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Twentyten
by Thomas Wagner | 1/1/2010

Definitely a nice sequence of numerals: Twenty-ten. You need to speak them out loud to appreciate the rhythm: twenty - ten. It has a great ring and certainly sounds better than two-thousand-and-ten. And so balanced and harmonious, so demonstratively aesthetic, as if it wanted to convey to us that the year which is now starting under its regency will be followed by good design. Which is not to say that the New Year will become one with typographers and graphic designers.

What will happen in a year whose numerical code has been a cause of political controversy for years and played quite a part in the self-destruction of a large German political party with an otherwise long-standing history? What does the year hold and what can be inferred from it by way of interpretation? Twenty - ten: The double followed by the single. Or: The start of a series in which the respectively next number is half that which went before. Put practically that could mean: What is announced in a big way up front dwindles to only half further back. Like hard earned money, when at the end only half is left over. Or politicians' promises, of which if you're lucky half remains at the end of the day.

Twenty, or so the relevant publications say, is not especially interesting in mystical terms, but is very important for the formation of numerical systems. The Treasury loves the word. Fingers and toes together tot up to twenty, which is why the number is the basis of counting in many cultures, for example with the French quartre-vingt, meaning four times twenty. But does that really help us?

Thigns are not much better when it comes to ten, even if it has since time immemorial (and not just in Christianity) been revered as the rounded whole, the symbol of an all-inclusive unity. Does that tell us much more about what the future holds in store?

Perhaps the number for the year simply contains the law of reductive transformation, which would bring us back to design processes? In line with the fiercely topical question: How to turn 20 lamps into 10 energy-saving lamps, or 20 pieces of litter into ten lumps of gold? Or, vice versa: How to turn 20 wedding rings into ten pairs of couples. And if you call out 20 times, do you get no answer 10 times? Time, it knows no dominion...! Or rather who knows its realm? Possibly poets, but even they do not know an entity called Twenty-Ten. And the Times? Or Time Out? Or Time's Out? Or , perhaps, for the designers, Times Bold? To boldly go. Forward. Into the New Year. Cheers!