Book publishing feels like a natural application of a design studio's skills but were there any surprises or unexpected challenges?
PE: There are always challenges with something new and having yourself as your own client never makes for an easy job. We’re tirelessly self-critical. We wanted to create something that was respectful of Aicher’s legacy, that wasn’t showy or too demonstrative, but that also reflected our own opinions. But it would be easy to do something just about the design and forget the narrative.
The studio puts a huge emphasis on the value of words and the power of writing, so it was natural that we would also want to tell the story ourselves and make this the central component. And of course it helped that Elli, who wrote the book, also spoke fluent German, without which we would never have made it past the first page... There were a few bumps along the road to production, mainly around getting the book-jacket to work satisfactorily, which we knew would be tricky from the outset. And a certain amount of work had to be done to enable printing Aicher’s work at large scale, primarily because almost nothing is digitised at Isny. In an era where digital is the expected norm, Isny remains with a foot in the past — their brand guidelines are a bursting-at-the-seams lever-arch file and a proper working document; there are no pictograms (an no intention to create them) for more recent sports such as snowboarding and paragliding; and much of the work itself is held in files at the Ulm Archive — a treasure trove of modernist utopian proportions.