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ISSUE 01

A magazine on Swiss Design


O K -S w is s Proving that Swiss graphic design doesn’t stop with Mßller-Brockmann, Swiss Style Now is a new exhibition in New York showcasing the very best Swiss graphics from the past five years.


It’s an amazing legacy, and perhaps one that lies heavily on our collective perception of Swiss design. But while the original Swiss Style was all about grids, white space and sans serif typefaces, despite being influenced by what came before, contemporary Swiss design is no longer bound by these rules.

The International Typographic Style had its roots in the Germany and Holland, but formed an important part of the modernist movement in the 1950s and 60s. The ‘Swiss Style’ (as it became known) continues to exert a lasting influence on the world of graphic design, with the work of visionary practitioners such as Josef Müller-Brockmann, Max Bill, Emil Ruder and Armin Hoffman still referenced and revered by every subsequent generation of designers.

Anyone in or near NYC should head to a new exhibition at the 41 Cooper Gallery for Swiss Style Now. The exhibition should challenge any preconceptions, with work on show by over 100 practising Swiss graphic designers. Curated by Lucerne-based independent graphic designer Erich Brechbühl; co-founder of the Grilli Type foundry Noël Leu; co-founder of studio Neo Neo Xavier Erni, and Alexander Tochilovsky, curator of the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at The Cooper Union, the show features over 120 pieces of work including posters, books, brochures and flyers. And as you’d expect, there’s an impressive line-up of designers involved, including Büro Destruct, NORM, Felix Pfäffli, Ralph Schraivogel, Niklaus Troxler and Martin Woodtli.


WW

SWISS

DESIGN

“Swiss Style Now” is an exhibit opening this week at The Cooper Union in New York. Like the name suggests, “Swiss Style Now” surveys the contemporary graphic design coming out of Switzerland.

NOW

Today’s young Swiss designers have a lot to live up to. “I don’t know that there’s any other country that has history as such a significant player in its design as Switzerland,” says Alexander Tochilovsky, curator of The Cooper Union’s Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography. “I’d say there’s a New York aesthetic, for example, but it doesn’t weigh as heavily in the mind.” Tochilovsky’s referring to the International Typographic Style, better known as the Swiss Style. The clean, minimalist approach to graphic design emerged in the 1950’s out of Switzerland and Germany. Unlike the flourishes of the Victorian era, or the splashy patriotism of the years surrounding World War I and World War II, the Swiss Style kept things neat and tidy, and used sans serif typefaces—Helvetica, mostly. To do that, it followed a mathematical grid—a radical philosophy, when you consider that the style predated personal computers and systems like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator by decades. The Swiss Style created a sea change in design, and helped earn designers a kind of professional status separate from artists.


It also spawned something of a reputation for all the Swiss designers who would follow. “I travel a lot and I’m always confronted with our design legacy,” says Erich Brechbühl, a graphic designer from Lucerne, Switzerland. “Swiss designers are still aware of that legacy, but they work differently than in the past.” To prove that, Brechbühl, Tochilovsky, and Xavier Erni, of the graphic design studio Neo Neo, have collaborated on “Swiss Style Now,” an exhibit opening this week at The Cooper Union in New York. Like the name suggests, “Swiss Style Now” surveys the contemporary graphic design coming out of Switzerland. Around 100 working designers have pieces in the show, and most of the work was created in the past five years. “The idea,” Tochilovsky says, “is to show that design is really eclectic, not like in the ’60s. It’s much more diverse, so we tried in this section to have all kinds of aesthetics that could be represented.” That’s partly accomplished by a deliberate representation of all corners of Switzerland: the French part, the Italian part, and the German part. The curators also showcase work from different schools—and therefore, schools of thought—in Switzerland. For years, the Basel School of Design was the preeminent campus for studying the Swiss way of design. It remains an important institution today, but its curriculum has adhered firmly to its traditions.

“That’s not to say it doesn’t work, but there are other ways of teaching design these days,” Tochilovsky says. “There’s a lot of different schools in Switzerland.” The eclecticism shines through in the work on display. There’s a lot of clean and crisp design that still manages to flirt with breaking the rules of the International Typographic Style. Take It is all in the detail, a student and alumni zine from the Zurich University of the Arts. The sky blue cover features the publication’s title, set in a black serif font, with each letter a size smaller than one behind it. It’s perfectly legible and even a bit austere, but the stair step approach to lettering comes off a little crooked. In that way, it taunts the old grid-following guard. To elaborate on this, Brechbühl talks through the thinking behind one of his pieces in the show, theater poster Anne Bäbi im Säli. A jagged red banner floats across the top, and most of the text appears below it in white over a black backdrop. Several typefaces are used, including one that looks like handwriting in chalk. The red and black is a nod to the clean and bold Swiss tradition, but “I had to ignore all the typography stuff I learned,” Brechbühl says. Besides the array of type styles, most of the text falls in the center—another rule broken, given that one of the hallmarks of the Swiss Style is asymmetry.


swiss star From ground-breaking magazine Neue Grafik to posters for the concert series Musica Viva at Tonhalle Zurich, Josef Müller-Brockmann’s balanced grids and mathematical ratios spawned the International Style. Marcus Kraft pays homage. Words by Marcus Kraft OK, I have to admit, being a graphic designer in Zurich, Josef Müller-Brockmann is probably the most obvious choice for a column about my design hero. But somehow he is also the right one. There are of course many other inspiring personalities who I would like to write about, but together with other brilliant Swiss designers of the ‘old generation’ (like Emil Ruder and Armin Hoffmann), Müller-Brockmann has always been a great reference in my own work. Born in 1914, Müller-Brockmann was a leading theorist and practitioner of the renowned Swiss graphic design movement, also called ‘International Style’. He worked as a graphic designer from 1952 and taught between 1957 and 1960 at the Kunstgewerbeschule (the design and art school) in Zurich. In 1963, he also taught at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, Germany. He influenced generations of subsequent designers and even today Swiss graphic design students still say his name in awe. His method of working always adapted to the needs of each project and he

favoured a no-nonsense approach, where the first port of call was to translate and give shape to ideas before being ‘artistic’. The graphic form had to subordinate to the content. This can most clearly be seen in his numerous posters for the concert series Musica Viva at Tonhalle Zurich. One of the posters even served as inspiration for my studio’s stationery. Müller-Brockmann constructed his works mainly out of geometric forms, where proportions and spacing were balanced with strict mathematical ratios. He used sans serif typefaces exclusively and avoided ornament in order to achieve consequential objectivity. To compose the elements he used a grid system, which he specified in his book Grid Systems in Graphic Design. In 1958 he founded the magazine Neue Grafik - The International Review of Graphic Design and Related Subjects, and was soon joined by Richard Paul Lohse, Hans Neuburg and Carlo Vivarelli. In the magazine they published their game-changing theories about design and influenced the progress of the Swiss Style with the publication’s innovative layout. From a historical point of view, Neue Grafik can be seen as a programmatic platform and effective publishing organ of Swiss graphic design. For me, the publication is still very inspiring in terms of its clarity and straightforwardness, with its complex and flexible grid system in the background .

Let me also point out the corporate design and wayfinding system which he created for the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways). It was designed by Müller-Brockmann together with the SBB chief architect Uli Huber in 1982. It’s based on a rather simple toolbox of various elements: the logo, Helvetica as the corporate font, as well as the colours blue, white, red and black. It always astonishes me how fresh and modern the whole design still looks today. The wayfinding system is – with a few marginal adaptations over the years aside – still in use today and always works perfectly. It’s a great example of sucessful, sustainable design. As a side note: graphic designers in Switzerland are now and then confronted with the problem of multilingualism of the country. Müller-Brockmann solved this issue very elegantly with his progressive “SBB CFF FFS” logo (German – Italian – French). Unfortunately, I never met Müller-Brockann in person before his death in 1996, but now and again I think about how he would have solved this or that problem. His designs always seem to be very simple and obvious, but if I try to create something similar in my own work, I realise that it is really difficult. My guess would be that Müller-Brockmann was truly a talented man, but at the same time a very hard working designer.


MASSIMO VIGNELLI

Vignelli died Tuesday at 83 after decades of iconic design work

Designer Massimo Vignelli, known for his iconic New York City subway map and American Airlines logo, among many other designs, died today at the age of 83. It was reported earlier this month that he was very ill and would remain at home during his final weeks. Vignelli co-founded the design firm Unimark International in 1964, which specialized in corporate identities until its closure the following decade, according to AIGA. In that time, it worked with Ford, JCPenney, and IBM — among other international companies — to develop brand identities for them, several of which remained for decades afterward. The most recognizable of those is certainly American Airlines’ “AA” logo, which is credited to Vignelli himself. It was created in 1967 and used up until the airline unveiled a much-criticized redesign last year. Vignelli was among the critics. “There was no need to change. It’s been around for 45 years,” he told Bloomberg BusinessWeek at the time. “Every other airline has changed its logo many times, and every time was worse than the previous one. Fifty years ago there were very few logos in general. Somebody started to do logos and people started thinking that

logos were important … It’s ridiculous. A word is so much better.” Though American Airlines’ old logo featured an eagle, Vignelli made it clear that he did not design it and was not happy with its presence. Several years after working with American Airlines, Vignelli came to design one of the best-know — and most controversial — maps ever used by the New York City subway. Unveiled in 1972, the map turned New York City into a series of rigid brown and beige slabs with colorful subway lines darting across it. The map was hardly a map though, at least not one like riders expected: its lines and shapes weren’t accurate recreations of the city or the subway routes. Instead, they were representations meant to make the routes and their stops easier to understand. Along with his wife Lella, Vignelli went on to found Vignelli Designs and Vignelli Associates. While they continued to work on corporate identities, the companies covered everything from interior design to packaging and furniture. Among its most recognizable works is Bloomingdale’s logo as well as its “brown bag,” according to The New York Times. Vignelli has continued designing as part of those companies

in the decades since, and in 2009 released a free ebook looking back at his and the company’s work. “Design is a profession that takes care of everything around us,” Vignelli told Design Matters host Debbie Millman back in 2007. “Politicians take care of the nation and fix things — at least they are supposed to. Architects take care of buildings. Designers take care of everything around us. Everything that is around us, this table, this chair, this lamp, this pen has been designed. All of these things, everything has been designed by somebody.” “I think that it is my responsibility to make the work better than it is.”


THIS IS THE TIMELESS WORK OF THE MAN WHO MADE NYC’S ICONIC SUBWAY MAP


WRITING HISTORY IN SWISS DESIGN: A review of Gestaltung. Werk. Gesellschaft. 100 Jahre Schweizerischer Werkbund SWB


In Switzerland, where high production costs create a need to market quality design as both a label and an end in itself, industrial design has played a central role in the country’s economic identity. The early protagonists of the Schweizerischer Werkbund (SWB, Swiss Association of Craftsmen) were conscious of this fact when negotiating the entanglements of industrial production and artistic creation. With its foundation in 1913, the SWB was to serve as a platform to discuss the potential and limitations of connections between the two fields. New forms of mass production had become a pressing issue for entrepreneurs, architects, designers, and artists alike. Amidst a cacophony of voices calling for radical change or mourning waning tradition, the SWB realized that joining forces would be to the benefit of everyone. Evoking names such as Max Bill or Lucius Burckhardt, as well as keywords such as Stuttgart Weissenhof or Die gute Form, the SWB mirrors the history of design and architecture in Switzerland. It has been pivotal in debates on how to shape modernity and how to foster ‘good design’ — from the smallest scale of product design to ideological struggles in regional planning. The history of the organization follows the trajectory of changing goals, and there are several ways to write such a history. The reason for the organization’s inception was the ‘ennoblement of craftsmanship’, but later the association turned more and more

toward cultural-political questions and, from the 1970s onward, to the ‘shape of the environment in its entirety’. The major publication Gestaltung Werk Gesellschaft: 100 Jahre Schweizerischer Werkbund SWB undertakes an analysis of the SWB without personifying it as one coherent actor in 20th-century cultural history. While the SWB included between 120 and 900 members at a given time, this book nevertheless carves out ‘the voice of the [Swiss] Werkbund’, as is claimed in the book’s preface (p. 12). Edited by Thomas Gnägi, Bernd Nicolai, and Jasmine Wohlwend Piai on the occasion of SWB’s anniversary, Gestaltung Werk Gesellschaft provides a complex understanding of multiple contexts, actors, and cultural artifacts within the institution’s history. A well-balanced collection of articles (all in German), the volume highlights SWB’s raison d’être up to its relevance today. Focusing mostly on national debates, the essays do not lose sight of international preconditions and discursive interdependencies — for example, the Deutscher Werkbund (founded six years earlier) and its French-speaking Swiss counterpart L’Œuvre, or, more recently, the ‘urban sprawl’ in Switzerland. The publication retraces the association’s importance, taking into account diverse historical, cultural, and societal transformations. Understanding itself as a ‘movement’ in 1913, revolving mostly around questions of product design, the SWB undergoes dis-

tinctive focal shifts. Originating within the reform movements around 1900, it constantly defines and redefines standpoints toward the avant-garde. This crystallized in its protagonists’ controversies in the 1920s and 1930s, their participation in the historical milestone of the Stuttgart Weissenhof exhibition, and their disputes concerning ‘formidable solutions’ of postwar design. A result of thorough archival research, Gestaltung Werk Gesellschaft presents the first comprehensive chronology of SWB events and their protagonists. While Peter Erni’s publication Die gute Form appeared thirty years ago and focused on SWB’s stance on product design until the late 1960s (), other publications on the Swiss Werkbund originated either in-house or in one way or another have been linked to events organized under SWB’s patronage. Christoph Bignens’ encyclopedia — with the telling title Geschmackselite Schweizerischer Werkbund () — includes an excellent yet brief introductory article on SWB as an ‘association of the awarding and the awardees’ (p. 8). Neither analysis, however, treats the past forty years of SWB history. The actual achievement of Gestaltung Werk Gesellschaft is not only its focus on the entire one hundred years of SWB, but also its presentation of the association’s history as both of conflicting individuals, parties, and discursive strategies as well as of converging personal constellations. The role of industry within the first half of SWB’s existence, for example, is succinct-


ly articulated by Jasmine Wohlwend Piai. In accordance with the volume’s claim to reconstruct the past ‘from an inside view’, using SWB archives, she spans a space between the 1919 amendment of SWB’s constitution for the inclusion of industrial production and this assertive claim in 1967: ‘The old Werkbund has reached its goal: the industrial design of devices, the good design, prevails’ (p. 227). Two contributions by Bernd Nicolai contextualize the organization up until the postwar period. Carefully considering historiographical aspects, the author illuminates actual and constructed relationships between SWB and the ideas of Neues Bauen. He shows how conflicting opinions between the traditionalist Heimatschutz and the SWB — all but a homogeneous ‘ethical union’ in face of another impending World War — lay at the core of a Swiss debate on ‘modernity’ (pp. 335–351). What it meant to actually influence the modernist discourse is shown by Thomas Gnägi. He assesses postwar SWB exhibitions and publications in their oscillation between ideals and the reality of everyday life, thus illustrating the association’s shifting interests. It becomes evident how early goals of Formerziehung give way to a decidedly cultural-political focus in the last third of the 20th century. Factual repetitions caused by the multitude of shorter contributions in the abundantly illustrated and thoughtfully designed book do not interfere with an insightful reading — on the contrary, they render palpable

the obvious and less obvious contextual intersections. Well-placed cross references throughout the 460-page publication turn these junctions into visible markers; a chronicle and short portraits of the institution’s leading figures complete the volume. With SWB’s centennial, Gestaltung Werk Gesellschaft is a comprehensive work on the association’s contribution to shaping modernity and its cultural importance within post-modern debates in Switzerland.


UNPREDICTABLE SWISS DESIGN

100 Years of Swiss 100 Years of Swiss 100 Years of S Graphic Design Graphic Design Graphic Desig Edited by Christian Brändle, Karin Gimmi, Barbara Junod, Christina Reble, Bettina Richter, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Lars Müller Publishers

The Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, created in 1875, was a pioneer institution in collecting graphic design and applied arts. In 2014, it moved, with its 500,000 objects, into the new Schaudepot (Open Collections) at the Toni-Areal campus. 100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design was published to celebrate this event; yet this book is much more than a reflection of the Institution’s collections. It is divided into eleven plentifully illustrated thematic sections (Poster, Typo-Graphics, Photo-Graphics, Swiss Style, Signs and Symbols, Corporate Design, Advertising, Public Affairs, Type, Editorial Design and Blurring Boundaries),with comprehensive contributions by the editors plus Richard Hollis, Roxane Jubert and François Rappo. As expected, the work of prominent designers such as Ernst Keller, Otto Baumberger, Herbert Leupin, Max Bill, Emil Ruder, Armin Hofmann, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Cornel Windlin and Norm, among many others, is displayed with richness and variety throughout the sections. However, 100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design astutely goes beyond a predictable anthology of the familiar, emblematic Modernist values and idiosyncrasies that are usually attributed to this country’s graphic design, and unveils several of its lesser-known, more recent aspects.


Swiss 100 Years of Swiss 100 Years of Swiss 100 Years of Swiss 100 Years of Sw gn Graphic Design Graphic Design Graphic Design Graphic Design

Among these, Ariel Herbez’s essay ‘The comic poster: a Genevan phenomena’ covers a gripping period that began in the early 1970s, when comic artists became involved in the social and political life of Geneva and designed posters to challenge inequitable decisions, sometimes with great success. For instance, the planned demolition in 1988 of the Bains des Pâquis pool complex in the city harbour failed, partly thanks to a striking ‘octopus poster’ drawn in a ‘ligne claire’ style by Emmanuel Excoffier (aka Exem). This singular movement gradually transformed into a local, enduring design tradition while constantly regenerating. Along the same lines, Martin Jaeggi’s ‘How pop changed politics’ recounts the development of activism in Switzerland from the aftermath of May 1968 to the DIY / punk / New Wave era, when politics, music and graphic culture collided and coalesced in an unusual way.

In the Type section, François Rappo’s essays ‘Twentieth-century type design in Switzerland’ and ‘The type repertoire’ reassess several overlooked connections between various ‘letter-designing’ approaches tied to the Arts and Crafts movement – ranging from Edward Johnston’s legacy to the influence of the Deutscher Werkbund – and Swiss pedagogy, which implemented them. The most significant example is the Gewerbeschule in Zürich, a pioneering school that directly benefited from the appointment of Fritz Hellmut Ehmcke as visiting professor in the early 1920s; Walter Käch, one of his students, would become an influential teacher in this school for many decades and would train several generations of letter designers, including Adrian Frutiger. Breaking fresh ground and offering new perspectives on a lengthy design history that one could wrongfully perceive as hackneyed, 100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design has all the quality of a landmark publication.


Not Normal An in-depth tour of some of the most important graphic design of the last century, in a book designed by Swiss stars of today. Manuel and Dimitri of Norm talk us through the design of ‘100 Years’... Words by Manuel Krebs and Dimitri Bruni 100 years of Swiss graphic design would be a daunting subject for any book designer to handle, let alone a Swiss one: how did you deal with the weight of legacy on your shoulders? What characterised your general approach to the design and layout? We discussed what the right behaviour should be. We wanted to avoid making a statement by Norm. We avoided big graphical gestures and tended to rely rather on the visuals

(those alone are the historical ’truth’) than on the text (nothing against the text). We used only one typeface (see below) in three sizes, and we kept to the grid (we admit, no surprises there). Akzidenz Grotesk is the typeface used throughout the book — could you explain this choice? Both Helvetvica and Univers would have been appropriate, though probably too obvious. Initially, we fully agreed on Unica (the ambitious type project in 1977 that was meant to bring together the best of UNI-vers and helvt-ICA). When working with it however, we were not happy — the regular cut was to light for us and the medium cut is rather bold. In the material contained in the book, Akzidenz Grotesk (and versions of it, for big letters always drawn and

interpreted by hand) has a very strong presence, even after 1957, when Helvetica and Univers came out. So, we turned to that typeface. We used Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Medium for titles, cover and introduction text. For body text and legends we used Akzidenz Grotesk Next Medium. Tell us about the cover design and your graphic fusion of ‘a’s by Francois Rappo and Cornel Windlin… In 2012 the Museum for Design held the exhibition 100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design, for which we designed the poster. At the same time the museum was planning for the 100 year celebration of ’schweizerischer werkbund’, the exhibition 100 Years of Swiss Design (the exhibition just opened last weekend). The 100 Years


of Swiss Design is the opening show at the museum’s new location. Both catalogues were planned for this opening. But before we designed the cover for the graphic design book we worked on the communication design for the exhibition. For that, we proposed to put Swiss design icons in relation to each other. For the final version we used the Willy Guhl chair and the kippbalkenschalter switch by Feller AG (see image below). For the opening, that poster was completed with the ‘neu-neu’ (‘new-new’) poster, which was to stress the new location. After that, we decided to have for the book cover of the design catalogue the same visual as for the communication. Lars Müller and the museum both

wanted the graphic design of the two books to be closely related. We first worked with extracts of iconic posters (like ‘wohnbedarf’ by Max Bill or ‘die gute form’ by Emil Ruder. We ‘recycled’ them for the design of the tickets. But to use that material felt a bit like a sacrilege and we had the impression that it would be better if the book cover featured less dated elements. François Rappos’ ‘a’ refers to Helvetica (and we had it already on the design for the exhibition poster). In the end it was just a good match with Cornel Windlin’s font Moonbase Alpha (besides that, we admired the font when it came out). The book has interesting proportions - could you explain how you designed

the format? All our books use either the ration 2:3 or 3:4. For displaying posters, if you want to have space left for legends, 2:3 is better. Were there any special technical challenge to overcome in the production of the book? Besides pre-press questions like whether artefacts that had yellowed over time should be reproduced in that state, or if they should still look fresh; and whether books be photographed with or without a shadow, there were no particular problems. Great endpapers. Could you introduce Swisstopo and say how these graphics were made? It’s from the Federal Office of Topography, briefly they measure out Switzerland and its geographical reference data in all possible ways, representing and archiving of geographic spatial data (such as national maps, elevation and landscape models, satellite images, orthophotos). The visual we used is the height curve of an area in the alps.


The style’s total dominance throughout the 1950s is largely represented by the work of one central figure, Josef Müller-Brockmann, whose body of work is synonymous with the period. Müller-Brockmann studied under Ernst Keller in Zurich between 1932 and 1934 before opening his own studio in 1936. He was something of a convert to the International Typographic Style as his influences variously included Constructivism, De Stijl, Suprematism, and the teachings of the Bauhaus, but Müller-Brockmann managed to filter elements of all of these into his very particular and highly representative version of the style. Some of his best-known work was commissioned by Zurich Town Hall from 1952 onward; he was asked to design a series of concert posters and came up with a visual method to represent the music using mathematically harmonious compositions. The motifs employed were highly abstract but somehow managed to evoke the works to be performed. It is interesting to compare these posters to some of the jazz album covers emerging from the music scene in America around this time, which demonstrate how influential Müller-Brockmann’s work had become. Another significant series of poster commissions came from the Swiss Automobile Club who, as an organization, had become concerned about the large increase in the number of vehicles on Swiss roads and the issues that arose from that.

Brockmann

J sef Muller


T

he Swiss Style

The 1950s saw the full emergence of a design movement that is arguably the most important graphic design style of the twentieth century in terms of its far-reaching impact, its longevity, and its range of practical applications. The style began in Switzerland and Germany and is sometimes referred to as Swiss Style, but it is formally known as the International Typographic Style. Its dominance in many areas of graphic design covers a twenty-year period from the early 1950s to the late 1960s, but it remains an important influence to this day. There are a range of specific visual hallmarks that characterize the style. These include the use of asymmetrical layouts built around a mathematically constructed grid; a clear and unadorned approach to the presentation of content; the use of sans-serif type, generally set flush-left and ragged-right; and a preference for photography over illustration. It is useful to place the development of the style in historical context as its early influences stretch back over several decades. In 1918, Ernst Keller—considered by many as the forerunner of the International Typographic Style—began to teach design and typography at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich. He never encouraged students to adopt a specific style, but he did argue that a design solution should always be respectful of content. This can be seen as an early version of the Modernist principle of form following function.

Over the following three decades, a number of important Swiss designers would contribute to the development of the style. Theo Ballmer studied at the Dessau Bauhaus in the late 1920s under Walter Gropius and applied De Stijl principles to much of his graphic design work which utilized grids of horizontally and vertically aligned elements. Max Bill—another student at the Dessau Bauhaus from 1927 to 1929 where he was taught by Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy, and Wassily Kandinsky— developed a concept he called art concret which involved the creation of a universal style based on mathematical principles. His graphic design work featured layouts where elements were precisely distributed and spaced; he favored sans-serif typefaces such as Akzidenz Grotesk, and set text flush-left and ragged-right. On a more flamboyant note the designer Max Huber added a generous dash of energetic verve to the mix. Huber studied at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts where he experimented extensively with photomontage techniques and in the late 1940s began to create some of the most exuberant posters seen at that time. He was the master of the layered composition, making use of overprinted shapes and dynamically positioned typography and photomontage to create work which includes his noted pieces promoting races at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza (National Racetrack of Monza.)

Univers and Helvetica No account of the International Typographic Style is complete without mentioning the two most famous typefaces to be designed during the 1950s. In 1954 Adrian Frutiger, a Swiss typeface designer based in Paris, completed design work on a new sans-serif named Univers that was arguably the world’s first megafamily typeface as it comprised twenty-one individual weights. Frutiger expanded on the standard regular/italic/bold range to create a set of fonts each identified by a number—the family included expanded and condensed weights too. It took three years to produce all the weights as a commercially available typeface and it was released by the French foundry Deberny & Peignot in 1957, becoming enormously popular among Swiss-style typographers. In the mid-1950s, Eduard Hoffmann, the director of the HAAS Type Foundry in Münchenstein, Switzerland, decided that the ubiquitous Akzidenz Grotesk typeface was due an upgrade. In 1957 he worked with typeface designer Max Miedinger to create a new sans-serif typeface and named it Neue Haas Grotesk. A few years later, in 1960, the face was released by German foundry D. Stempel AG and was renamed Helvetica as a reference to the Latin name for Switzerland (Confoederatio Helvetica). The typeface went on to become the most popular sans-serif in the world and even got to star in its own self-titled movie by independent film maker Gary Hustwitt in 2007, celebratingthe typeface’sfiftieth birthday.


Electronic Curry Ltd, clunky graphics, gauche pencil sketches, and naïve illustrations are free to interact across the page with sleek computer graphics and photographs. This collection is a mixed bag of naked self-promotion, book covers, site specific installations, magazine designs, and flyers. The anthology is so dissimilar in fact, that the book’s overextended title is the only thing holding this mishmash of designs together. In the book’s central essay, Tan Wälchli provides an accurate summation of this narrow space between image and place that Pathfinder seems to occupy. He states that if ‘the subject tries to become identical with the object, the result is that the object becomes shadowy and the mind

determinants that have impacted on this work? If, as Happypets note in their brief conclusion, ‘Switzerland doesn’t exist’ but is rather ‘an invention of the Swiss graphic designers’, where do these inventions come from? Is it even possible to still speak of a distinct thing known as ‘Swiss graphics’? In an anthology aiming to represent a broad sampling of contemporary Swiss design, the disparate works on show here would appear to answer ‘no’. Maybe the legacy of the neue Grafik has not been totally eclipsed after all. As is

If Happypets truly wished to critique the outdated idea of an all-embracing concept known as ‘Switzerland’ in design, they could have done no better than to forego subtitling their own book ‘Swiss Graphix’.

widely known, the consistency of form and technique that characterised that particular approach was regularly labelled the ‘Swiss style’ outside its homeland. While the achievements representative of that style no longer dominate graphic design in Switzerland, the desire to assemble contemporary work under that highly successful brand name clearly remains.

ghostly. The only possibility, therefore, is to become conscious of the fact that the shadowy object was already partly produced in the mind.’ The key word here is ‘partly’. After looking through this anthology, I was still left with the question of what are the uniquely local


The End of Swiss Edited and conceived by the Lausannebased experimental group Happypets,

Graphics XXXXXXXXX

Pathfinder: A Way Through Swiss Graphix showcases the work of more than twenty young Swiss graphic designers, examining their ‘environment’, ‘codes’ and ‘habits’. In the style of a tour or itinerary, Pathfinder comes with a large fold-out map that attempts a graphic rendition of the work represented by each of the specific cantons and communes in which the designers reside. With any new collection of work by young Swiss designers, it has often seemed obligatory to define their efforts against the architects of the neue Grafik style. Yet, as the social and cultural conditions that gave rise to that particular project are fading from view, seeking either commonalities or challenges to its purely constructive approach is fast becoming

this line of analysis by both drawing on and subverting alternative traditions of imagining Switzerland. In part, these are the icons of the picture postcard Swiss landscape – the images of vast mountain ranges, green pastures, and alpine villages that have been a significant feature of the popular imagination since Emil Cardinaux’s 1908 Matterhorn poster. Over the past century, this image of Switzerland has continued to be cultivated by some of the most significant designers in its history. The difference now is that Pathfinder knowingly acknowledges this clichéd iconography as simply one brand among many others – comparable to the

cheese, etc.). In the Happypets graphic introduction, this link is made literal when the Matterhorn itself is rendered as a half eaten Toblerone, and brand logos such as Apple and Lego are paraded as interchangeable with mountain views. Once this idea of ‘Switzerland’ is revealed as being just that – an idea – the need to create illusory imagery responsive to a priori assumptions about this country evaporate. Thus, in designs by Raar, Fulguro and

free-floating ambassadors of ‘Swissness’ that occupy every airport shop (chocolate,

a critical cul-de-sac. It is to the book’s credit that it attempts to neatly circumvent


creative ferment of Weimar Germany and revolutionary Modernism, and the sad state of the everyday printed matter he saw around him. As Burke says, ‘What he was mainly aiming for was a clearing away, in visual terms, of the gratuitous decoration endemic in the majority of German commercial printing.’ Unlike other artistic avant-gardists, Tschichold approached this task pragmatically: his books were directed not at an artistic elite but at practitioners in the printing trades. The strength of Active Literature is in its presentation of those revolutionary early years, including every one of Tschichold’s excesses. But sometimes the narrative thread seems to get lost in the details; and occasional clunky phrases in the prose sound too much like translations, even when they’re

not. (Refusing to use ‘the’ before ‘New Typography’, for instance, just seems idiosyncratic rather than idiomatic.) The illustrations are extremely generous, including many not previously published. You could gain a typographic education just from the illustrations and their captions; and you could get a running commentary on the main story just by reading the footnotes. The book is well made: large yet flexible, well bound and very well printed. The design is more problematic; Burke uses his own typeface, ff Celeste, for the text, supplemented by ff Celeste Sans for captions, footnotes and bits of the front and back matter. (A digital version of Tschichold’s ‘new constructible block-script, ca. 1930, is used for the cover and chapter headings.) The pages look nice, but something

in the typography puts me to sleep. (‘White space is to be regarded as an active element, not a passive background,’ wrote Tschichold in 1930. In Burke’s book, this seems to be only partly true.) Celeste is a very static typeface, like a sort of updated Walbaum, light and a bit square – pretty but not dynamic. I suspect that a three-column format, with shorter lines, would have worked better; this page of two ragged-right columns, with a very narrow gutter between them, looks inviting but is in fact not easy to read. Active Literature gets beyond Tschichold’s own perspective on himself and presents his ideas and work in the context of the revolutionary artistic movements of his time, in a more thorough way than any previous book about him. You simply cannot ignore this book, just as you cannot ignore Tschichold.


Faith in Asymmetry On Jan Tschichold

What makes Jan Tschichold so interesting is not his theories but his practice. None of his dogmatic theories would matter much if he hadn’t been a superb typographer. What Christopher Burke calls ‘Tschichold’s unending search for perfection in typography’ led him from youthful revolutionary enthusiasm to mature reflection. His circumstances as a young typographical radical in 1920s Germany also led him from an exhilarating artistic milieu to persecution and arrest in the early days of the Nazis, and eventually to exile in conservative Switzerland. Although he is best known in the English-speaking world for his reform of Penguin Books in 1947-49, the other pole of his fame is as chief evangelist for the New Typography, given concrete form in his 1928 book Die Neue Typographie. Active Literature focuses on the earlier part of Tschichold’s career. This seems

to me a mistake, since, despite Tschichold’s famous about-face in the late 1930s, when he supposedly became an ‘apostate’ and betrayed the principles of the New Typography, his career and his artistic development do form a whole. The detailed quotes and wide research that this book exhibit make it clear how pig-headed and dogmatic the young Tschichold could be, even when he was trying to be completely practical; when he got a little older (in his thirties!), it seems that he simply learned better. By his old age, perhaps, he had hardened into conservative crustiness, but his arguments in the 1930s and 1940s are cogent, generous and to the point. These arguments (his and his opponents’) can sound quaint today; for many decades, symmetric and asymmetric typography have simply been alternative tools in the graphic designer’s

ious ar-relig old s of ne article later Tschich x, not gtoolbo d in fact the ic typo n mmetr assed to faith. A at asy rr ised th was emba s the one recogn he ha which s still is yout raphy, mpeted in h roblem, wa ith ru ry p ng w have t to eve f deali lution way o raphic detrue so useful g tional remely nd in an ext l and promo to Switzerla g n ria atin igratio indust ncentr fter em hy, self co sign. A found him ok typograp e; r o he 1933, ed befo re on b nd mo practis e more a had barely purpose, h rified al he which hat tradition ethods, cla rt al m and fo t. adition that tr ed bes found plified, work phy,’ and sim ypogra New T onsists in of the 937, ‘c al role to1 ‘The re chichold in ification and s.’ n Ts ur wrote of mea ards p rts tow y and clarity way he its effo it e simplic tye of th wards s no less tru symmetric uth a yo lf to That w brand himse pplied oks. His fire – the later a bo es he tim phy in pogra sponse to t re was a


Coca-Cola has revealed its new typeface designed by British graphic designer Neville Brody, marking the first time that the brand has had its own unique font in its 130-year history.


SWISS DESIGNER RALPH SCHRAVIOGEL DOESN’T WANT YOUR BUISNESS Like the screeching bird that is his face of Swiss design tradition. His posters are intricate, his techniques complex, and the results provocative and challenging. there’s no doubt he’s one of the most Schraivogel himself has a thoughtful, intelligent demeanor, with a cutting, dry wit. Born in 1960, he was a natural graphic talent from a young age and, encouraged by his parents, he followed an artistic path and studied at Zurich’s School for Design. His tenure at the school coincided with Zurich’s 1980 riots, which broke out over the decline of government cultural funding. An experimental and ambitious mood fell over artists in the city, and for Schraivogel it was infectious. “That was the thing that helped me not to be bored,” he says. “I thought it was completely for things. It was very encouraging, and school was not encouraging. School was graphic design, and that was the most boring thing I could imagine at the time.” In the anti-establishment sprit, Schraivogel’s work embodied a rejection of classic Swiss style. He relished the opportunities terms of technique, composition, and use

of materials. But there was another more found my satisfaction and inspiration in Japanese design. It was a door to escape.” Schraivogel was aware that many Japanese designers visited the Warsaw Biennial, where he was exhibiting. So to get their attention he printed 5,000 copies of a brochure of his work translated into Japanese. The brochure opened the door to many conversations with Japanese designers, and these would directly inform his work. Many years later his connecat the ggg Gallery in Tokyo. The link continue to this day, and in 2013 he designed the Tokyo Type Directors Club exhibition poster for the same client. One gets the sense that when he has an idea, nothing will get in its way. While he has produced corporate identities and editorial design, it’s posters that Schraivogel is best known. “The poster is the most powerful media we have, it’s the most brutal media,” he explains. “There is nothing as aggressive as a poster.” One example of Schraivogel’s powerful poster output is a longstanding relationship with the art house cinema Filmpodium, which lasted from the mid-1980s to 2006. These posters demonstrate a triumphant use of photography, often Other collaborations with Kunsthaus Zurich and Neumarkt Theater were not so conviction is not to every client’s taste. For Schraivogel the essence of a poster comes from the process involved in creating it. “The pleasure is the process. working to have just a poster at the end.

There are 50,000 other posters that people do. There are enough posters,” he says, deadpan. I ask if it’s true that he produces just two posters a year; “No, I reduced it to one.” He’s not joking. For many years Schraivogel’s dedication to physical technique meant he eschewed digital tools, but at the turn of the 21st century he began using Adobe Illustrator (he claims Photoshop is too complex). The decision to digitize was not his own, rather he was “forced” by a lack of skilled lithographers, and the declining quality in reproduction techniques. Despite his varied techniques and ideas, there’s a remarkable consistency across his work. One wonders if he is immune to trends, and prefers to exist in isolation. His website suggests this is the case. Loathe to update it, he put just one piece of work on display. No contact details, no biography, no portfolio. It’s symptomatic of his grudging acceptance of technology, tolerance of clients, and uncompromising attitude. The one poster on his website, “Evil / Live,” is enigmatic, challenging, and a dark linguistic joke. The poster allegedly took four months and 300 steps to produce, each of which he kept to demonstrate his process to his students. Teaching has been Schraivogel’s main activity since his relationship with Filmpodium ended. It’s another area which exposes his world-weary nature. “I have a moral problem, I don’t know what they will do when they leave,” he says of the class he teaches, genuinely concerned. But if his students pick up any of his ability to communicate a strong idea with radical execution, they have little to worry about. Having a teacher like Schraivogel should stand them in good stead


Swiss Poster Swiss Poster Generator Generator Swiss Poster Poster Swiss Generator Generator Swiss Poster Swiss Poster Generator Generator Swiss Poster Swiss Poster Generator Generator

The Swiss Poster Generator is a web-based publishing tool that allows novices to produce good quality design with little effort.

Mid-20th century Swiss posters are revered for their clean and modern composition and typography. The template was based on posters by Swiss designer Josef MĂźller-Brockmann, such as the one below. Ben DuVall is a graphic designer, artist and printmaker from Long Beach, California. His brother Clark is a software engineer


The Swiss poster is the height of precision in graphic design. In many ways, the computer has eliminated the need for human precision by reducing information down to bytes and pixels.

Here’s some more information from the designer:

Yet how come, in the age of such precision, bad design still persists, even becoming more common in the pixel age?

Swiss Poster Generator is a collaboration between brothers Ben and Clark DuVall. It merges their respective mediums of graphic design and software engineering, exploring the nexus of art and technology, modernism and post-modernism in the era of desktop publishing.

Swiss Poster Generator is meant as a tool for the design layman, an alternative to desktop publishing programs, but never to the designer’s trained eye.


Swiss symbols It’s common to see symbols and codes of Swiss design used in new ways. This poster by Erich Brechbühl (one of the curators) uses the well-known aesthetic of a board outside a restaurant to promote a theatre company. Another example by Xavier Erni (also one of the curators) and his studio Neo Neo appropriates the flags and traditional crests of different Swiss states in a modern way.

by established designer Niklaus Troxler, but demonstrate how his recent work has become much more expressive.

Type, in the exhibition, with historical and contemporary type specimens, some of which are almost visual identities for the typeface, where the face becomes a brand of its own.

Ludovic Balland

Notter + Vigne

Humour In the 60s design was very serious, but now there’s a lot more humour and lightness. People are using this combination of modernism and inappropriate imagery to communicate their message, for example this poster by Notter + Vigne.

Book design Swiss designers are very attached to book design, and it has a big presence in the exhibition – there’s around 60 books on show. There’s still a lot of passion for physical objects, craftsmanship and finesse, and attention to the experience. This work by Ludovic Balland is a good example.

Gavillet & Rust

Legacy There are also examples of designers still working with the 60s grid aesthetic but with a modern slant, bringing something new to it. Kasper Florio and Gavillet & Rust are good examples. They’re using recognisable cues but pushing the design approach in new directions.

Swiss Style Now opens 7 September – 1 October at the 41 Cooper Gallery, part of The Cooper Union, New York.

Grilli Type

Niklaus Troxler

Self-expression We don’t just have emerging artists in the show. These posters (above and top) are

Type design Similarly to choosing paper and printing processes, the ability to control the shapes of the type, and pay attention to those intricate details, is really important to Swiss graphic design. We have around ten type foundries, including Grilli


Swiss Swiss Style Style Now: Now: A cliché-busting cross-section of Swiss graphic design

The Swiss Style Now exhibition aims to upturn clichés of Switzerland’s design identity. Bringing together over 120 works by assorted generations of graphic designers in Switzerland, the show features both the modernism the public will expect, and plenty more it won’t. Split into two sections, contemporary and classic, this is a comprehensive cross-section of the country’s graphics culture. “What people think is classic Swiss design, actually isn’t,” says Alexander Tochilovsky, one of the curators. “There’s so much more nuance and variety, and I think we tend to bracket things in a simplistic way. Joseph Müller-Brockmann is the name most people associate with Swiss design, and he deserves a lot of credit, but he’s by far not the only practitioner.” “I think what most people have in their minds when they think of Swiss design is this 60s aesthetic with a minimalistic use of grid and type,” says Xavier Erni, another of the curators for the show. “There was a motto that individual emotion shouldn’t be a part of the design. Now, it’s much more diverse, personal, lively and playful. But you can still see the modernist legacy. That’s never really disappeared.” Here, Alexander and Xavier together with co-curators Erich Brechbül and Noel Leu have chosen seven themes they’ve spotted across the exhibition and the designers demonstrating them, in turn representing the core pillars of contemporary Swiss

design.

Erich Brechbühl

Dafi Kühne

Craftsmanship Materiality and craftsmanship is still really important in Swiss design, and many designers are experimenting with printing processes and things like binding. Dafi Kühne works with letterpress, woodcuts, lino cuts, and the process is always considered. Another good example is David Mamie and Nicola Todeschini’s work, they print it themselves and the choice of paper is really important. Xavier Erni / Neo Neo


YSS: What do you regard as your best work? JMB: The white reverse sides of my posters! YSS: What was your most creative period? JMB: My most creative period was in fact the worst because at that time my work was still illustrative. But this period of discovery and clarification eventually led to the rich productivity of my 40s.

-er er nn ann YSS: You were influenced by Carl Jung, but then lost interest. Why was that?

JMB: As a young man I was intrigued not only by psychology but also by graphology. When I met people who interested me I would read their handwriting and was rarely wrong in my judgements. But this gift began to disturb me, especially in my dealings with clients, where it would unnecessarily prejudice discussion. So I abandoned it overnight. Later I paid the price for giving up these analyses when I took on partners and employees whose handwriting would have given me an early warning of trouble ahead. YSS: What is the source of your efforts to clarify everything and aspire to what is eternally valid? Is it a protest against death, or a fear of looking behind the picture to the unconscious?

YSS: What do you regard as your best work? JMB: The unconscious is part of the support structure: everything that is stored there comes to light in the work process. What I try to achieve in my work is to communicate information about an idea, event or product as clearly as possible. Such a down-to-earth presentation is barely affected by present-day trends. But it is not so much a question of making a statement that will be valid for all time as of being able to communicate information to the recipient in a way that leaves him or her free to form a positive or negative opinion. YSS: You work to quite a definite rational model, though life for the most part unfolds intuitively. JMB: But the model is always individual. Had you asked me 40 years ago, I would have been more confident in my defence of the rules than I am today. I have changed. Personality is defined in two ways: what is inherited and what is consciously assimilated. In my case, reading has broadened my knowledge, and my intuition, inspiration and emotions stem from what I have taken in. But rules are important. Laws enable multitudes of people to live together – no nation can exist without laws. They favour the freedom of the many at the expense of the individual. YSS: Why is the measurable, the demonstrable, so fascinating? JMB: The greatest works of art impress through their balance, their harmony, their proportions, all of which can be measured. That is one of the reasons why paintings, sculptures and buildings that are thousands of years old – by the Egyptians, Chinese, Assyrians and so on – are still fascinating to us today. Mondrian, on the other hand, did not use measurements and therefore took a long time to do a painting. However, few artists possess as much intelligence, sensibility and intuition as Mondrian.

YSS: So did you trust to intuition in your illustrative period? JMB: Yes, because I wanted to explore the limits of my artistic ability. Until I was 30 I had been trying out various styles and techniques to find out where my talent might lie. I had quite a lot of apparent success with my illustrative work, but as a result of my ruthless self-critical analysis I saw that I possessed no essential artistic talent beyond the ordinary, and the creativity of a mediocre person is of no general interest. You can’t learn to become an artist, but you can learn to become a useful graphic artist. Intensive study of typography will reveal its laws, and the same holds for photography and compositions using typographical, photographic and graphic elements. YSS: So you opted for clear-sighted reason, for reducing things to their essentials – to serve a democratic purpose? JMB: I have always known that my illustrations, drawings and paintings are entertainment. They were quite good, but harmless. I was also successful in using a mix of surrealistic illustration and factual information in exhibition designs in the 1940s and 1950s, but the lack of objectivity disturbed me. So for the ‘Landi 1964’ [the Swiss regional exhibition], I eschewed all playfulness and subjectivity and arrived at an objective typographic-pictorial solution. I had to teach myself how to look critically at my work and make distinctions between what is creative, imitative or merely intellectually calculating. After four worthless years of war I wanted to have a positive, constructive role in society. I couldn’t improve textual-pictorial communication through my artistic work but I could do so through rational-objective typography and functional, unmanipulative photography. No one can exceed his or her limitations. Any time I


Reputa Reputa Reputations: Josef Müller tions: J tions: J Brockmann sef sef Mül Mül Brock Brockm ‘I would advise young people to look at everything they encounter in a critical light . Then I would urge them at all times to be self critical.’

Josef Müller-Brockmann was born in Rapperswil, Switzerland in 1914 and studied architecture, design and history of art at the University of Zurich and at the city’s Kunstgewerbeschule. He began his career as an apprentice to the designer and advertising consultant Walter Diggelman before, in 1936, establishing his own Zurich studio specialising in graphics, exhibition design and photography. By the 1950s he was established as the leading practitioner and theorist of Swiss Style, which sought a universal graphic expression through a grid-based design purged of extraneous illustration and subjective feeling. His ‘Musica viva’ poster series for the Zurich Tonhalle drew on the language of Constructivism to create a visual correlative to the structural harmonies of the music. Müller-Brockmann was founder and, from 1958 to 1965, co-editor of the trilingual journal Neue Grafik (New Graphic Design) which spread the principles of Swiss Design internationally. He was professor of graphic design at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Zurich from 1957 to 1960, and guest lecturer at the University of Osaka from 1961 and the Hochschule fur Gestaltung, Ulm from 1963. From 1967 he was European design consultant for IBM. He is the author of The Graphic Artist and his Design Problems (1961), History of Visual Communication (1971), History of the Poster (with Shizuko Müller-Yoshikawa, 1971) and Grid Systems in Graphic Design (1981). He has contributed to many symposiums and has held one-man exhibitions in Zurich, Bern, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin, Paris, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Osaka, Caracas and Zagreb. In 1987 he was awarded a gold medal for his cultural contribution by the State of Zurich.


A new exhibition at France’s National Centre for Graphic Design features the work of Swiss designer Ralph Schraivogel – poster designer extraordinaire and three times laureate of the Chaumont International Poster Competition. Swiss graphic designer Ralph Schraivogel is often considered one of the most accomplished poster designers of recent decades. Winner of the very prestigious Chaumont International Poster Competition in 1996, 2010 and 2017 (as well as a raft of other international design prizes), his posters are now in the permanent collections of museums such as the MoMA in New York and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Throughout his career, Schraivogel has designed numerous books and identities, but he has become best known for his striking poster designs for cultural institutions and events. Two of his longstanding clients are Zürich’s Filmpodium cinema (which he has worked with since 1983), and the Museum für Gestaltung (a client since 1984).

same year, and it just resonated: here was serious, well-done design that didn’t look at all like the Swiss style, and there was something, a quality to strive for, which was different from all that was around me. To me, this was important. I didn’t want to do the same as they do, but it was important to know about this parallel universe, which was something completely different and creative.”

The designer only produces a handful of posters a year, and each is painstakingly researched and planned. The exhibition features 65 of Schraivogel’s posters, as well as material from the archive, sketches and work in progress, which chart the process of creating a poster. The exhibition is designed by Jean Schneider, and the graphics by Niessen & de Vries. During the course of exhibition there will be a series of talks and workshops, including two ‘danced tours’ of the show by the Mü dance school.

Ralph Schraivogel’s work is expressive and experimental – his early work rejected the restrained approach displayed by the influential Swiss graphic designers who came before him. In an interview with Patrizia Crivelli and Vera Sacchetti, he explains: “I just saw possibilities, what has been done, not done and why not, and I also had this thing that I was “anti” Swiss design. I was told by an older designer I was spoiling Swiss style – spoiling the grid – but I was very proud of this, I thought it was the right thing to do.“ While Swiss design might have lost some of its appeal, the designer looked to Japan for inspiration: “In 1986 I came across a Japanese Design Yearbook of the


across a Japanese Design Yearbook of the to Japan for inspiration: “In 1986 I came some of its appeal, the designer looked do.“ While Swiss design might have lost of this, I thought it was the right thing to – spoiling the grid – but I was very proud older designer I was spoiling Swiss style “anti” Swiss design. I was told by an not, and I also had this thing that I was what has been done, not done and why ti, he explains: “I just saw possibilities, with Patrizia Crivelli and Vera Sacchetwho came before him. In an interview by the influential Swiss graphic designers rejected the restrained approach displayed sive and experimental – his early work Ralph Schraivogel’s work is expressince 1984). and the Museum für Gestaltung (a client (which he has worked with since 1983), clients are Zürich’s Filmpodium cinema tions and events. Two of his longstanding striking poster designs for cultural institubut he has become best known for his designed numerous books and identities, Throughout his career, Schraivogel has Amsterdam. in New York and the Stedelijk Museum in lections of museums such as the MoMA his posters are now in the permanent colraft of other international design prizes), tion in 1996, 2010 and 2017 (as well as a Chaumont International Poster Competidecades. Winner of the very prestigious accomplished poster designers of recent gel is often considered one of the most Swiss graphic designer Ralph SchraivoInternational Poster Competition. three times laureate of the Chaumont gel – poster designer extraordinaire and work of Swiss designer Ralph SchraivoCentre for Graphic Design features the A new exhibition at France’s National

show by the Mü dance school. shops, including two ‘danced tours’ of the there will be a series of talks and workde Vries. During the course of exhibition Schneider, and the graphics by Niessen & The exhibition is designed by Jean process of creating a poster. es and work in progress, which chart the well as material from the archive, sketchfeatures 65 of Schraivogel’s posters, as researched and planned. The exhibition posters a year, and each is painstakingly The designer only produces a handful of different and creative.” verse, which was something completely important to know about this parallel uniwant to do the same as they do, but it was me. To me, this was important. I didn’t was different from all that was around something, a quality to strive for, which at all like the Swiss style, and there was serious, well-done design that didn’t look same year, and it just resonated: here was


ISSUE 01

A magazine on Swiss* Design

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