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Circulation and diasporas


Jeremy Aynsley
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 1
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Dear Patrick,

I very much enjoyed your Keynote and your framing of the German magazines as 'small archives' as an introductory concept for this marvellous conference. Thank you very much.

It would have been beyond the scope of your lecture but I wondered whether you could comment on your points about the German illustrated press forming models for other nations' presses. I am thinking about the extent to which the circulation of German magazines across the world to both Germanophone and non-German speaking/reading lands played a part, and also the enormous impact of chosen and forced migration of some of the key figures within the German magazine industry. So, in short, the objects themselves and/or the skills, knowledge and ideas of the people themselves.

Thank you for any thoughts you have on this.


I realise this question may have connections with other papers in the conference.

Jeremy Aynsley 



Patrick Rössler
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 19

Dear Jeremy,

many thanks for your message, I am still sad that after meeting once we were not able to stay in contact...

Of course you are raising a crucial question, and I always consider it as being a process of mutual coorientation, rather than quarreling about "whos was first?" or "who invented X?". As a matter of fact, media distributon was already a global affair at least after WW I. Admitted, it took some time to bring printed matter to the other ends of the world, it was, however, common, and special distributors were collecting German media to be shipped to other countries and vice versa. Magazines being less current than newspaper and, at the same time, often equipped with a cardboard wrapper which made them more durable when sent far away. These international samples were well studied by local media people and often imitated - sometimes in higher quality, sometimes not.

Moreover, it was also common among figures of the avant-garde or the modernist movement to maintain a mailing list of important people all over the world who received copies of new printed matter. New typography in particular was distributed in this way at least in the Western hemisphere, and we know of many of these lists by e.g. Bauhaus people such as Herbert Bayer which were amended permamently.

Finally, the people themselves travelled (and carried samples of their work with them), some of them - most notably - after 1933 when the Nazi rgime forced them into exile. A lot was already written about Korff, Lorant and others who learned their profession in Germany and then made big careers in other countries. In the 1930s this influence was largely a one-way street, but usually ideas, design styles and magazine concepts travelled this way between different societies and thus leading to the mutual coorientation I mentioned before. But if I had to guess then I would always argue that from Germany probably the most relevant influences went out to the world when it comes to the concept of news and in the graphic design area, while the U.S. were leading in terms of eceonomic issues, advertising and magazine distribution. From other countries and, my apologies, in particular from the UK nothing original and relevant emerged (maybe except for a few issues of Blast). Even Liliput was just a copy of the city slicker magazines, as I called them, from the 1920s.

I hope this makes sense to you & all best