Double Standards: Bold and dynamic in Berlin

Published:  November 11, 2014


The conviction behind the full caps is confident, while loud, yet justified. Double Standards, based in Berlin, take what they do very seriously — even their humour. We asked the studio about their favourite projects, and received some passionately detailed responses about some fascinating processes.


What was the outline of the Bauwelt & Bauverlag brief?

Both the website and magazine publication was redesigned by Double Standards. Originally they wanted to keep the logo that they’ve had for the last ten years, but in our opinion the typeface was wrong and logo was quite weak.

How did you approach the project?

For over 104 years, Bauwelt has been providing weekly reports on current architectural and urban developments in Europe and around the world. The architecture journal is a forum for analysis and commentary surrounding current issues in architecture.

We wanted to achieve more of an identity for Bauwelt, compared to the one they were known for in the past thirty years. The magazine was the initial redesign and the website was then developed from this.

We had to deliver all the style sheets for the magazine for their internal designs. We never make any analytical comparisons to the market peers and try and make it as an organically inspired graphic translation as possible.

Simple, big images, clear and as few clicks as possible –> vertical direction. Use of print design elements and creating new ones –> one look, but still individual

Many architecture magazines seem to look like lifestyle magazines and we wanted to oppose this.

Were there any difficulties or surprising successes?

The main difficulty was that the templates were not fixed and we had to work with the designers and teach them how to work with the composition and freedom of layout.

Even though it looks very free, there is a strict grid at the back that helps them to position all texts/headlines and pictures.

How was the finished project received?

The positive feedback was the readers accepted the new Bauwelt very well – the  in-house graphic department feels relieved and loves working with the new layout.

Feedback from Bauwelt was that the website appears more generous and alive than the old one, it feels like there is more content on the website and the typeface and the economical use of yellow work very well — they are unobtrusive, timeless.


How did you approach the exhibition and book design for Red Bull Music Academy?

With the Red Bull Music Academy project, everyone had input — it was a full company project. There were two versions of the book, which were filled with interviews, both with embossed covers. There was a  special edition with the cover embossed with extremely small type — 4600 names at 5.46pt type size (something rarely achieved). This version is not for sale.

Once the final interviews were received, everyone sat down and identified the underlying individual element in each conversation that that identified it. Every separate conversation in the book not only has its own font or typeface and layout, but photographer as well.

Every conversation starts with an illustration. Each of these were designed by Chris and everyone is produced using a different technique/media.

This helps emphasise that behind each conversation is a separate story. For example — Gareth Jones talks about sound tech, so the text layout is representative of a sound bar. Moritz Von Oswald’s illustration is based on a bass explosion, as in the story, Benny and Moritz talk about how deep you have to cut the vinyl to achieve the deepest bass. Moritz even broke the needle that cuts the record more than once by testing the sound.

There is also the film, What Difference Does It Make by Ralf Schmerberg, which we created the titles for.

What challenges did this project present to you?

The element of difficulty within the project was just timing and and being able to make every interview as special as it should be. And then being able to turn the book into a room for the final exhibition.

It is a really niche book, and an extremely special project to have been involved in, documenting so much professional knowledge and love for the music – since we’re music enthusiasts ourselves!

 How was the finished project received?

Was so amazing to see the finished project and because of all the elements coming together, it felt like so much more had been created than a book. We also met so many amazing people along the way.


What was the outline of the Otto Piene brief?

The project started with the drafts of the posters which were designed by Chris. The typeface was based on what Christina and Veit saw in Otto’s work as largely relatable to grids, symmetry and coincidence.

How did you approach the project?

We wanted to create  something that worked across different platforms, posters, leaflets, advertising but to always keep the artist in mind. We often work with these institutes so they let us conceptualise our own ideas.

The two colours for the invites correlated with the spaces for the exhibitions – with yellow being Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle and orange for Neue Nationalgalerie.

For the invitations to the exhibitions, the main titles were laser cut — a process taken from Otto’s art pieces where he painted with fire on canvases.

Were there any difficulties or surprising successes?

It was so great to see so many different elements and levels come together at once including Sky art technology, 2 exhibitions in 2 spaces. Unfortunately Otto passed away very shortly after the opening of his exhibition at the Neue Nationalgalerie.

How did you feel the finished project was received?

It was such a great celebration of his work.

The two exhibitions related to one another — the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle exhibition was more of a retrospective of Piene’s ouevre, whereas The Neue Nationalgalerie exhibition was a two piece exhibition — one was an event that took place only that one night on the roof top of the Mies van der Rohe building (sadly Otto Piene died only one day before his own big dream came true), and the exhibition that only opened at night between 2200 and 0300hrs in the morning. The lightbox, situated in front of the Neue Nationalgalerie, switched on every night when the doors to the exhibition opened.


How were you briefed for Home and Away and Outside?

The museum called Chris to ask if he wanted to do the posters for his brothers exhibition. The exhibition assembled 60 works including sculptures, installations and paintings. Walls, floors, ceilings, sculptural objects were all covered with the eye-boggling camouflage used by the dazzle ships in World War I. Another part of the exhibition, housed in the Schirn Rotunda at the entrance to the Kunsthalle, there was a huge hanging light sculpture created from old neon tubes, from fairground and advertising lights.

How did you approach the project?

The difficulty of brothers working together is that Tobias’s work is very close (in so many ways) to Chris’s work, and that sometimes you can’t tell who did what. Chris felt he had to really think about what his work looked like so it didn’t look the same.

Their work was complemented very nicely in the posters. During the day it was only black and white, but at night with the light box behind it, you could see colour.

We first created this texture made of layers and layers of single words of the title – Home, Away, Outside and created ridiculously confusing black and white tubes. This was the key visual we used for the invites and posters. But we wanted to turn the posters into something else but a plain poster. So we asked the press office of the Schirn to book as many poster light boxes in the city of Frankfurt as possible to present an actual picture puzzle. During the day the black and white dazzle poster was showing – but as soon as the lights went on in the light boxes, the posters were showing the title fragments and turned colorful by printing these elements only on the back.

How were the posters received?

It was great to read the amusing articles from the local papers and knowing that people intended to keep the flyers after the event.

Here we were – showing and not showing at the same time… following Tobias’ rules without trying to simulate his work.


All images: Double Standards

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