Happy birthday Captcha,
you're 10 years old now.

That's why we wrote you a text to recap everything we've been through together.

A decade ago, two students at Hochschule Mannheim had the great idea to create and organise a design festival. Their goal was to make design workshops affordable for students and to also encourage exchange between like-minded creative people.

The festival back then functioned the same way it does now. It started with a symposium, where renowned speakers break down their designs, ideas and works, followed by interesing and thematically complementary workshops. The festival culminated in a vernissage in Mannheim, where all works that have been created during the entirety of the festival or handed in during the yearly open call are presented.

Additionally to the first vernissage there was a "best-off"-exhibition in Hamburg, shortly after the festival had ended.

With the very first iteration, the Captcha already started with the revolutionary liberation of type. The traditional aesthetic, form and use of type were unraveled and thought through again.

The second Captcha competed in its ambition with the first under the name "Musterismus". Back then already, as well as many afterwards, it took place at zeitraumexit and Mannheimer Kunstverein. Several other noteworthy Captcha design festivals during this era were "Contrast" (2016) and "Nexus" (2017).

Fittingly, for the fifth anniversary, Captcha went international under the topic "Dimension". Designers as well as students from all over the world were invited and given the opportunity to hand in their works according to the topic. Since then we were able to invite guests from almost all continents of the world.

After the festival 2019 with the topic "Noise" there was probably the hardest year: 2020. We all learned, what distance means for designers. But despite the hardships, there still was a group of courageous students, with the best interest of the Captcha at heart and their mission to brave one of the hardest tasks they could imagine: Holding the Captcha completely online. And even with these conditions, Captcha "Habitat" was an all-round success. Up until today the livestream of their symposium is on YouTube and of course we can recommend you checking it out!

The following year, the Captcha experimented with an on-off format, by making their 2021 iteration "Onward" partially take place online and partially on site. There was an analog as well as a digital exhibition room ready to be used.

The most recent festival, in 2022, finally moved away from the internet and took place face to face. With the topic "symbiosis" there were exciting contributions from guests and students as well as an electrifying vernissage.

And now we're here, Captcha X. The tenth time we're inviting you to join us on a journey, and most importantly, have a lot of fun in the process because be sure that we did!

We can't wait to see you again.
Yours, Captcha X.

This article was also published in German in the 27th issue of the Komma magazine.