Swiss Graphic Design

The Origins and Growth of an International Style, 1920-1965

Richard Hollis

View Inside Price: $65.00


April 28, 2006
272 pages, 10.5 x 8.25
650 b/w + 100 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300106763
Cloth

Laurence King

Out of Print

Swiss graphic design and “the Swiss Style” are crucial elements in the history of modernism. During the 1920s and ’30s, skills traditionally associated with Swiss industry, particularly pharmaceuticals and mechanical engineering, were matched by those of the country’s graphic designers, who produced their advertising and technical literature. These pioneering graphic artists saw design as part of industrial production and searched for anonymous, objective visual communication. They chose photographic images rather than illustration, and typefaces that were industrial-looking rather than those designed for books.
Written by noted design authority Richard Hollis, this lavishly illustrated volume looks at the uniquely clear graphic language developed by such Swiss designers as Theo Ballmer, Max Bill, Adrian Frutiger, Karl Gerstner, Armin Hoffman, Ernst Keller, Herbert Matter, Josef Müller-Brockmann, and Jan Tschichold. The style of these artists received worldwide admiration for its formal discipline: images and text were organized by geometrical grids. Adopted internationally, the grid and sans serif typefaces such as Helvetica became the classic emblems of Swiss graphic design.
Showcasing design work across a range of media, including posters, magazines, exhibition displays, brochures, advertisements, books, and film, this essential book shows how many of the Swiss designers’ modernist elements remain an indispensable part of today’s graphic language.

Richard Hollis is a graphic designer and scholar of design. His previous books include Graphic Design: A Concise History (2002).

"Swiss Graphic Design showcases the Swiss style as captured in a wide range of media from 1920 to 1965, and its last chapter takes a look at how it came to be accepted internationally and is still emulated today. Through posters, advertisments, magazines, brochures, environmental design, books, and film."—Step Inside Design

“Hollis traces the growth of one of the most influential movements in graphic design history originating in 1920’s Switzerland and exported worldwide in the ‘60s as the International Style. . . . Elegantly balancing text and images on a four-column grid, the single columns present biographical information on scores of artists and designers who played significant roles in the movement.”—Ruth Hagopian, Communication Arts

"The success of the book is as a catalogue of the 'objective, rational manner' and in its strong sense of the cultural determinism of its universal applications."—Michael J. Golec, Design Issues