Graphic designer Anton Stankowski, born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, is a man whose understanding of colour and form in painting has informed his design solutions. After first training as an interior decorator from 1921-26, he went to Essen in 1927 to study for two years at the Folkwangschule where Max Burchartz was a tutor. He started working for Johannes Canis’ studio in Bochum (1928-29) before joining the Max Dalang advertising agency in Zurich as a graphic artist, where he stayed until 1936. It was during this period that Stankowski developed his interest and expertise in industrial graphics.
After exploring the principles of Constructivism and the Bauhaus, and experimentation with photomontage in the 1930s, Stankowski’s post-war career involved producing layouts, photography and typography for the acclaimed picture magazine Stuttgarter Illustrierte (1949-1951).
Opening his own design studio in Stuttgart in 1951, Stankowski pioneered corporate design programmes for Standard Electric, Pausa AG and IBM. Other clients included Süddeutscher Rundfunk, Behr-Möbel, Vissmann and Deutsche Bank. Stankowski brought imagination and graphic vigour to his work. He handled type freely but kept it highly readable. He could organize a chart or table meticulously but experimented with photographs and rotational planes rhythmically in a design. He used sans serif types where he could, but blended type and pictures creatively. Much of his typographic work is clear and orderly, with judicious use of white space, colour bars and symbolic illustration contributing personality and visual appeal. Some of his typographic projects use large and even cropped letters, curved or angled words – yet all within an obviously ordered design. Stankowski always thoroughly researched his product and was particularly adept at transferring the underlying scientific concepts into effective visual motifs.
A notable example of Stankowski’s work is the civic identity he created for Berlin in 1965. His solution featured consistent use, in all material, of a long horizontal line with a short vertical rising from it – a symbol for a Berlin divided by a wall.
Stankowski renamed his studio Stankowski + Partners when he linked up with Karl Duschek and O S Rechenauer in 1970. He was chairman of the visual design committee for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and was made a professor by the state of Baden-Württemberg in 1976. He received numerous awards for his work. He was a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and in 1985 the Anton Stankowski Foundation and Prize was established in Stuttgart. His work has been seen in many exhibitions in Europe and America, including the Kunsthaus in Zurich in 1979.
“Stankowski’s published works include Funktion und ihre Daarstellung in der Werbegrafik Teufen (1964), Firmenimage, written with O S Rechenauer, Düsseldorf (1969), Der Pfeil, with J Stankowski and E Gomringer, Starnberg (1972), Anzeige, Inserat, with K Duschek, Stuttgart (1976), Gucken, with E Gomringer, Leonberg (1979), Typogramme, with H Heissenbütel, Leonberg (1985), Visuelle Kommunikation, co-edited with K Duschek, Berlin 1989, Formfinden Stuttgart (1991). His most recent publication Stankowski Photos edited by Stankowski – Stiftung and published by Hatje Cantz, Germany, details his work during the Zurich years. See also Anton Stankowski. Das Gesamtwerk, edited by Günther Wirth, Eugen Gomringer and Stephan von Wiese, Stuttgart (1983).”