Elite Design swiss style
Table of Contents
Often referred to as the International Typographic Style or the International Style, the style of design that originated in Switzerland in the 1940s and 50s was the basis of much of the development of graphic design during the mid 20th century. Swiss style grew from the Bauhaus and was a direct response to the atrocities of World War II. Led by designers Josef M端ller-Brockmann at the Z端rich School of Arts and Krafts and Armin Hofmann at the Basel School of Design, the style favored simplicity, legibility and objectivity. Of the many contributions to develop from the two schools were the use of sans serif typography, grids and asymmetrical layouts. Also stressed was the combination of typography and photography as a means of visual communication. The primary influential works were developed as posters, which were seen to be the most effective means of communication.
Visual rhythm Placement hierarchy Structure / Contrast
Application Variable: columns / rows Gutters 6 x 12 "Golden Grid"
Examples Peter Stuyvesant Collectie — Crouwel Elisabeth Tudor — Müller-Brockmann Stadttheater — Müller-Brockmann
The grid creates a systematic and steady rule for placing objects. The elements are placed on the cell borderlines. Grids create a visual rhythm. They make it easier and more pleasant for the eye to scan the objects on the page. Designs that do not use a grid often tend to look unprofessional and cluttered.
A grid is an aid for the designer, not a goal by itself. Therefore, it is acceptable when some elements are deliberately not placed exactly in adherence to the grid to create a certain effect. The grid simply creates some rhythm and guidance for the eye and is the foundation of any solid design. The grid shown on this spread is a visual example for how our images and text are placed within a grid to show uniformity.
Less is more Form follows function
Application Minimalistic aesthetic Backgrounds cropped from photos Only necessary copy and images
Examples Lecturis — Crouwel Alchinsky — Crouwel Beethoven — Müller-Brockmann
The highly modern, reductive style associated with the Swiss design ethic owes its existence in large part to Josef Müller-Brockmann. The Swiss reductive look was minimalistic and did not fill the entire workspace with text or imagery. Form follows function was the motto of the Swiss. This slogan was coined by American architect Louis Sullivan. Walter Gropius believed that an object’s design should be dominated by its function.
Less is more Reduction Spatial hierarchy
Application Space without images or texts Breathing room for images and text Asymmetry
Examples Leesbaarheid — Couwel Hiroshima — Crouwel Die Deue Haas Grotesk — Müller-Brockmann
Negative space was used effectively by Swiss designers in drastic ways that had never been done before. The minimalistic idea of “less is more” was incorporated into every aspect of their design. Negative space was necessary to achieve the “Swiss” look.
Simplicity Form follows function Repetition
Application Triangles Perfect circles Squares Angles
Examples BBVG — Crouwel Musica Viva — Müller-Brockmann Juni-Festwochen Zürich — Müller-Brockmann
The use of geometric shapes is one of the most important changes that came from Swiss Style. Before Swiss Style designers relied on highly representational illustrations to portray the meaning behind their works. In order for Swiss designers to rid design of the excess they stripped images down into their most basic forms. Swiss designers were masters at using geometric figures to convey meanings, emotions, and ideas.
Direct focus Visually dynamic
Application Diagonals Designs heavy to left, right, top, or bottom Stray from left to right tradition
Examples Collectie Bo Boustedt — Crouwel Helmhaus Zürich — Müller-Brockmann Kinderspel — Müller-Brockmann
Swiss Design is also known for their use of asymmetrical layouts. Simply stated, if a design were to be folded in half, each of the halves would not be equal in either visual aspects or balance. By default, when any given item is asymmetrical, everything gravitates towards the greater side.
When asymmetry is applied to graphic design and/or typography the viewer will automatically focus on the most prevalent side of the layout. The use of this strategy can make the difference between a quick glance and a lasting impression.
Add contrast to composition Alternative to illustration
Application Black and white imagery Backgrounds cropped out Asymmetrical placement of photos
Examples Giselle — Hofmann Helmhaus Zürich — Hofmann Readfahrer-Achtung — Müller-Brockmann One important part of the Swiss Style is its remarkable use of photography. Photography was used in place of illustrations and was a better way to show reality. Swiss designers dedicated a large portion of their imagery to photography. Black and white photos were used to give compositions more contrast and depth, which improved the aesthetic of and brought a unique versatility to the design.
Hierarchy Conceptual colors
Primary colors Power palette Max 3-color palette
Examples Packaging — Crouwel Faculty-Student Exchange — Hofmann Eröffnung der Spielzeit — Müller-Brockmann Swiss design is known for its limited color palette. Many designs utilized the power palette consisting of black, white, and red. Typically, if any other color was used it was a primary color and it was often used to make a point or define hierarchy. Gradients were done away with were replaced with blocks of varying shades of that color.
Universal Politically neutral Simplicity Progressive
Application Sans serif type Condensed type Drastic size / weight contrast
Examples Hnwerkman — Crouwel Hussem en Bouthoorn — Crouwel The Amsterdam Public Library — Crouwel
In addition to ridding images of their ornate details, Swiss designers rid type of its ornamentation as well. Sans serif automatically made serif typefaces feel outdated and overused. Designers used sans serif type for everything from header text to body copy. They preferred the clean, structured feel that typefaces suchas Azkidenz-Grotesque, Helvetica, and Univers gave to a design. Sans serif was seen as a progressive typeface that embodied the clear, simplistic, and universal ideals of the swiss style.
Master Designers Emil Ruder
Swiss designers created the rules for the foundation of modern design. Not only were they masters of their chosen style of design, but many of them also became teachers. As teachers they passed on their knowledge to students. They taught their students to love and appreciate Swiss Design, and thestudents in turn carried on its traditional values and beauty. These master designers include: Emil Ruder, Armin Hofmann, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Walter Herdeg, Wim Crouwel, and György Kepes.
Born on March 20, 1914 Z端rich, Switzerland
Education Basel School of Design
Emil Ruder was a typographer and graphic designer who helped Armin Hofmann form the Basel School of Design and establish the style of design known as Swiss Design. He taught that, above all, typography's purpose was to communicate ideas through writing. He placed a heavy importance on sans serif typefaces and his work is both clear and concise, especially his typography. Like most designers classified as part of the Swiss Design movement he favored asymmetrical compositions, placing a high importance on the counters of characters and the negative space of compositions. A friend and associate of Hofmann, Frutiger and M端ller-Brockmann, Ruder played a key role in the development of graphic design in the 1940s and 50s. His style has been emulated by many designers and his use of grids in design has influenced the development of web design on many levels.
Born in 1920 Winterthur, Switzerland
Education School of Arts and Crafts in Z端rich
By the age of 27, Armin Hofmann had already completed an apprenticeship in lithography and had begun teaching typography at the Basel School of Design. His colleagues and students were integral in adding to work and theories that surrounded the Swiss International Style, which stressed a belief in an absolute and universal style of graphic design. The style of design they created had a goal of communication above all else, practiced new techniques of photo typesetting, photo-montage, experimental composition, and heavily favored sans serif typography.
He taught for several years at the Basel School of Design and was not there long before he replaced Emil Ruder as the head of the school. The Swiss International Style, and Hofmann, thought that one of the most efficient forms of communications was the poster and Hofmann spent much of his career designing posters, in particularly for the Basel Stadt Theater. Just as Emil Ruder and Josef M端ller-Brockmann did, Hofmann wrote a book outlining his philosophies and practices. His Graphic Design Manual was, and still is, a reference book for all graphic designers.
Born on May, 9 1914 Rapperswill, Switzerland
Education The University of Zürich The Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich
As with most graphic designers that can be classified as part of the Swiss International Style, Josef Müller-Brockmann was influenced by the ideas of several different design and art movements including Constructivism, De Stijl, Suprematism and the Bauhaus. He is perhaps the most well-known Swiss designer and his name is probably the most easily recognized when talking about the period. He was born and raised in Switzerland and by the age of 43 he became a teacher at the Zürich school of arts and crafts. Perhaps his most decisive work was done for the Zürich Town Hall as poster advertisements for its theater productions. He published several books, including The Graphic Artist and His Problems and Grid Systems in Graphic Design. These books provide an in-depth analysis of his work practices and philosophies, and provide an excellent foundation for young graphic designers wishing to learn more about the profession. He spent most of his life working and teaching, even into the early 1990s when he toured the US and Canada speaking about his work.
Born in 1908 Z端rich, Switzerland
Education The Kunstgewerbeschule in Z端rich Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden K端nste in Berlin
Walter Herdeg was very much a graphic designer. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Z端rich, created many different corporate identities (just as the practice was beginning to become a standard), and even formed his own design company with Walter Amstutz. What he is best known for, however, is the creation and publication of Graphis. An international journal of visual communication, Graphis was first published by Herdeg towards the end of the second World War. The magazine showcases work and interviews from designers and illustrators from all over the world in an effort to share their work with other audiences. In the beginning, it served as one of what were, at the time, only a few vessels which exposed the western world to the design work being done in Europe. Herdeg served as the editor of the magazine for 246 issues (the magazine is still in publication) as well as the Graphis Design Annuals, which showed the best and brightest work from the year prior to their publication. Graphis was a seminal force in the shaping of design culture and it continues to educate, expand and foster the world of graphic design today.
Born on November 21, 1928 Groningen, The Netherlands
Education Fine Arts at Academie Minerva Gerrit Rietveld Academie
Crowel is a graphic designer and typographer born in the Netherlands. In 1963 he founded the studio Total Design, now called Total Identity. His most well known work has been for the Stedelijk Museum. His typography is extremely well planned and based on very strict systems of grids. He has also designed expositions, album covers and identity systems. He has published two typefaces Fodor and Gridnik, digitized versions of both are available from The Foundry. In addition to his work as graphic designer, he was also active in the educational field. In the 1950s he worked as a teacher at the Royal Academy for Art and Design in the Southern Netherlands.
Born on October 4, 1906 Lorinci, Hungary
Education Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest
Kepes was indeed a man of many faces. In his career he has been a designer, painter, sculptor, filmmaker, teacher and urban camouflage theorist. He has been widely revered for his teaching practices and his book Language of Vision was used as a college textbook for the arts for many years. He ran the Color and Light program at the New Bauhas in Chicago (at the invitation of his friend Laszlo Moholy-Nagy) and founded the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. In 1974 he retired from education and returned to painting. His teachings and the work of his students (whom included Saul Bass) greatly influenced an entire nation of budding American designers.
Swiss Today This poster was recreated recently for the 1982 H端sker Du concert at the New York coliseum, by Mike Joyce. It is an excellent example of how Swiss Design is still relevant and stylish in today's culture. This poster utilizes several key tactics of Swiss Design. The text is a sans serif called Akzidenz-Grotesk and is set in all miniscule letters. The color scheme utilizes the Swiss standard of primary colors, in this case, blue, yellow, and a hot pink, with red overtones. The overall feel of the poster is simple, universal, and reductive. This poster uses geometric shapes, such as the triangle, circle, and square.
This poster is also an example of Swiss Design living on in the modern age. This poster was done in recent years as a redesign for the 1986 concert of Sonic Youth with Firehouse. This poster clearly demonstrates key aspects of Swiss Design. The most noticeable of these aspects is the color scheme. While green is not a primary color, it is a tertiary color and has been known to be used occasionally in Swiss designs. This poster takes Swiss color a step further by using repeated geometric circles to show a gradient effect without actually having one solid gradient. The second most noticable Swiss element is the type. The type on this poster is sans serif, all miniscules, and is in strict adherence to the grid.
Resources If you are interested in more information or images related to Swiss Design here are the links that we used to gather our information. Enjoy!
graphic-design/ http://graphicmania.net/understanding-swiss-style-graphic-design/ http://wordsandeggs.wordpress.com/
http://smearedblackink.com/swiss_style_timeline/ http://designersjournal.net/jottings/heroes-armin-hofmann http://creativepro.com/files/story_images/20110421_swiss_style.jpg
Cover: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Layout: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Table of Contents: Kayla Decker Katie Brazell Swiss Style: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Grid Systems: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Reductive Nature: Kayla Decker Katie Brazell Negative Space: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Geometric Shapes: Kayla Decker Katie Brazell
Asymmetry: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Photography: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Color: Kayla Decker Katie Brazell Sans Serif: Kayla Decker Katie Brazell Master Designers: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Ruder: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Hofmann: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker M端ller-Brockmann: Kayla Decker Katie Brazell
Herdeg: Kayla Decker Katie Brazell Crouwel: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Kepes: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Swiss Today: Kayla Decker Katie Brazell More Information: Katie Brazell Credits: Kayla Decker Assemblage of Book: Katie Brazell Kayla Decker Multiple Images Provided by: Tim Speaker