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GDS 102 – GRAPHIC DESIGN HISTORY Swiss/International 1945-1985 INTRODUCTION The International Typographic Style is a label preferred by historians. Designers.

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Presentation on theme: "GDS 102 – GRAPHIC DESIGN HISTORY Swiss/International 1945-1985 INTRODUCTION The International Typographic Style is a label preferred by historians. Designers."— Presentation transcript:

1 GDS 102 – GRAPHIC DESIGN HISTORY Swiss/International 1945-1985 INTRODUCTION The International Typographic Style is a label preferred by historians. Designers refer to this style simply as Swiss because of its origins. The Swiss style was a major force in graphic design and it still holds much power today, especially in the area of corporate identity. The Swisss attitude toward design is to make it socially useful, universal and scientific. Achieving objective clarity and order is the ideal. The visual result was extreme abstraction, often based on pure geometry.

2 INFLUENCES Mies van der Rohe is one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. His buildings became a blueprint for the modern industrial society. Van der Rohe liked to use exposed metal frame structures to exploit bold rectangular forms. Critics would label this type of building steel and glass boxes.

3 INFLUENCES Le Corbussier thought of his furniture as equipment (machines to sit in). This chair design was developed as discreet sculpture to complement the houses he was building. Note the visible steel tubes and the rectangular forms completely devoid of ornamentation.

4 INFLUENCES This chair, designed with only straight lines was very popular because it was extremely light-weight. Note the simplicity of the design and the rectangular shapes.

5 INFLUENCES This classic Nikon camera was probably the boxiest camera ever built. Note the use of 45-degree angles.

6 INFLUENCES Bang & Olufsen is well-known for their discreet simplicity of design as well as their technical precision. Note the pure rectangular form and the turntable arm that always stays aligned.

7 INFLUENCES As a fashion accessory, the Walkmans look changed with the times. This 1978 model has the geometric purity of the Swiss style.

8 INFLUENCES The Concord was engineered for supersonic speeds which dictated extreme simplicity in its sleek aerodynamic forms. The result was a much purer geometric look than a typical aircraft. Note the rectangular shape of the engines.

9 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Josef Muller-Brockman was a designer, teacher and writer, which is probably why he is remembered as the most influential designer during the Swiss era. Muller-Brockman sought an absolute and universal graphic expression through objective and impersonal presentation. Note the typeface and the use of scale to gain impact.

10 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Note the constructivist-inspired collage approach and the use of black and red. Also note the typeface.

11 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Note the use of the grid as well as the typeface.

12 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Muller-Brockmans famous concert posters strive for a visual structure to convey the music to be performed. Note the tilted axis and the typeface.

13 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Often his concert posters were abstracted to the extreme. Inspired by the Constructivist approach, Swiss designers preferred asymmetrical layout and used the grid as an organization tool (sometimes on a tilted axis).

14 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER This famous poster contains all the typical Swiss approaches: minimalist and totally free of ornamentation, a strict grid structure, and use of sans-serif type. The German words The Film are overlapping to structurally represent dissolves.

15 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Muller-Brockman was also the founder and co-editor of Neue Grafik, an international graphic design publication. Note the all-typographic cover and the strict grid system at work.

16 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Swiss designers sought a timeless perfection of form using object photography and sans serif type usually set flush left (and usually in Helvetica, Akzidenz Grotesk or Univers). This minimalist approach to design resulted in understated messages without exaggerated claims of typical commercial advertising.

17 SWISS Muller-Brockmans influences is clearly visible in this poster: documentary-style photography, minimal text in Akzidenz Grotesk (a precursor to Helvetica) and a grid structure for alignment.

18 SWISS This Swiss style travel poster abstracts the sun, sea and sky into the simplest possible forms.

19 SWISS A completely geometric minimalist approach.

20 SWISS Pure geometry with no ornamentation whatsoever.

21 SWISS Note how unity is achieved through repeating the rectangular shapes, even in the title.

22 SWISS Repetition and transformation became a popular formula.

23 SWISS Often the image is so abstract that is has lost meaning, therefore becoming decorative again.

24 SWISS Geometric abstraction itself is the message here.

25 SWISS Here the three Cs in the headline repeats itself as abstract geometric shapes.

26 SWISS Here the repetitive motif of a typewriter actually makes sense.

27 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Italian-born Massimo Vignelli was a New York-based designer best known for creating the identity system for furniture manufacturer Knoll International (using Helvetica). Along with his wife Lelle, they established a firm that designed identity, interiors, furniture, books, as well as industrial products.

28 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Vignelli was also responsible for the signage and the first integrated map of the NYC subway system (Helvetica, of course).

29 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER The map was controversial because it abstracted geography to such an extent that New Yorkers complained about its usability.

30 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Vignelli, like all other Swiss designers utilized the grid extensively. Vignelli liked to violate the grid for effect. He was also often parodied for the use of thick horizontal bars.

31 INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER Unlike other Swiss designers, Vignelli also liked to use the Bodoni typeface.

32 SWISS The Swiss geometric abstraction translated visually to look Japanese.

33 SWISS Even Paul Rand jumped on the Swiss bandwagon for a little while.

34 SWISS A typical Swiss poster, a clever way to merge the N and Z.

35 SWISS Late Swiss designs were more playful. But this poster violates the early Swiss approach of clarity above all.

36 SWISS The German airline Lufthansa was the first company to develop an identity system instead of just a logo (using Helvetica, of course).

37 SWISS An identity system outlines the rules of how a logo is to be applied.

38 SWISS The Swiss approach can make the most mundane material look clean and organized.

39 SWISS The Swiss approach was embraced by multi-national corporations and institutions because of its universal quality. Critics however, labeled this style cold, impersonal and formulaic.

40 SWISS This signage system developed for the U.S. Department of Transportation used the Swiss approach of abstraction and minimalism to arrive at symbols that could be universally understood.

41 TRADEMARKS Trademarks for major international financial institutions like Chase were designed to be anonymous, therefore powerful.

42 TRADEMARKS The old Citibank star symbol can be interpreted any number of ways by any culture.


44 Although this symbol is industrial looking, it is difficult to determine exactly what it means.

45 TRADEMARKS This paper mill symbol is both a C and sheets of paper coming off the roll.

46 TRADEMARKS This logo takes advantage of pure geometry to create an abstraction of letterforms.

47 TRADEMARKS Here is Prudential trying to keep up with the times.

48 TYPOGRAPHY Adrian Frutiger designed this typeface to have universal harmony among all 21 weights.

49 TYPOGRAPHY Originally issued as Neue Hass Grotesk, this typeface was later renamed as Helvetica (the Latin name for Switzerland). Helvetica was often favored over Univers because of its larger x-height. The family was later expanded in the 1980s.

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