Exhibition catalogue design for ‘A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography’ at Tate

Sandra Zellmer (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formDesign


[from Tate website 2023] This book is a celebration of a celebration of the varied landscape of contemporary African photography today.

Bringing together a group of artists from different generations, this exhibition will address how photography, film, audio, and more have been used to reimagine Africa’s diverse cultures and historical narratives.

Moving beyond a traditional photography exhibition, the show seeks to explore the many ways images travel across histories and geographies. Using themes of spirituality, identity, urbanism and climate emergency, the exhibition will guide the viewer through dream-like utopias and bustling cityscapes viewed from the artists’ perspectives.

The exhibition follows artists across the many landscapes, borders and time zones of Africa to reveal how photography allows the past and the future to co-exist in powerful and transformative ways.

[notes on Design] The design concept of the exhibition catalogue is rooted in the use of experimental (and new) typefaces that evoke a diverse and vibrant portrait of the group show.

Typefaces by vocal type for example where each typeface highlights a piece of history from a specific underrepresented race, ethnicity, or gender—from the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Argentina to the Civil Rights Movement in America. Other typefaces visually convince and pick up some of the organic shapes, variation and movement found in the artist’s works.

Similar to the exhibition the publication is structured into thematic groupings organised with so much insight, intelligence and sympathy by Osei Bonsu, Tate Modern’s curator of international art. As the Guardian outs it: the audience is invited to place where ‘so many visions of such an unimaginably vast continent are united in microcosmic detail’.

In regards to the cover material and production we are using the visible edge of the greyboard as a raw texture – and the very bright neon yellow colour carries the vibrancy of Aida Muluneh work that is presented on the cover.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTate Publishing
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2023


  • Book design
  • Typography
  • Photography
  • Collaboration
  • Exhibition catalogue

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