Time for a Make-Over

laif Internal
laif Internal
For 40 years laif has stood for photos and reportages. For photography that illustrates the political events of the day, explains backstories, and gives a face to economics, science, and society – always in the thick of current events. Over 400 photographers are dedicated to visualising the world. Every one of them has a clear position and high standards regarding their own photography.

Together with the design studio EchoEcho we have developed a new visual identity to lend clearer expression to this approach. It is not only a careful redesign that pays homage to our roots, but also a courageous progression and rethinking of the status quo since we eagerly embrace the future.

laif comes from the world of quality photojournalism. The visual codes of the design are thus derived from the language of newspapers and magazines: in allusion to headlines, the vibrant and energetic red has become our printer’s ink and appears only as a font colour.

The light grey background mimics newspaper. The straightforward typography forms the grid and the structure for the images – while the main focus is on the photos. For this has been our endeavour for 40 years: giving outstanding photographers a platform.

Tobias Handorf, one the two managers of the Cologne design studio EchoEcho, describes the process as follows:

Tobias Handorf

“To us it was clear from the start that we would not change the aspect ratio of the images. In connection with the typographic setting, this transformable design element creates a very dynamic overall picture – in ever new variations. The different formats thus engage in a dialogue with the typeface and respond to the events of the medium. From soft (framing the image) to loud (protruding from the image).”


The resulting systemisation foregrounds the photos and creates a tension field in alternation with boldly placed typography.

This flexible visual system allows us to respond to the photographic works as needed, either by giving them a distinctive frame or by placing them in a passepartout which leaves space for the image’s intrinsic effect.

Moreover, the new font not only lends but also develops character since it was created specifically for laif. Based on the typeface “Neue Montreal”, “PP Neue Laif” was developed in collaboration with Pangram Pangram Foundry and is now the new and exclusive corporate laif font.

©2022 | laif / EchoEcho