Motto was started by Alexis Zavialoff around 2007, and initiated as a distribution company for Switzerland, specializing in magazines and fanzines, a service which hardly existed before on the Swiss territory.
The number of available publications kept growing and it now comprises more than 3000 titles, the catalogue being constantly updated. After establishing collaborations with major international distributors, the interest in books and smaller self-published items came naturally and it now constitutes a major part of Motto’s focus.
Motto distributes more than 150 publishers to a more than a 100 stores worldwide. Events are organized regularly, with a particular eye for art school environments and art spaces. Motto also collaborates with libraries and institutions.
In December 2008 Motto opened its first permanent bookstore, in Berlin-Kreuzberg. The store is a natural progression from the traveling temporary bookshops that Motto has organized since 2007, first in Switzerland and then internationally. The locations include Vilnius, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Moscow, Vancouver, Stuttgart, Athens, Seoul, Tokyo, Paris.
A particularity of Motto is to offer the possibility of finding back issues of selected magazines, and also a wide selection of artists’ publications, including more experimental projects in sometimes very small print runs.
The location, an old frame factory in a Kreuzberg courtyard, strongly influences the spirit of the project. The space, a single room of 90 m², is furnished in old dark wood. Shelves and glass showcases allow a rotating display of selected publications. A long table and chairs in the middle of the space allow friendly browsing.
Motto Berlin regularly functions as a space for book and magazine presentations, as well as special evenings dedicated to different discussions around publishing about art, graphic design, photography, typography and related matters.
The publications displayed complete an intense programme of exhibitions, screenings, talks and presentations.