Heinz Bähr

August 3, 1934 – October 23, 2019

With great dismay and deep sadness we take part in the death of Heinz Bähr who passed away on Wednesday, October 23.

We have lost a great teacher, designer, colleague, mentor, and friend. Heinz Bähr was among those professors at KISD who, from the very beginning, has significantly contributed to KISD and has left a lasting impression among many generations of KISD students.

Heinz Bähr began his career as a designer after the Second World War by being a sign-painter. In 1953, after winning a federal competition by the German Youth of Handicrafts, he started his studies at the Kölner Werkschulen. Since 1957, he has worked as a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, and TV host for institutions and companies such as the German Red Cross, WDR West German Broadcasting Service, DAAD German Academic Exchange Service, the Education Union of German Federal Foreign Office (Inter Nationes), the German Doctors’ Publishing House, and for the publishing houses Rudolf Müller and Ullstein, just to name a few. For those institutions listed, he developed typographic design concepts, visual appearances, magazine and book layouts as well as an innumerable number of posters.

As a passionate friend of and listener to jazz music, he also designed a lot of great concert posters and record covers for bands and solo artists which some of them considered to be landmarks of music history.

His works have been, for example, published in Graphis – International Journal of Design and Communication, Modern Publicity, Print and Eye, and have won many awards: Annual German Award Graphic Design, Annual German Award Typography, poster triennials, and the Hundred Best Posters 1991. His works and posters are among the collections of Deutsches Poster Museum, Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Brandenburgische Kunstsammlung Cottbus, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, and Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In 1978, he was appointed professor at Fachhochschule Köln, University of Applied Sciences. In the then existing area of expertise “Art and Design”, and from 1991 onward in the »Kölner Modell for a New Design Education« and at KISD respectively, Heinz Bähr served as professor and the representative character of the area of expertise “Typography and Layout” until his retirement in 1999.

His action and achievements as professor were characterized by his tireless engagement for the concern of students, his moral integrity, his almost endless typographic knowledge and know-how, his graphic precision, and – to the enthusiasm and joy of all of us – by his subtle and sophisticated humor.

Even after his retirement, he was affiliated with KISD as a teacher and helpful contributor. In 2005, he was, in the context of his life’s work exhibition, awarded with the “Kölner Klopfer” by students of KISD – Köln International School of Design.

We find consolation in being absolutely sure that Heinz Bähr and his achievements will endure in the work and thinking of his students.

All our deepest sympathy goes to his family.


The mourning ceremony for Heinz Bähr will take place on November 23,
11 am, at Lutherkirche (Martin-Luther-Platz 2-4, 50677 Cologne).

The subsequent funeral will take place with the most intimate
family members only.



Video portrait of Prof. Heinz Bähr produced
by students in 2005.