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Rat für Formgebung


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(established 1953)

Following a parliamentary recommendation of 1951 the Rat für Formgebung (German Design Council) was established in 1953 as a non‐profit‐making national body for design promotion in Germany. Like its predecessor in Britain, the Council of Industrial Design (established in 1944, see Design Council), the German Design Council had a role to play in national reconstruction after the Second World War. The Deutscher Werkbund, a powerful German design promotional body in the first three decades of the 20th century, supported this initiative. The 1951 parliamentary mandate for the Design Council included the mission ‘to promote all efforts deemed appropriate to achieve the optimum design for German products, both in the consumer's interest and in order to secure the competitive advantages of the products of industry and the craft trades in West Germany’. Accordingly, the Council sought to influence German industry, business, educational, and cultural institutions and organizations and the public in their understanding of the social, economic, and cultural benefits of design. Again like its British counterpart it established a photographic library of exemplars of well‐designed, mainly German, products in the 1950s and now consists of over 40,000 photographs and 10,000 slides. Furthermore, in the 1960s, it established a library for the dissemination of design knowledge and information. It purchased books on all aspects of design, from visual communication to architecture, and has holdings of more than 300 international design periodicals. In 1988 a video archive was established and, in 1992, the German Design Council published a Design Report that provided an overview of about 800 design and design‐related organizations in the Federal German Republic. Located in Frankfurt since 1987 the Council has been part of the Ministry of Trade, organizing conferences, symposia, and exhibitions. It is also responsible for the German Award for Product Design awarded biannually since the early 1990s (originally established in 1969 as the Gute Form (Good Form) Awards, the first of which was awarded to Otl Aicher for his Lufthansa Airlines corporate identity design).

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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