International Typographic Style (Swiss)
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Early Swiss: New Approaches to Photography

Herbert Matter

To enhance communication, Matter used the following design techniques:

  • used collage and montage

  • integrated photography and typography

  • used extreme contrast of scale

 

(from chapter 16- 4th edition)
(from chapter 18- 3rd edition)


16-62

Swiss tourism poster, (1934)
Herbert Matter

The angular forms with the linear patterns convey a sense of movement which is appropriate to the winter sports.

 

 

 

  • Photographic images become pictorial symbols removed from their naturalistic environments and linked together in unexpected ways.
  • Matter pioneered extreme contrasts of scale and the integration of black-and-white photography, signs, and color areas


16-63

Swiss tourism poster, (1935)
Herbert Matter

This is a photomontage. It has graphic elements that signify spacial perspective.



16-64

Poster for Pontresina, (1935)
Herbert Matter

High and low camera angles accompany dramatci scale contrasts.

International typographic Style (Swiss)

  • A design movement originally from Switzerland and Germany that gained most of its popularity in the 1950’s and 60’s

  • Emphasized asymmetrical organization of the elements on a mathematically constructed grid

  • Included objective photography and copy that presents information in a clear, factual manner

  • Typography used was sans-serif typography and set in a flush –left / ragged right configuration

 

 

  • The movement defined design as a socially useful and important activity

  • Detractors complain that the style is based on a formula and the results are similar to each other while advocates argue that the formula allows for a perfection of style and results are only limited by the designer’s skill.

  • It roots grew from de Stijl, the Bauhaus, and New Typography.

Pioneers:

  • Ernst Keller
  • Théo Ballmer
  • Max Huber
  • Max Bill
  • Anthony Froshaug

 

 

Ernst Keller

 
 


18-1

Poster for the Rietburg Museum , (undated)
Ernst Keller

Emblematic images are energized by repetitive geometric elements.

Theo Ballmer

 


18-2

Poster for the office professions exhibition, (1928)
Theo Ballmer

Traces of the grid of squares used to construct this poster remain as the thin white lines between the letters.


18-3

Poster for a traveling exhibition of industrial standards, (1928)
Theo Ballmer

Absolute Mathmatical construction, rather than the asymmetrical horizontals and verticals of de Stijl, are used.

Max Huber

 


18-7

Yearbook cover , (1951)
Max Huber

The red, black and blue halftone images combined with the yellow rectangles turns the space into an energetic informal balance of space and images.


18-8

poster for automobile races , (1948)
Max Huber

Speed and movement are expresses by typography that is racing back in perspective and arrows arcing forward, bringing depth to the printed page.

 

Armin Hofmann

 


18-21

poster for the Basel theater production of Gisselle, (1959)
Armin Hofmann

An organic, kinetic, and soft photographic images contrasts intensely with geometric, static, and hard-edged typographic shapes.

 

 


18-23

poster for Herman Miller Furniture , (1962)
Armin Hofmann

Shapes and the silhouettes of Herman Miller chairs cascade through space, anchored to the format and the type by the red logo at the top center.

Josef Muller- Brockmann

 


18-30

Swiss Auto Club poster, (1954)
Josef Muller- Brockmann

The text reads, "The friendly hand sign protects from accidents."

 


Swiss Automobile Club, Watch that Child!, (1952)
Josef Muller- Brockmann

 

 


18-31

Public awareness poster, (1960)
Josef Muller- Brockmann

The red type reads "less noise" The photo graphically depicts the discomfort of noise.

 


18-33

der Film (Of the Film) exhibition poster (1960)
Josef Muller- Brockmann

Against a black field, the word Film is white, the word der is gray and the other typography is red.

 

 

musica viva concert poster (1972)
Josef Muller- Brockmann

Colored squares march in musical rhythm on the titles white diamond. Typography and shapes align in harmonious juxtaposition.

 


m (1980)
Josef Muller- Brockmann

The grid was always an important aspect to Muller-Brockmann's designs.

In this poster it is a major visible element.

Website link to more of Muller-Brockmann's posters

 

 

 

—To clarify—
Visual Characteristics of Swiss:

1.
Visual unity of design achieved by
asymmetrical organization of the design elements on a mathematically-constructed grid

2.
Objective photography and copy that
present visual and verbal information in a
clear and factual manner, free from the exaggerated claims of much propaganda
and commercial advertising

3.
Sans-serif typography set flush left,
ragged right (The initiators of this movement believed sans-serif typography expressed
the spirit of a progressive age and that mathematical grids were the most legible and harmonious means for structuring information.)

Look at the work and find these characteristics.