eco logical – zumtobel 2019 annual report, editorial design, dornbirn, austria, 2020

this austrian luminaire manufacturer brings light into the world – or, more precisely, into buildings and public spaces – it deals in enlightenment in the literal sense of the word. the company has traditionally entrusted the design of its annual report to prominent artists, architects and designers. with the conventional kind of enlightenment in mind, it only made sense for them to turn to werner sobek, an engineer with a longstanding focus on sustainable building. it‘s a hugely important issue: the construction sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which makes it the principal driver of climate change. werner sobek in turn asked our firm to take care of the design for him. so we packaged the visionary engineer‘s thoughts in a clear and simple concept – except that „packaging“ is perhaps the wrong word: actually, we unpacked and detoxed the design, making it fully consistent with the idea of conserving resources and energy and reducing waste. the idea was to create the kind of effect achieved by martin luther‘s 95 theses: sending a message that is visible, powerful and clear − yet at the same time produced in such a pared-down, minimal way that it is credible, too. we therefore proposed that the engineer formulate his key ideas as „theses“, bold statements of belief, which are presented on 17 fold-out pages inside the book. the format is determined by using the printed sheets to the maximum, generating hardly any waste. the binding is minimal, too: no cover materials or adhesives are used, only a red thread lockstitched directly through the book block, making the whole thing simply and easily recyclable. the annual report is printed in one colour only – a rousing, specially-mixed red – which again produces a lower environmental impact and also – as a happy side effect – a beautiful design. a thin paper, 100 gsm, was selected to reduce the weight of the printed matter, minimising the energy required for transportation. so although the report weighs in with 128 pages it is (in everything but its message) a lightweight, packed – naturally – not in plastic film but glassine paper, which not only looks better but sounds so much nicer, too. incidentally, the whole report is set in the same font style. and while this might not be ecological in itself, it certainly has a compelling logic in design terms. and both things matter, after all.

zumtobel 2019 annual report
editorial design
dornbirn, austria, 2020


werner sobek

communication design:
büro uebele
visuelle kommunikation
project team:
dominik bissem (project manager)
carolin himmel
andreas uebele

dominik bissem
andreas uebele

photos product:
zumtobel group

principal typefaces:
whyte, book