Cyan's images frequently evoke the past through the use of a complex layering of disparate historical images. Its posters and other graphic designs suggest the hazelike state of memory from which only bits and pieces can be retrieved. The innovative use of collage, made possible by the use of computer software, is an extension of the photomontage and photogram experiments performed by many modernist designers in the 1920s and 1930s. In addition, cyan frequently uses simple sans-serif type organized in a grid that appears to follow many of the rules of the "new typography" practiced at the Bauhaus in the 1920s.
Computer technology was not available to this five-person design collective from the former East Berlin until after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Since then, they have skillsfully mixed new visual forms—produced with the aid of sophisticated technologies—and more traditional modernist typography, creating posters that are extremely inventive and yet true in spirit to the modernist concern for clarity. Much of their work has been for German cultural institutions; among them, appropriately, is the Bauhaus Foundation Dessau.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 337.