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The Essentials

Swiss Edition

Learn From the Masters

Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M üller-Brockmann

Swiss Edition Learn From the Masters Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M ü
Swiss Edition Learn From the Masters Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M ü
Swiss Edition Learn From the Masters Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M ü
Swiss Edition Learn From the Masters Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M ü
Swiss Edition Learn From the Masters Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M ü
Swiss Edition Learn From the Masters Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M ü
Swiss Edition Learn From the Masters Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M ü
Swiss Edition Learn From the Masters Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M ü
Swiss Edition Learn From the Masters Emil Ruder Armin Hofmann Walter Herdeg Wim Crouwel Joseph-M ü

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Emil Ruder

Page 16

Armin Hofmann

Page 24

Walter Herdeg

Page 32

Wim Crouwel

Page 40

Joseph Müller-

Brockmann

Page 48

Swiss Design

The Art of Typography

The Color of Precision

The Creative Line

The Rational Grid

The Expressive Grid

Credits

Swiss De

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. Led by designers Josef Müller-Brockmann at the Zurich School of Arts and Krafts and Armin Hofmann at the Basel School of Design, the style favored simplicity, legibility and objectivity.

References and More Information:

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.

sign

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White Space

White space can never be underrated. It’s a very important element for both visual impact and readability. Swiss style is all about using less. This is often acheived by removing as much as possible rather than adding more elements to work with. This is a great example of the ‘less is more’ principle.

as possible rather than adding more elements to work with. This is a great example of
as possible rather than adding more elements to work with. This is a great example of
Uniformity and Geometry Even a quick study of classic Swiss style works reveals a strong

Uniformity and Geometry

Even a quick study of classic Swiss style works reveals a strong attention to uniform design ele- ments and strong geometric shapes. Graphic artists have experimented with abstract geometric patterns, atypical color combinations, text ma- nipulations, and striking abstract visuals that were used to clearly convey their purpose in a very remarkable way.

ma- nipulations, and striking abstract visuals that were used to clearly convey their purpose in a
Photography Despite it not being one of the more well known elements of Swiss Style,

Photography

Despite it not being one of the more well known elements of Swiss Style, the remarkable use of photography became frequent in many famous pieces of Swiss design. Following the modernist ideas, photography was a much better tool to portray reality than drawings and illustrations.

Following the modernist ideas, photography was a much better tool to portray reality than drawings and
Structured Information If Swiss Style is known for one thing, it is the ef- fective
Structured Information If Swiss Style is known for one thing, it is the ef- fective

Structured

Information

If Swiss Style is known for one thing, it is the ef- fective use of the grid system. It is easy to embrace the grid purely as a visual framework but it is es- sential in order to have the structured information that was imperative to Swiss Design. The posters (above and left) were created by Josef Müller- Brockmann and are an excellent example of how he used the grid system to successfully deliver in- formation in a structured layout.

01

The

Art

of

Typography

Emil Rud

Emil Ruder was a typographer and graphic de- signer who, born in Switzerland in 1914, helped Armin Hofmann form the Basel School of Design and established the style of design known as Swiss Design. He taught that, above all, typo- graphy’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 asymmet- rical compositions, placing a high importance on the counters of characters and the negative space of compositions. A friend and associate of Hofmann, Frutiger and Müller 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 devel- opment of web design on many levels.

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Typography The typography introduced by Emile Ruder focused on the shapes created by the letter
Typography The typography introduced by Emile Ruder focused on the shapes created by the letter
Typography The typography introduced by Emile Ruder focused on the shapes created by the letter

Typography

The typography introduced by Emile Ruder focused on the shapes created by the letter using different weights, typefaces and values. Emile Ruder focused primarily on four principles which are: creating rhythm, emphasizing empty spaces, creating different shades of grays with type sizes as well as creating contrast within the composition.

Rhythm In typography there are many opportunities to create rhythmic values. The different parts of letters; the straights and curves, verticals and horizontals, slopping elements, starts and finishes all work together to produce rhythmic patterns. Rhythmic values are present in abun- dance in an ordinary composition. Ascenders

and descenders, round and pointed forms, symmetry and asymmetry are all elements that create rhythm within a typographic composi- tion. If a simple piece of text is well composed, it’s own accord will give the work a rhythmic appeal.

Empty Space Emil Ruder believed that empty space should be viewed as an element of equal value in design. The space that flows around the surface creates surface tension. The empty space, or the white surface is enriched with tension and the empty space is activated up to the edge of the format. Following the Swiss Movement, which focuses on empty spaces activating the composition, Emil Ruder introduced it in his typography.

Shades of grays There are multiple ways of creating different shades of grey with type.
Shades of grays There are multiple ways of creating different shades of grey with type.

Shades of grays There are multiple ways of creating different shades of grey with type. Lines of equal thick- ness with different distances between them can create different shades of grey. Lines with differ- ent thickness with the same distance between, screen surface of a half-tone block, gradation of type size, changing the type sizes, light, bold and extra-bold cutting of a sans-serif, and composi- tion with variable leading are all ways that Emil Ruder introduced to create shades of grays. The image above is a great example of using these elements.

Contrasts Combining different values with the laws of con- trast changes and enhances the effect of both

values. When thinking in terms of contrasts, there is no hesitation to be confused. Contrast is present to help unite the composition in an harmonious whole. Contemporary designers think in contrasts. For modernists, surface and space, far and near, inner and outer are now compatible. When designers combine con- trasting values, they must be careful that the unity of the whole remains unaffected. If the contrasts are too strong and violent, such as light and excessive dark, or large and exces- sively small, one element can be too dominant and the balance between it and the contrasting value can be upset, or never comes into being at all.

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02

The

Color

Of

Precision

Armin Ho

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 the work and theories that surrounded the Swiss International Style, which stressed a belief in an absolute and uni- versal 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 and experi- mental composition and heavily favored sans- serif typography.

He taught for several years at the Basel School of Design and he 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 Joseph Müller-Brockmann did, Hofmann wrote a book outlining his philoso- phies and practices. His Graphic Design Manual was, and still is, a reference book for all graphic designers.

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The Color of Precision A significant component Hofmann brought to Swiss Design is the minimal

The Color of Precision

A significant component Hofmann brought to

Swiss Design is the minimal use of color. The majority of his work conveys precision and sim- plicity. Hofmann almost always produced black and white posters, and if he included a tertiary color, it was with meticulousness. The poster on

the right uses solely black and yellow. The yellow

in this piece was meant to stimulate positivity

and hopefulness. With the absence of yellow, the poster is reduced to purely text and geomet- ric forms (as shown above). The yellow contracts the integrity of the forms in the composition, making them appear moderately inconsequential.

The yellow contracts the integrity of the forms in the composition, making them appear moderately inconsequential.
In the poster at left, Hofmann used only black and white. The lack of color

In the poster at left, Hofmann used only black and white. The lack of color helps the viewer focus on the form of the ballerina as well as the text. Hofmann said, “A primary in black and white posters is to counteract the trivialization of color as it exists today on billboards and in advertis- ing.” His poster does not feel trivial or overpow- ering because there is no color to distract the spectator. The poster below used red text, but the remainder of the composition is black and white. The hierarchy of the red text commu- nicates the essential information to the viewer, while the lack of color of the hands makes their forms pure and the message undefiled. Color can be paramount in numerous cases; however, if it hinders the form or message of a piece, it may be unnecessary.

Color can be paramount in numerous cases; however, if it hinders the form or message of

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03

The

Creative

Line

Walter H

Walter Herdeg was very much a graphic de- signer. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, 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 pub- lished 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 issue

(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.

erdeg

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The Creative Lines A line represents a “path” between two points. A line can be
The Creative Lines A line represents a “path” between two points. A line can be

The Creative Lines

A line represents a “path” between two points.

A line can be straight, curved, vertical, horizon-

tal, diagonal, or zigzag. Lines imply motion and suggest direction or orientation. A line can also be implied—that is filled in by the mind when

several points are positioned geometrically within

a frame. Placing four dots on a page in the shape

of a square can imply the points are linked as

the mind searches for recognizable patterns. The direction and orientation of a line can also imply certain feelings such as fear or confu-

sion. Horizontal lines imply tranquility and rest, whereas vertical lines imply power and strength. Oblique

sion. Horizontal lines imply tranquility and rest, whereas vertical lines imply power and strength. Oblique lines imply movement, action and changes. Curved lines or S shaped lines imply quiet, calm and sensual feelings. Lines that converge imply depth, scale and distance; a fence or roadway converges into the distance provides the illusion that a flat two-dimensional image has three-dimensional depth. A line is an effective elements of design because it can lead the viewers eye.

Walter Herdeg was able to take lines and trans-

form them into extremely informative infographs. These infographs would depict many different topics he felt people needed to know about. The variety of lines in all of his works allows these infographs to become extremely dynamic. By doing this he was able to depict the different topics in many different ways that were unique to the information he was trying to portray.

to depict the different topics in many different ways that were unique to the information he

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04

The

Rational

Grid

Wim Cro

Crouwel is a graphic designer and typographer

References and More Information:

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 Ste-

delijk 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 ver- sions of both are available from The Foundry.

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The Rational Grid A grid system is a rigid framework that is sup- posed to
The Rational Grid A grid system is a rigid framework that is sup- posed to
The Rational Grid A grid system is a rigid framework that is sup- posed to

The Rational Grid

A grid system is a rigid framework that is sup- posed to help graphic designers in the meaning- ful, logical and consistent organization of infor- mation on a page. Rudimentary versions of grid systems existed since the medieval times, but a group of graphic designers, mostly inspired in ideas from typographical literature started build- ing a more rigid and coherent system for page layout. Nowadays grid systems are an estab- lished tool that is often used by print and web designers to create well-structured, balanced

designs. When we learn from the Swiss Style literature, it’s very easy to embrace the
designs. When we learn from the Swiss Style literature, it’s very easy to embrace the

designs. When we learn from the Swiss Style literature, it’s very easy to embrace the grid system as a purely visual framework. However, upon a further examination we can see that grids are more than just the art of placing ele- ments; there’s a subtle layer of semantic organi- zation of data which, despite not being inherent to the use of the grid, is a big part of the Swiss Style’s essence. These posters have a very well- defined structure. It definitely feels like tabular data and tabular data is one such case that the disposition of the information extrapolates the realm of graphic layout and starts hinting on the meaning of data and how various chunks of data relate to each other.

In both of these pieces Crouwel uses a very struc- tured grid and is able to form unity between the different elements. By aligning many elements to- gether the pieces feels more cohesive and struc- tured so the information is not lost in the design and the design is not covered by the information.

and struc- tured so the information is not lost in the design and the design is

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05

The

Expressive

Grid

Joseph

Müller-Br

As with most graphic designers that can be classified as part of the Swiss International Style, Joseph Müller-Brockmann was influenced by the ideas of several different design and art move- ments including Constructivism, De Stijl, Su- prematism 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 Zurich school of arts and crafts.

Perhaps his most decisive work was done for the Zurich Town Hall as poster advertisements for its theater productions. He published several books,

including The Graphic Artist

and Grid Systems in Graphic Design. These books provide an in-depth analysis of his work practices and philosophies, and provide an ex- cellent foundation for young graphic designers

and His Problems

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. He died in Zurich in 1996.

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Expressive Grid The grid defined by Brockmann: “The grid de- termines the constant dimensions of
Expressive Grid The grid defined by Brockmann: “The grid de- termines the constant dimensions of

Expressive Grid

The grid defined by Brockmann: “The grid de- termines the constant dimensions of space.” The grid creates analytical designs and logical solutions to problems. The grid used above is displayed to the right. Within each section of text there is a middle alignment. Meaning there is a white space dividing the words in each group. Unity is created because that alignment is constant within the piece. The more elements placed on an alignment the stronger the design will be. The above poster functions because of these alignments.

The use of a grid will bring symmetry, objectivity, rationalization, as well as the smart
The use of a grid will bring symmetry, objectivity, rationalization, as well as the smart

The use of a grid will bring symmetry, objectivity, rationalization, as well as the smart usage of color, form, and material. The image above is an experiment for the poster to the right of it. The word grid is not always synonymous with vertical layouts. The image to the right is in alignment which allows for the tilted axis and legibility to coexist. When a grid and it’s alignments are used properly inspiring works can be created.

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Credits

Camie Beaulieu-Brunet

Emil Ruder

Credits

Typographie Design is History

Rachel Greene Bass

Joseph Muller-Brockmann

Design is History Grid Systems, in Graphic Design

Bethany Greene

Swiss Design

Chapter Pages

Smashing Magazine Lessons From Swiss Style Graphic Design Design is History

Julie Laxton

Armin Hofmann Table of Contents

Stephen Pisano

Wim Crouwel

Walter Herdeg

This magazine is a school project. It is used for school purposes only. It is not intended to be publicized or sold.