ICON: Number 1

The excursion leads to a picturesque Alpine setting. One should note Marianne Konnerth in the foreground. In her only appearance as a model, she wears a well-chosen outdoor outfit: a striped sweater whose colors match the yellow headlights and red interior of the Porsche 356. From Switzerland’s Klausen Pass, the photographer sends a clear message: women drive Porsches.


Heinz Hering was a full-time photojournalist for the Münchner Illustrierte in the areas of politics, everyday life, and culture. This time he was charged with creating the very first cover of a new brand magazine. And that in color. As Hering knew, it would not be effective to show the product alone. Instead, the aim was to evoke an emotional response and convey a positive spirit at a time still marked by mounds of rubble. We’re traveling again, says the image. We're doing sports again. We’re driving into the mountains. And we’re doing so in a car that is more than elegant.

The first issue of Christophorus appeared in July 1952 as a “magazine for the friends of Porsche,” as the subheading read. It had forty pages, measured thirty by twenty-one centimeters, was printed on glossy paper, and cost 1.50 German marks. What sounds modest from today’s perspective was quite expensive for the time, and the magazine in general made a self-confident statement on behalf of its still young brand. In retrospect it represented a milestone in the field of printed corporate communications.

The magazine, which has appeared to this day without interruption, was conceived and launched by editor-in-chief Richard von Frankenberg—who was also a Porsche factory driver as of 1953—and graphic designer Erich Strenger. Strenger also designed the font for the cover title. In the beginning it was drawn, after which it appeared in an expanded Akzidenz Grotesk font, and finally as densely typset syllables derived from the more modern Helvetica. 

Strenger’s rich imagination is especially evident on the covers, including his ability to continually reinvent the design in keeping with the changing spirit of the time. The car was always the leitmotif. In the early years it was shown against a backdrop of longing. It then became an element in playful collages, and recently has often appeared in close-up or segmented shots that fill the available space. In short, Porsche comes across as an icon of mobility, dynamism, and excellence in technology and design. Christophorus is now published quarterly in thirteen languages. A winner of numerous awards, the print magazine is a visual, tactile, and sustainable pleasure also and especially in the digital age, where it continues to both elicit and fulfill desire. As of September 2021 there are four hundred issues, all of which are cult and collector’s objects—and together reflect an impressive piece of automotive history.

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