Willy Fleckhaus


Books, jackets, magazines. Born 21 December 1925 in Velbert. From 1944: military service in Wehrmacht. Oct. 1944-Oct. 1945: prisoner-of-war in northern Italy. During his captivity he learned that the nuns at a nearby convent had a printing press; the British gave him the paper, and Fleckhaus was able to print a small book of poetry, his first effort at design and printing. 1950-53: editor of teen-age magazine Aufwärts, Cologne (1952: art director). 1956-76: designer of ‘photokina’ exhibition. 1959-71: art director of twen, which brought him international fame through his bold use of photography and typography (Gold Medal, Art Directors Club of New York). From 1959: designed for publishers Suhrkamp and Insel. From 1974: taught at Essen University then, from 1981 at Bergische University, Wuppertal. 1981-3: founder and art director of weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin (FAZ) for which he won numerous awards. Designed for Mercedes-Benz, German Post Office. Numerous design awards for his innovative typography and layout. Died 12 September 1983 in Castelfranco di Sopra, Italy. 1987: elected to Art Directors Club of New York Hall of Fame. ‘Fleckhaus was probably the most influential book and magazine designer in post-war Germany.’ (Eye, p. 24)

Writings by

  • ‘Novum Education’ (Gesamthochschule, Essen), novum, May 1976, pp. 27-35
  • ‘Hubert Kretzschmar, Essen’, novum, Sept. 1978, pp. 4-10, 61-2.
  • ‘Heinz Edelmann’, novum, Oct. 1974, pp. 10-19

Writings about

  • Kurt Weidemann, ‘The advertising book-jacket, 1963’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Sept. 1964, pp. 8-23
  • Armin Eichholz, ‘A clarion among German magazines’ (twen), in Gg, Sept. 1963, pp. 30-41
  • Wolfram Siebeck, ‘Magazine design for a swinging generation’ (twen), in Graphis 140, 1968, pp. 478-89
  • 75 Jahre Insel Verlag, Frankfurt a.M.: Insel, 1974
  • Siegfried Unseld, Der Marienbader Korb, Hamburg: Maximilian Gesellschaft, 1976
  • Stanley Mason, ‘Willy Fleckhaus. Book covers for a sophisticated readership’, Graphis 190, 1977, pp. 144-7 S. Unseld, ‘Cantus firmus. Zum Tode von Willy Fleckhaus’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 76, 1983 Hermann Pfeiffer, ‘Die Fachhochschule entlässt ihre Kinder’, Graphik, 1984, 2, pp. 15-23 (Bergischen Universität, Wuppertal) Thomas Schröder, ‘Willy Fleckhaus, in memoriam’, Graphis 232, 1984, pp. 30-45
  • Steven Heller, ‘Willy Fleckhaus: the modern master of magazine design’, Graphis, May/June 1987, pp. 10-23
  • Klaus Thomas Edelmann, ‘Paint it Black’, Eye, 3/1991, pp. 22-35
  • ‘German book jackets’, novum, Sept. 1972, pp. 2-9, esp. pp. 2, 4
  • Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopädie, Munich, London, New Providence: K.G. Saur 1995- (from 1997: Munich only)., 1996
  • Michael Koetzle and Carsten M. Wolff, Fleckhaus/Deutschlands erster Art Director, Munich/Berlin: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1997 (includes numerous speeches by WF
  • good biography and bibliography)
  • Leica World, 2/1997
  • Herbert Lechner, review of Fleckhaus/Deutschlands erster Art Director, in Graphis, May/June, 1998, p. 8
  • G.K. Schauer, ‘The advertising book-jacket 1962’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Oct. 1963, pp. 8-19
  • Friedrich Friedl, Nicolaus Ott, Bernard Stein, Typography – when/who/how, Cologne: Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 1998., 1998
  • R. Fellinger and W. Schopf, Klein Geschichte der Edition Suhrkamp, 2003, Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, Munich/Leipzig: K.G. Saur Verlag, 1990-., 2004.


  • Munich, 1995
  • Kunsthaus, Hamburg, 1996
  • Madrid, 2002