The International Typographic Style

During the 50s a design movement emerged from Switzerland and Germany that has been called Swiss design, or more appropriately, the International Typographic Style. The objective clarity of this design movement won converts throughout the world. It remained a major force for over two decades, and its influence continues today.

The International Typographic Style
The roots of the International Typographic Style are to a large extent found in the curriculum advanced at the School of Design in Basel. The development of this curriculum has its basis in fundamental geometric exercises involving the cube and the line. This foundation, begun in the nineteenth century and thus independent of De Stijl and the Bauhaus, was the basis for the 1908 formation of the school’s foundation course and remained relevant to the design program in the 1950s.

The International Typographic Style
Max Huber Anton Stankowski Adrian Frutiger Hermann Zapf Armin Hofmann Josef Müller-Brockmann

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Ernst Keller 1891–1968 A design solution should emerge from its content.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Théo Ballmer, poster for an office professions exhibition, 1928. Traces of the grid squares used to construct this poster remain as the thin white lines between the letters.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Théo Ballmer studied under Klee, Gropius, and Meyer at the Bauhaus in the 1920s.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Théo Ballmer, poster for a traveling exhibition of industrial standards, 1928. Absolute mathematical construction is used, rather than the asymmetrical horizontals and verticals of De Stijl.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Théo Ballmer, poster for a traveling exhibition of industrial standards, 1928. In this case, he leaves the structural grid exposed, as part of the composition.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Bill 1908–1994 He constructed layouts of geometric elements organized with absolute order. Mathematical proportion, geometric spatial division, and the use of Akzidenz Gotesk are features of his work of this period. Important concerns include the linear division of space into harmonious parts; modular grids; arithmetic and geometric progressions, permutations, and sequences; and the equalization of contrasting and complimentary relationships into an ordered whole.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Bill, exhibition poster, 1945. Diamond-shaped photographs form a wedge; some photographs are placed on the white ground to equalize the figure and ground.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber brought a vitality and intricacy to his work.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber, yearbook cover, 1951. An informal balance of halftones printed in red, black, and blue combines with yellow rectangles to turn the space into an energy-charged field.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber 1919–1992 Huber took advantage of the transparency of printing inks by layering shapes, typography, and images to create a complex web of graphic information.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber 1919–1992 Huber took advantage of the transparency of printing inks by layering shapes, typography, and images to create a complex web of graphic information.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber 1919–1992

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber 1919–1992

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber 1919–1992

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber 1919–1992

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber 1919–1992

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber 1919–1992

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Max Huber, poster for Borsalino Hats, 1949. The design devices below the hat help to unify the posters when hung in rows together.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Anton Stankowski 1906–1998 Particularly innovative in photography, photomontage, and darkroom manipulation of images. After the war, his work started to crystallize into what was to become his major contribution to graphic design: the creating of visual forms to communicate invisible processes and physical forces.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Anton Stankowski, trademark for Standard Elektrik Lorenz AG, 1953. Dynamic equilibrium is achieved by an asymmetrical construction in an implied square, signifying communications transmission and reception.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Anton Stankowski, calendar cover for Standard Elektrik Lorenz AG, 1957. A radial configuration symbolizes transmission and radiation using the client’s radio and telephone products.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Anton Stankowski, image from a Viessmann calendar. Linear elements change color after passing through the central bar, representing heat and energy transfer in furnace boilers.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Anton Stankowski

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928 Completed a visually programmed family of twenty-one sans-serif fonts named Univers.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928 Completed a visually programmed family of twenty-one sans-serif fonts named Univers.

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928
・President (1954) ・Meridien (1955) ・Egyptienne (1956) ・Univers (1957) ・Serifa (1967) ・OCR-B (1968) ・Iridium (1975) ・Frutiger (designed 1975 for Charles de Gaulle Airport) ・Glypha (1977) ・Icone (1980) ・Breughel (1982) ・Versailles (1982) ・Avenir (1988) ・Vectora (1990) ・Didot (Linotype) (1991).

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928
・Egyptienne (1956)

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928
・Serifa (1967)

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928
・OCR-B (1968)

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928
・Iridium (1975)

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928
・ Frutiger

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928
・ Glypha

The International Typographic Style
Pioneers of the Movement Adrian Frutiger b.1928
・Vectora (1990)

The International Typographic Style
HELVETICA In the mid-50s, Edouard Hoffman of the HAAS type foundry in Switzerland decided that the Akzidenz Grotesk fonts should be refined and updated.

Akzidenz Grotesk - 1898

The International Typographic Style
HELVETICA Hoffman collaborated with Max Miedinger, who executed the designs, and their new sans-serif was released as Neue Haas Grotesk.

The International Typographic Style
HELVETICA Neue Haas Grotesk wasn’t a name that would sell very well in the US, so they changed the name to HELVETICA.

The International Typographic Style
HELVETICA

The International Typographic Style
HELVETICA

The International Typographic Style
HELVETICA

The International Typographic Style
HELVETICA

The International Typographic Style
Classical Typography Herman Zapf, a native of Nuremberg, Germany, entered the graphic arts as an apprentice photo retoucher. He later started his study of calligraphy after acquiring a copy of Koch’s Das Schreiben als Kunstfertigkeit (Writing as Art).

The International Typographic Style
Classical Typography Herman Zapf Palatino

The International Typographic Style
Classical Typography Herman Zapf Melior

The International Typographic Style
Classical Typography Herman Zapf Optima

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Armin Hofmann began teaching graphic design at the Basel School of Design after completing his education in Zurich and working as a staff designer for several studios. Hofmann applied deep aesthetic values and understanding of form to both teaching and designing. As time passed, he evolved a design philosophy based on the elemental graphic-form language of point, line, and plane, replacing traditional pictorial ideas with modernist aesthetic.

The International Typographic Style
Armin Hofmann, logotype for the Basel Civic Theater, 1954. This hand-lettered logotype anticipates the tight spacing and capital ligatures of phototypography. The control of spatial intervals between letterforms is magnificent.

The International Typographic Style

Armin Hofmann, trademark for the Swiss National Exhibition, Expo 1964. An E for Exhibition links with the Swiss cross. The open bottom permits the white space of the page to flow into the symbol.

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Armin Hofmann

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Armin Hofmann

The International Typographic Style
Armin Hofmann, poster for Wilhelm Tell (William Tell), 1963. In large sans-serif uppercase letters the name Tell implies an arrow aimed at the large apple in the background.

The International Typographic Style
Armin Hofmann, poster for Herman Miller furniture, 1962. Shapes and silhouettes of Herman Miller chairs cascade through space, anchored to the format and the type by the red logo at the top center. More…

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Armin Hofmann More…

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann Emerging as a leading theorist and practitioner of the movement, Müller-Brockmann sought an absolute and universal form of graphic expression through objective and impersonal presentation, communicating to the audience without the interference of the designer’s subjective feelings or propagandistic techniques of persuasion.

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann

The International Typographic Style
Josef Müller-Brockmann, American Books Today catalog cover, 1953. Shapes signify books, while color signifies the country of their origin.

The International Typographic Style
Josef Müller-Brockmann, Swiss Auto Club poster, 1954. Photography amplifies the text, “The friendly hand sign protects against accidents.”

The International Typographic Style
Josef Müller-Brockmann, public awareness poster, 1960. Red type declares “less noise,” while the photograph graphically depicts the discomfort noise causes.

The International Typographic Style
Josef Müller-Brockmann, poster for an exhibition of lamps, 1975. Modulated, glowing multicolor disks signify the radiant energy of lighting fixtures.

The International Typographic Style
Josef Müller-Brockmann, “Musica Viva” concert poster, 1959. Colored squares march in musical rhythm on the tilted white square. Typography and shapes align in harmonious juxtaposition.

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann 1960

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann

The International Typographic Style
Basel & Zurich Josef Müller-Brockmann More…

The International Typographic Style
International Style in America Rudolph DeHarak DeHarak’s evolution has been a continuing quest for communicative clarity and visual order, which are the qualities he deems vital to effective graphic design. The recognized these qualities in Swiss design during the late 50s and adapted attributes of the movement such as grid structures and asymmetrical balance.

The International Typographic Style
International Style in America Rudolph DeHarak More…

The International Typographic Style
International Style in America Jacqueline S. Casey

The International Typographic Style
International Style in America Jacqueline S. Casey

The International Typographic Style
International Style in America Dietmar Winkler

The International Typographic Style
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