1 Home Town – Lëtzebuerg

In order to clear up my work in progress with student projects and make space for the latest post-university projects (aka after assessment!) I am cleaning up the categories, but here are the CSM-specific categories just in case of need:
(and don’t forget to scroll down if you want to read through the development of a project from start to finish!)

Projects done around CSM

Year Two at Central Saint Martins (2012-2013):
Unit 5
Visual Language: International Klein Blue
Liberty’s Department Store into Flipbooks, a building translated into a book
Yves Klein by himself, a book translated into a building
Blast/Bless: Postcards from London, Luxembourg and Paris

Unit 6 – The Bigger Picture

Unit 7
Time is of the Essence: Student Organiser
What if Music Could Be Seen: Musical Perception
Pop Up Shop: &London Notebooks

Context / Dissertation
Unit 8-9

Year Three at Central Saint Martins (2013-2014):
Unit 10
Home Town: Luxembourg(ish)
The Value of an Image
A Do Something But Not Anything Manifesto
Public/Personal Space

TSI (Typography Special Interest Group)

Final Year Digital


Events & Exhibitions

Competitions & Collaborations & Live Briefs
Barnard & Westwood
Font Aid IV

An Illustration Workshop
An Internship at the Imprimerie du Marais
Art Auction 2013 Catalogue
D&AD British Council
D&AD Monotype



The subject of the Luxembourgish language and it’s necessity as a spoken and taught official language is currently a very hot topic in Luxembourg, so there are a lot of articles appearing out of nowhere with different opinions and discussions.
I have been continuing to push the branding brief for Luxembourg/the Luxembourgish language, but I am still stuck for now, as I haven’t been able to find a solution to combine the three languages together in an easily readable way that relates to 7 to 77 year–old–people inside and outside Luxembourg, foreigners and residents, digital as well as print (yet). I also haven’t found the right typeface yet so I’m keeping Akkurat Pro as a placeholder for now, until I find a less German typeface.

Here are the directions that I have been working towards for now:

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I want to somehow be able to show the transitions between the three languages to show the origins of Luxembourgish and help understand the history behind it as well as the language itself, while integrating the other official languages. Furthermore it would also be nice to include a way to ‘promote’ Luxembourg through it’s language to foreigners that don’t know much about Luxembourg by creating an awareness campaign with appropriate communication.

Throughout the autumn term, the Luxemburger Wort also published a few commentary articles by Adam Walder about the Luxembourgish language. Adam Walder is currently an editor for the English Wort version and co-creator of Fuze. He came to Luxembourg from the UK about a decade ago.
Here are a few extracts from the four short commentaries:

1. Luxembourg, a language paradise or paradox?

(…)For those that arrive in Luxembourg, for whatever reason, without mastering one of the country’s three official languages find it hard to learn any of them. Why? Because outside the classroom virtually all Luxembourgish nationals and those that have lived here for some considerable time have this amazing ability to flick from language to language as though selecting a TV channel. This means they are able to immediately “tune in” to the poor struggling foreigner in front of them and adapt their language accordingly.

(…)Just over the border however, the tables are completely turned. I lived for several years in France, including Metz, where there is no option but to converse in “la langue française”. This approach has helped me no end to improve my French and in a relatively short space of time. Spending three years in Denmark under similar circumstances meant that Danish is also under my belt.

(…)Let’s also not forget that virtually everything is written in French or German including the Luxemburger Wort of course! So at least one of those languages is vital in order to read anything.

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After a little break from any kind of work (except for working on preparing the last few of the &London notebooks and other items for my Etsy Shop), it is now time to get back into work before the crazyness of the christmas days takes over.

So after the final crit on December 6th for the Home Town brief before which I was stuck, I was left with a lot more work and research and analysis and most of all reasoning to do. Back in Luxembourg, I am now completely in the problem and debate of the Luxembourgish language, its usefulness (or uselessness, depending from which point of view you are looking at apparently), its value, and what it brings to Luxembourg as a country and the people using it.

Not only does it seem like it but the more people I talk to the clearer the opinions are divided:
Luxembourgish is useless for foreigners to learn or mostly even just too inconvenient as they can easily continue to speak the languages they are used to which are mainly French, sometimes German as these languages are understood by Luxembourgish speaking residents, or another language of its own as they build and stay in their own communities such as Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic or other cultures.
Luxembourgers who grew up in Luxembourg and spent their whole life in Luxembourg and have Luxembourgish as their first language find the fact that they cannot speak their first language in their home country unfair for them and it seems as if they are less unwelcome to live out the Luxembourgish habits, have to adapt to a changing environment (and everyone knows that humans are not that happy with change) instead of keeping their well known habits.

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The first thing that came onto the table as feedback was the suggestion to create some sort of awareness campaign out of this project in two steps, starting with the question of ‘do you know there is a language called Luxembourgish’ before following up with a campaign showing the country with/by the language, sort of educational. While I agree with the idea of increasing awareness (which is nowadays already growing due to our new elections in October 2013 and the Luxembourgish language gaining more importance next to other new languages), I am going to try and not only represent Luxembourgish itself as a focus but as well the other influences. With so many people living in Luxembourg without speaking the Luxembourgish language and only German or French, it is important to create an identity that represents as many residents as possible from the outside while encouraging the non-Luxembourgish-speaking residents and workers to learn Luxembourgish and integrate into society as well as for the Luxembourgish-speaking residents to support the learning process and continue speak Luxembourgish (to a certain extend), without being over-protective over the language. The fact that a lot of employees in Luxembourg consist in residents outside of Luxembourg is not helping. What I would want to try is to create a campaign that encourages the use of Luxembourgish from those that are working and/or living here, while maybe as a bonus attracting curious visitors to the country while showing that yes there is a language called Luxembourg, and even that there is a country called Luxembourg with a long history. A survey in Luxembourg was also an advice, which I think I also have already been doing with discussing with different people from Luxembourg to get different approaches as it is different for me growing up in a Luxembourgish home than for people growing up in a home where Portuguese, French or any other language while living in Luxembourg or immigrating early or later during their life.  The use of Luxembourgish is a hot topic right now in Luxembourg.

The approach of over-layering and isolation of the words/letters of the same meaning seemed appealing to a lot of the students, another comment was the question about a logo or appliance to the words onto a variation of different words. While I think that there should be an overall look of the campaign, I don’t think it is necessary to create a single logo as the identity would be created through the specific use of the typography and colour and the way it is used, and it shouldn’t be limited to one fixed visual logo. There was argumentation of making the French and German words less impactful and the Luxembourgish parts more intense, and different preferences from the different experimentations I have done so far.

I am happy and grateful for the lot of feedback that I got and am going to do more experimentation with different type, words and will try to look at interactive typography as well to maybe find another way of merging the letters. There is still a lot of work to do!

A review of my presentation from the final crit on friday.

I didn’t want to go through the explanations of the messy reigning history again as most of the other students were present during the interim crit presentation as well and so aware of it, instead I only repeated it again. As decided after the interim crit, I focussed on the Luxembourgish (or Luxemburgish) language to represent the grand duchy with the unstable history and influences from different cultures and reigning periods as well as i- and emigrating residents that are still going on. As argumented during the final year digital meeting discussion on wednesday, I tried to figure out what Luxembourgish means to me. (it also was the place where I concluded that home was speaking Luxembourgish in some way) As Luxembourgish is my first language, it is very important to myself as it still is the language that I am most at ease at (that is, if I don’t stop speaking it).

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Preparing for a final crit when there wasn’t enough time for the project to be close to finished is a worrying task. Searching here and there at the same time didn’t help, so the preparation of the final crit presentation is going to be pretty rough. Here is a look into my notes for now.

Trying to find what makes Luxembourg unique, which leads me to the overlapping languages and the origin of the language. I used a few common words and tried to compare from where and what language they came from, and how they were transformed by the spoken word. What could speaking or learning Luxembourgish bring to Luxembourg, why would it be a good way to show the country?