Hans Adolf Albitz and Ruth Albitz-Geiß by Franz Hermann Wills, 1952

Among the young graphic artists of Berlin, who set to work after the war, Hans Adolf Albitz and Ruth Albitz-Geiß can claim special attention. In a short time, at a period when economic conditions were pretty unfavourable, they worked themselves so to the fore that their names came to mean something in Berlin publicity, and in western Germany their posters are known and appreciated, too.

Share:

Original images and text scanned from Gebrauchsgraphik, 11, 1952

Among the young graphic artists of Berlin, who set to work after the war, Hans Adolf Albitz and Ruth Albitz-Geiß can claim special attention. In a short time, at a period when economic conditions were pretty unfavourable, they worked themselves so to the fore that their names came to mean something in Berlin publicity, and in western Germany their posters are known and appreciated, too.

Hans Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Poster Design
Hans Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Poster Design

As always when good partnership may be presumed, the success of this married couple is due to the law of polarity, which means permanent compensation and complement. Hans Adolf Albitz is static-minded, sober and practical, and it is but logical that he prefers creating useful work, such as arranging exhibitions and doing typography. Ruth Albitz-Geiss, however, prefers picturesque themes, she broadly depicts everything colourful and vivid.

From the very beginning both of them have been striving for an applied art serving the purpose, namely: appealing to the public. Nevertheless, they have never made any concession to the average in matters of art as, unfortunately, is so often the case when young designers have to adapt themselves to their patron’s customary mode and opinion so that they lose their own personality. The superior handicraft of these two artists, their skill in drawing and their knowledge about what is essential in sale-promotion are facts convincing any patron of industry or trade and commerce. The designs try to please in many a way and the public is always taken by surprise. It is as if their figures as well as their inanimate objects would smile sometimes, even forcing a smile from the contemplator, at other times they are loudly and irritably crying out and, if necessary, they are even not afraid of causing a shock. However, never the wrong means are applied. The urge to succeed won’t let these two graphic artists rest. Again and again, they take leisure to improve, and they set themselves such tasks as might be commissioned to them one day. They enjoy themselves and brighten up the contemplator as well, by off and on doing some publicity work «in their own interest».

Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Illustrated Poster
Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Illustrated Poster

Sometimes they create a large-sized poster for which the space is granted by the active Berlin «Vereinigte Verkehrs-Reklame». Thus they want to prove to their advertising customers how much more preferable works «made to measure» are to the normal DIN-A-1-sizes (594 x841 mm), plastered one next to the other or one above the other. Or they design congratulating cards and illustrations which make the impression of just having been jotted down casually, delighting the receiver. Also, Berlin authorities have posters made by the two Albitz’ for touring propaganda and exhibitions which show up well and to advantage against «ready-made» posters, predominant in Berlin as well as elsewhere, strangely culminating in the publicity for cigarettes and touring. Let us hope that the courage to do better may not be weakened, particularly that of authorities, under the influence of inartistic persons who fancy knowing everything better. Moreover, let us hope that in the federal area publicity business will remain mindful of the hard work done in Berlin, despite many adverse circumstances; besides, as known since ever, triviality has no chance in sale-promoting graphic art. The samples of Hans Adolf Albitz’ and Ruth Albitz-Geiss’ works will justify my statement in full.

Hans Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Poster Design
Hans Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Poster Design

 

Hans Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Illustrated Greetings
Hans Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Illustrated Greetings
Hans Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Subway boardings (3,80 × 2,50 m)
Hans Adolf Albitz und Ruth Albitz-Geiß, Subway boardings (3,80 × 2,50 m)
More graphic design history articles

Members Content

The 1960s was an era characterised by political, social, and cultural shifts. The counterculture movement emerged as a response to the perceived failures of the mainstream establishment, sparking a wave of activism and alternative ideologies. And with these an array of printed matter. Counterculture publications, often referred to as the "underground press," became powerful platforms for dissent, expression, and the exploration of new ideas.

Members Content

When perusing vintage publications, I often stumble upon forgotten or undocumented gems. In this article, I compare two remarkable advertisements designed for Sprengel Ltd byHerbert Zumpe and Karl Otto Goetz
Every year the 20 best posters are selected in Germany and once more brought to the attention of the public. We do not publish all the twenty posters today; instead we add some which failed to be distinguished and which nevertheless are distinguished.
I have long been a fan of Counter-Print, as a student, I would order their newsprint publications, peruse their Flickr albums and now, over a decade later I still buy their latest releases and their site provides our staff with great giftse throughout the year. I interviewed one of the founders, Jon Dowling to find out more about setting up Counter-Print, their favourite books and which publishers inspire them.