to have people around you who inspire and motivate you – ones you can talk to, who make you think, who make you happy.”

At Shutterstock, we are always grateful to work with brilliant, enthusiastic people to encourage discussion around design. “Supporting creativity is part of our DNA,” adds Kathy De Neve, Shutterstock’s Regional Marketing Director for Europe. “It’s a passion we share within our company. As a digital company, meeting people, exchanging, talking, and connecting is vital to our process.”

Analog Mensch Digital runs from September 6-15 at Direktorenhaus in Berlin. For more information, including visiting hours and directions, visit the exhibition microsite.