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Distributed for Scheidegger & Spiess

Wilhelm Deffke

Pioneer of the Modern Logo

Considered the “father of the modern logo,” the commercial artist and architect Wilhelm Deffke cofounded Germany’s first modern advertising agency in 1915. He argued that a company’s logo should serve as the foundation of its advertising and by 1950 he had designed more than ten thousand logos. Many of them were notable for their style, which was unusually abstract for the time.

The first book ever published about Deffke, Wilhelm Deffke features five hundred beautifully reproduced images illustrating his achievements in poster and commercial art. These include not only his logos for companies and products but also his designs for exhibitions and trade fairs. Fourteen insightful essays accompany the images, exploring Deffke’s significance and situating his work in the context of German, European, and international design.

Published to coincide with an exhibition at the German Poster Museum in Essen, this book invites readers to rediscover an exceptional figure in the history of advertising and graphic design.

392 pages | 475 color plates, 380 halftones | 10 x 13 | © 2014


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“Scheidegger and Spiess and the Berlin-based Bröhan Design Foundation are bringing Deffke some long-deserved recognition. . . . The volume comprises a valuable document championing an old face in the history of branding with new emphasis.”

Steven Heller | Atlantic

Table of Contents


From the Logo to Digital Communication Design – Torsten Bröhan

From Book to Poster

The Search for a Modern Form of Surface Design – Wilhelm Deffke’s Training in Wuppertal – Gerda Breuer

Developing Talents – Wilhelm Deffke’s Early Years in Berlin (1909-1914) – Susanne Engelhard

Deffke and the Werkbund – Christopher Oestereich

Wilhelm Deffke’s Posters – René Grohnert

From Logo to Corporate Design

From Wilhelmwerk (1915-1920) to Internatio (1920-1933) – The Wilhelm Deffke and Carl Ernst Hinkefuss Advertising Studios – Roland Jaeger

The Book Handelsmarken und Fabrikzeichen – Ute Brüning

Avant Garde vs. Avant Garde – Questioning Historiography on the Basis of Wilhelm Deffke’s Designs for the Wuppertal Coat of Arms – Julia Meer

Why a Deffke Trademark? – Deffke’s Logos 1934-1950 – Christoph Janik

From Advertising to Architecture

The Anonymous Creator of a Famous Company Logo Deffke’s Signet for the Cigarette Manufacturer Reemtsma – Roland Jaeger/Peter Nils Dorén

Deffke and Manoli – Susanne Engelhard/Christoph Janik

The Total Work of Advertising Rückforth – From Signet to Trade Fair Stand – Wilhelm Deffke and the Rückforth AG 1921-1924 - Susanne Engelhard/Christoph Janik

From Architecture to Teaching

Wilhelm Deffke’s Glass Trade Fair Stand for the Tesma Cigarette Factory, Berlin - Susanne Engelhard/Christoph Janik

Wilhelm Deffke as an Architekt – Karen Lelonek

The Utopian Project M – Wilhelm Deffke and Magdeburg – Norbert Eisold

Bibliography and Appendix

Wilhelm Deffke – Biography – Christoph Janik

Catalogue of Illustrations

Deffke Client Directory

Deffke Bibliography – Burkhard Sülzen

Selected Bibliography


Copyrights and Photo Credits



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