Erwin Poell

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Erwin Poell's first stamp design in 1965

Erwin Poell (born August 9, 1930 in Ravensburg ) is a German book designer, graphic designer and typographer.


At the age of 14 he began his training in four different professions: lithographer, typesetter, graphic designer and publisher. From 1951 he studied with Walter Brudi at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart .

As early as 1953 he became production manager and book designer at Keyser Verlag in Heidelberg . In 1955 he started his own business, first in Mannheim , and since 1962 in Heidelberg. In the following 50 years he was one of the busiest book designers in Germany for over three decades. Well over a thousand book objects for a number of the most famous German publishing houses bear his signature. As art director of the publishing houses Ullstein and Propylaea from 1964 to 1971 in Berlin, he created not only many bestseller titles (Speer, memories; Mauriac, de Gaulle; Hailey, Airport) but also the current version of the Ullstein owl. Additional tasks from chemical and pharmaceutical companies, from the Council of Europe , ministries, textbook and lexicon publishers were added: BASF in Ludwigshafen am Rhein entrusted him with the redesign of its shares and securities.

For more than 30 years he designed postage stamps for the German Federal Post Office , which were printed in an edition of over a billion copies.

Another focus of his work was the transfer of scientific knowledge in collaboration with Hoimar von Ditfurth and leading scientists and Nobel Prize winners in the scientific magazines " Naturwissenschaft + Medizin " and " Mannheimer Forum ".

Logo of the city of Heidelberg

From 1990 Poell devoted himself primarily to the development of visual appearances for institutions and municipalities. This is how the extensive corporate design for the Bethel Foundation in Bielefeld , one of the largest social enterprises in the world , was created between 1990 and 1998 .

His last major project was community design for the city of Heidelberg.

Erwin Poell has received over 80 national and international prizes and awards for his work. His opulent monograph was published in 1993 by Birkhäuser Verlag in Basel. At the age of 75 he ended his professional activity in 2005.


  • Erwin Poell, designs for everyday life · Typography, graphic design, art direction. Work monograph 1955–1992. With text contributions by Hans-Peter Thür, Rudolf Sühnel, Gotthard de Beauclair, Hermann Zapf, Hans Adolf Halbey, Hans-Jürgen Corduan, Wolfgang Görlach, Ernst Peter Fischer, Hubert Blana, Achim Frederik Kiel, Kurt Weidemann and Rolf Felix Müller. Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, Boston, Berlin, 1993.
  • Erwin Poell, * 1930 · Life seeks its way. Memories from childhood, youth and years of apprenticeship 1930–1955. With a Liber amicorum for the 80th birthday of the designer and book designer. Mattes Verlag Heidelberg, 2010. ISBN 978-3-86809-080-2

Web links

Commons : Erwin Poell  - collection of images, videos and audio files