Poster design – typography workshop about evry day sexism
In 2009 Verena Gerlach made two visits two Algiers, the capital of Algeria. She was invited by the Goethe Institute and was scheduled to teach two workshops for the design students of the École de Beaux-Arts. While staying in Algiers, Verena learned a lot about life under a dictatorship. The paradox: Algiers is a very beautiful city, the people are lovely, the culture stunning, the weather pleasant, and it could be the perfect place… but: there 4 four instances where Verena was threatened with arrest for taking ordinary photographs (like letters, details, architecture). She was also censored in her first workshop. The second workshop was blocked by the government. As a response to her experience in Algiers, Verena designed a series of screen printed posters (A1) for different subjects that especially caught her interest.Since the posters were to be exhibited in both Germany and Algiers, Verena had to decide to either visually lie and make only ‘nice’, touristic posters, which would please the Algerian authorities, or to show the oppressive reality. The solution: she created two set of posters. One for Algiers and one for Berlin. But the censored (and therefore true) posters are the ones for the “free West”. They are a bit like the city itself: You can’t see the real beauty or joy, because most of the information will be covered by the silhouette of something which replaces the suppression and censorship. To offer more information about Algeria, Verena designed fourteen A0 size posters about its history and political background. The texts were taken from Dr. Alix Landgren’s reception speech at the Berlin exhibition. To support the force of these texts, she worked in a collage technique, using her own typefaces and the photographs she had taken on her visits. These posters are printed in black and white, to contrast the colourful screen prints.
Verena Gerlach was born in Berlin and studied Visual Communication at Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee. Shortly after finishing art school in 1998, she founded her own studio (fraugerlach) for graphic design, type design and typography. As well as all kinds of typographic print works and type design, Verena also art directed several video clips and worked on the typographic production for international contemporary artists. Verena lectured in type design and typography at Design Akademie Berlin from 2003 till 2009 and has given lectures and workshops about type and graphic design all over the globe. She also works as a freelance book designer for the German publisher Hatje Cantz.