The history of form Magazine

1957 – Jupp Ernst, director of the Werkkunstschule in Kassel, and the museum directors Willem Sandberg and Curt Schweicher founded form magazine together with former Bauhaus member Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Originally called: “International Revue”, it was published by Friedrich Middelhauve’s Westdeutscher Verlag in Opladen. form initially had quite a broad cultural agenda; published quarterly, it focused on topics relating to art, architecture and industrial design. Following the Bauhaus ‘gesamtkunst’ approach, ballet and album reviews were just as much at home in form as poetry and design manifestos. The cover of the first issue featured a pencil drawing by Le Corbusier together with a photo of a Rietveld chair. The layout was devised by Müller / Blase studio, and graphic artist Karl Oskar Blase designed almost all the covers right up until 1968.

1962 – Karlheinz Krug, a graduate of the famous Ulm School of Design, joined form as an an editor. His name is listed for the first time in the imprint of issue 19. Krug went on to become editor-in-chief, a post he retained until the end of 1998. He was a major influence on the magazine and continued as co-chief editor right up until the end of 2001.

1966 – marked the first relaunch of form: Issue 33 bore the subtitle “Zeitschrift für Gestaltung” (“Magazine for Design”) for the first time. An international advisory board was also established, which included such illustrious names as Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Sigfried Giedion, Johannes Itten, Richard Buckminster Fuller and Max Bill, amongst others. Max Bill was quoted in the issue saying: “we need an independent information vehicle in order to promote the principles of design. We believe form magazine fulfills this function.”

1974 – Westdeutscher Verlag, form’s publisher, was acquired by the Bertelsmann media corporation. However, thanks to the efforts of editor-in-chief Karlheinz Krug, form’s graphics designer, Hanswerner Klein and commercial director H.O. Döring, form was not part of the final sales package. The three former staff members took over ownership of the magazine together and founded their own publishing company “Verlag form.”

1994 – Alex Buck (co-editor alongside Krug) and Matthias Vogt (MD) took over the running of the magazine. form’s offices were located in Düsseldorf, where Karlheinz Krug continued to act as editor-in-chief, and in Frankfurt, where editor Fabian Wurm and art director Andreas Liedtke shaped the content and image of the magazine until the end of 1998. The Offenbach-based “Büro für Gestaltung” handled the graphic relaunch and in subsequent years the publishing company brought out designer monographs and publication series, such as “Designer Profiles,” “Design Classics” and “form diskurs.”

1997 – form gets its first website with Petra Schmidt in charge of the content, and Mathias Wollin handling the graphics. Internationally renowned graphic designers such as Stefan Sagmeister, Jonathan Barnbrook, Peter Saville, Gunter Rambow and Mike Meiré created various form covers.

1999 – Petra Schmidt took over from long-standing editor-in-chief Karlheinz Krug. Together with her team she devised a new shape for form. Issue 170 marked the next form re-launch which now bore the new subtitle “The European Design Magazine”. form was now fully bilingual in German and English and was published six times a year, instead of quarterly.

2002 – The Swiss publishing house Birkhäuser Verlag, took over form magazine. Birkhäuser was part of Springer Science and Business Media at the time. The form editorial team relocated from Frankfurt to Gravenbruch.

2003 – Ruedi Baur, Bernhard E. Bürdek, Alois Martin Müller, Chee Pearlman, Dieter Rams, Winfried Scheuer, Erik Spiekermann, John Thackara and Stefan Ytterborn are appointed honorary consultants to the magazine.

2005 – Issue 206 marked a special relaunch: form repositioned itself as the leading design magazine on the German-speaking market. Coverage now concentrated on design processes and development and as a result gained a new subtitle: “The Making of Design”. form’s layout and online image were updated and revised by the Frankfurt agency hauser lacour in cooperation with meso.net.

2006 – Gerrit Terstiege, a member of the editorial team since 1997, became editor-in-chief of form.

2007 – The editorial team moved from Frankfurt to Birkhäuser Verlag’s headquarters in Basle, Switzerland.

2010 – The Spanish publishing house Actar acquired Birkhäuser’s architecture and design section and with it, form.

2011 – Karlheinz Krug, form’s editor-in-chief and publisher of many years, died at the age of 77.

2012 – Birkhäuser Verlag, the owners of form magazine since 2002, went bankrupt in early 2012. Peter Wesner from Frankfurt am Main became the new owner of form magazine. The publishing house Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin, bought Birkhäuser´s book publishing division. The new form editorial team is led by Stephan Ott (Editor-in-Chief, Frankfurt am Main) and Sophie Lovell (Executive Editor, Berlin). form magazine is now published by the publishing house Verlag form GmbH & Co. KG, Frankfurt am Main. 
The first issue of form, 1957.
The first issue of form, 1957.
Jupp Ernst, Curt Schweicher and Willem Sandberg - three of our four founders at an exhibition opening in 1962.
Jupp Ernst, Curt Schweicher and Willem Sandberg - three of our four founders at an exhibition opening in 1962.
Wilhelm Wagenfeld, the fourth founder of our magazine.
Wilhelm Wagenfeld, the fourth founder of our magazine.
Karlheinz Krug, former editor-in-chief of form magazine.
Karlheinz Krug, former editor-in-chief of form magazine.

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