A graphic design style emphasizingcleanliness, readability and objectivitydeveloped in Switzerland in the 1950s.Specifics of the style are a preference forblack and white photography, asymmetriclayouts, use of a grid system, sans-seriftypefaces and flush left, ragged right text.The style is named for the many earlyInternational Typographic Style worksfeaturing typography as a primarydesign element.
Originally released by theH. Berthold AG type foundryin 1896 Akzidenz-Groteskwas the first sans serif type-face to be widely used andinfluenced many later neo-grotesque typefaces.Max Miedinger at the HaasFoundry sought to refine thetypeface making it more evenand unified utilized it as amodel for the typeface NeueHaas Grotesk released in1957, renamed Helvetica (latinforThe Swedish Type) in 1960.Two other releases from 1957,Adrian Frutigers Univers &Bauer and Baums Folio, takeinspiration from this typeface.
In 1954 the French type foundryDeberny & Peignot wanted to adda linear sans serif type in severalweights to the range of theLumitype fonts. The foundry’s artdirector, Adrian Frutiger,suggested refraining fromadapting an existing alphabetwanting to instead make a newfont that would be suitable for thetypesetting of longer texts.Quite a challenge for a sans-serif font at that time.Starting with his old sketchesfrom his student days at theSchool for the Applied Arts inZurich, he created the Universtype family.In 1957, the family was releasedby Deberny & Peignot, andafterwards, it was produced byLinotype.
Graphis, The International Journal ofVisual Communication, was firstpublished in 1944 by Walter Herdeg inZurich, Switzerland. Graphis Inc. is theinternational publisher of books andmagazines on communication design,advertising, photography, annual reports,posters, logos, packaging, book design,brochures, corporate identity, letterhead,interactive design and other designassociated with graphic arts. Graphiswas (and still is) one of the mostimportant and influential Europeangraphic design publication.Over 350 issues of Graphis magazinehave been published. Graphis alsopublishes hardback annuals including:Graphis Design Annual, GraphisAdvertising Annual, GraphisPhotography Annual, Graphis AnnualReports Annual, and Graphis PosterAnnual.
In 1959 four Zürich-basedgraphic designers launched thefirst issue of Neue Grafikmagazine devoted to the Swissstyle of design and typography.The team of editors consisted ofRichard Paul Lohse, JosefMüller-Brockmann, HansNeuburg and Carlo Vivarelli.Signing some of their jointlywritten articles with the acronym"lmnv", which formed from theirinitials."Neue Grafik" epitomizes Swisstypography of the 1950s. It wasthe new age manifesto for thedesign world. The publication ofthe magazine proved aninternational success making theSwiss Style the InternationalTypographic Style.
The displayed poster for theZurich Town Hall is perhapsMüller-Brockmanns mostrecognized, and most emulated,piece of work.
A Swiss graphic designer and teacherJosef Müller-Brockmann studiedarchitecture, design and history of art atboth the University andKunstgewerbeschule in Zurich.Author of "The Graphic Artist and hisDesign Problems", "Grid Systems inGraphic Design" , the publications "Historyof the Poster" and"A History of Visual Communication".Recognized for his simple designs andclean use of typography, notably Helvetica,shapes and colors which inspires manygraphic designers today.“The grid system is an aid, not aguarantee. It permits a number ofpossible uses and each designercan look for a solution appropriateto his personal style. But onemust learn how to use the grid; itis an art that requires practice.”- Josef Müller-Brockmann
In the poster displayed,US Baut by Max Bill showspropaganda for both sidesof the Cold War. It isdesigned in order withorganization andmathmatical grids.It is both Static and activeand shows contrastingcontemporaryrelationships.
Max Bill, a Swiss architect, artist, painter,typeface designer, and graphic designerstarted his career with an apprenticeshipas a silversmith during 1924-1927, thentook up studies at the Bauhaus in Dessau.After 1937 he was a prime mover behindthe Allianz group of Swiss artists.He became a professor at the school of artsin Zurich in 1944. In 1953, Bill along withInge Aicher-Scholl and Otl Aicher foundedthe Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm,Germany,a design school in the tradition of theBauhaus that was notable for its inclusion ofsemiotics as a field of study. The schoolclosed in 1968.
Emil Ruders’ coverdesign for the book hewrote explaining histheories titledTypographie:A Manual for Design.
Playing a key part in the development of theSwiss Style, Emil Ruder began his designeducation at the age of fifteen taking acompositor’s apprenticeship. By his latetwenties he began attending the Zurich Schoolof Artsand Crafts where the principles of Bauhausand Tschichold’s New Typography were taught.In 1947 he helped found the Basel School.Helping spread and propagate the Swiss Style,Ruder published a basic grammar oftypography titled "Emil Ruder: Typography”which becamea basic text for graphic design and typographyprograms in Europe and North America.In 1962 he helped to found the InternationalCenter for the Typographic Arts in New York.
Armin Hofmann, a Swiss graphic designer,followed Emil Ruder as head of thegraphic design department at the BaselSchool of Art. He was instrumental indeveloping the graphic design style knownas the Swiss Style. In 1965 he wrote the"Graphic Design Manual", a populartextbook in the field.Well known for his posters, whichemphasized economical use of colorand fonts, a reaction to what Hofmannregarded as the "trivialization of color".An influential educator, he retired in 1987.Hofmann thought that one of the most efficientforms of communications was the poster and hespent much of his career designing posters, inparticularly for the Basel Stadt Theater. Just asEmil Ruder and Joseph Müller-Brockmann did,Hofmann wrote a book outlining his philosophiesand practices. His Graphic Design Manual was,and still is, a reference book for all graphicdesigners.