Fall of the Berlin Wall – 20th anniversary (1989-2009)

I forgot to publish this brand new design!  The East and West Berlin maps depicted as two faces kissing, in the colours of the German flag. I designed it on November 9, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. You can get this on t-shirt, mug, button, tote, blablabla… If the product you like is not available, just give me a ring and I’ll add it.

Mauerfall by Ina Mar

It was fun designing this.

How-Tos and Why-Tos

  1. I used some pictures I had taken back in 2000 or 2001, of two people kissing. Printed them in black and white and cut the silhouettes with the scissors. I know it’s possible to crop them in Photoshop, I just think it’s much more fun to cut around the outlines with the scissors!
  2. I then scanned the two silhouettes in high resolution, manipulated them a little (i love the guy’s profile, but her nose needed some Photoshop surgery)
  3. coloured them in red and yellow to remind the German flag
  4. … then mixed in Photoshop separately each silhouette with a part of of Berlin (East and West). I put the head over the appropriate map, scaled, rotated and distorted it until it fitted the form and dimensions of the map, then erased some parts of the head and some parts of the map, until they could be merged into one form. Had to repaint some details, because the fusion was visible or not fitting in some parts. It was somehow difficult to decide where the head stops and where the map starts. For East Berlin (right), I kept the girl’s chin, because a detail of the map looks like a neck and this fitted nicely together. As both faces are tilted, to counterpoint the chin and create some balance in the overall image, I kept the boy’s complete forehead. I like this tilted line, starting from the bottom of her chin going up to his forehead.
  5. I then repositionned the two forms – I approached the too heads to another, to make sure her nose is hidden under his nose. Just kidding… I let a couple of millimeters distance between their lips, to give this “encounter” some suspense and to symbolize the nearness of East and West Berlin, divided by a single wall.
  6. Last, I created some distressed effects and tactile imperfections in Photoshop. Although there are ready collections of layers and plug-ins available that give a distressed effect, I prefer to create my own effects, so I can have more control on the result. I often work with scanned vintage photographs or with digital pictures of wall structures and painted surfaces. In this case, I used the eraser tool and my instinct: I erased some parts of the maps/heads using different opacities, different brushes and several brush diameters and hardnesses. It’s a very “tactile” technique.
  7. For the slogan, I used a distressed font by Clément Nicolle (Stereotype). I bought this font a couple of years ago, love this guys fonts. The slogan itself, “Wir hassen Grenzen” (we hate limits, in German) – well I’m still not sure if it’s the best I could find. Perhaps it should have been something more “obvious”, so everybody understands it’s about the reunion of West and East Berlin. But I don’t really like obvious slogans. I tried to integrate the words “East” and “West” on the maps, but it didn’t  fit – it took away the purity of this “kiss”. So it will have to remain a design for “connoisseurs”!

Note: There’s no symbolism in the choice of male (West Berlin) and female (East Berlin) – I just chose the silhouettes according to their visual compatibility with the appropriate map – their sex is not recognizable anyway, at least that was my plan…

Don’t hesitate to comment and write here your thoughts.

Ina Mar's Desk

PS. I would like to thank Tomo Usuda for including my work in his article Hybridised Practice Critical Review: Historical ethical aesthetic of digital tech (Blog “Berlin mit Berlin, December 10, 2009)

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