Extant DDR

Club ColaThe particular circumstances of the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or East Germany) meant little focus on marketing and little attention on design. Even before the fall of the Berlin Wall, some of this design began to be recognized. The show Design in der DDR in Stuttgart in 1988 was perhaps the first recognition of extant design. Taschen puts out two books (with nearly the same content) of some of these Wall-era products: the smaller but newer DDR Design and the larger SED: Stunning Eastern Design. If you’re looking for more instant DDR gratification, the website DDR Alltagskultur (Everyday DDR Culture) provides images for an amazingly wide (and still growing) list of East German products. The site is in German, but language skills are not necessary to enjoy the design, just scroll down in the lefthand frame. Language skills may be needed to enjoy all of the books on their Buchtip(p)s pages. I plan on purchasing one or two in the hopes that they’ll include plenty of color pictures. Finally, a key to the images: on the left is the East German Club-Cola (now available again [de] for those with Ostalgie). On the right is the modern (but still very Extant) Pepsi Schwip Schwap[de] (a German cola/orange drink, not unlike OK Soda). Poor Schwip Schwap seems to be heavily outmarketed [de] by Coca-Cola’s Mezzo Mix [de].

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