Responses by Matthias Storath, chief creative officer, HEIMAT Berlin
Background: 30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, freedom was supposed to be a given. But, the truth is that freedom is endangered now more than ever, everywhere in the world. We wanted to create a message to remind everybody just how precious freedom is. And that “divisions” are probably the biggest threat to freedom today.
Reasoning: The Berlin Wall is a global symbol for repression, but then again, the fall of the Wall is one of the biggest symbols of freedom. We wanted to bring people closer to this idea. And we wanted to create a more intense feeling. So instead of just talking about the wall, we let the wall do the talking in this two-minute spot.
Challenges: Each letter in our typeface is created from real graffiti on the Berlin Wall. To make this happen, we did an incredible amount of research and took hundreds of photos from real pieces of the wall that were still in existence—a process that took over three months. So, on the one hand, there was the sheer mass of photos that had to been taken, and the hundreds of letters that had to be found. On the other hand, we thought a lot about what the voice of the wall should sound like. How would the wall talk? Is the wall itself “evil,” or did the wall suffer from the cruel things that happened at the border?
Favorite details: Overall, the mix of visuals, voice, music and sound create an authentic identity for the wall. A lot of people told me, “Yes, this is exactly how the wall would tell the story.”
Visual influences: The original graffiti from the wall was the biggest influence. Of course, for the most, these are not pieces of art. But this is what makes the type so real. And this is what makes the story so involving.
Specific demands: Of course, it’s hard to tell the story of the wall with only a typeface and no images or film footage. On the other hand, this technique creates strong images in your mind.