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Gottschalk’s graphical message to Russia: simplicity

The design veteran’s presentation let the work speak for itself, a cut above certain other presenters’ sessions, writes Stanley Moss
October 3, 2018/5.35

Fritz Gottschalk meets attendees following his presentation.

TREND, the largest conference on graphic design in Russia, welcomed Fritz Gottschalk, founding partner of Gottschalk + Ash International at its recent Moskva event. Australian brand superstar Ken Cato, Canadian film documentarian Greg Durrell, and Swedish marketing outlaws Fredrik Öst and Erik Kockum were among the other presenters rounding out the two-day conference held at the Vegas Centre. Fritz Gottschalk’s remarks, entitled Endurance and Craft, were heard by a full house of over 1,500 attendees, who listened to thoughts by the Zürich-based designer of the iconic Swiss passport, and elder statesman of the International Style.
   Gottschalk’s unconventional presentation technique—he went twice rapidly through his 75 slides silently before speaking a word to the audience—radically contrasted with the offerings of other speakers. Younger internet-savvy designers relied on booming music tracks, short videos and flashy disco visuals to make their points. One Russian speaker created a mini-flash mob, fist-pounding and urging attendees to flock to the stage.
   But Fritz Gottschalk’s meticulous analysis of the 1985 Swiss passport, and his measured descriptions of technique and craft, carried the event and swept the audience to a standing ovation for the quality of the remarks and projects shown. While others spoke of what they had done, Gottschalk used his time to describe how he had executed his impeccable designs. Showing a range of print, wayfinding, packaging and digital solutions, the octogenarian Gottschalk, who still actively works at his office, demonstrated an enduring and energetic enthusiasm for graphic design and thoughtful process. Admiring Instagram posts began to appear during the speech. Judging by the crowds of young designers who crowded around him following his remarks, even after a half century the master still has his touch.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

Greg Durrell

Above, from top: Fritz Gottschalk and Stanley Moss in Moskva, Russia. Admiring fans photographing him following his talk. A half-hour after the presentation they were still looking at samples of his work.

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