1975, as a visiting lecturer in Edmonton, Canada, I first noticed the prints on cardboard boxes put out for garbage pick-up. Soon cutting them out and collecting them became an obsession. I spent fifteen years rummaging around in piles of garbage all over the world and ended up with some 15´000 bits of this precious matter. 5000 are reproduced in this book. One of the reasons for publishing them lies in the hope that they will inspire professional designers to take a more meaningful approach to signs, people who usually confound simplification with schematization and design their pictograms to death. The information on cardboard packaging on transport has virtually no effect on the sale of a product. In consequence, it is of little interest to professional designers. The prints are created by people doing an unofficial job that requires no specific training. Even with the most extreme reduction to essentials, their drawings are capable of conveying sensuality, surprise, and precise information. Over the years I have come to deeply appreciate and, indeed, admire these unsung designers. It is to them that I dedicate my book.
Die Hieroglyphen von heute starts with the entire spectrum from `pure´ representation and decorative display to the personification of the product. The 948 company logos and trademarks that follow demonstrate the infinite potential of combining lettering and images. The next sections cover visual instructions on handling the packaged goods in transport. The book concludes with the depiction of people, animals, plants, and all the artefacts with which the inhabitants of the twentieth century have surrounded themselves. Should they be forgotten, future generations can look them up here: they are today´s hieroglyphs.” Hans-Rudolf Lutz
Second edition, 1997, German, English, French, Japanese,
528 pages, 5000 reproductions, 22,5 x 30 cm, hardcover with dust jacket