Project

Back to overview

Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited

English title Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited
Applicant Scheuermann Arne
Number 160825
Funding scheme Sinergia
Research institution Forschungsschwerpunkt Kommunikationsdesign Y (Institut für Transdisziplinarität) Hochschule der Künste Bern HKB
Institution of higher education Berne University of Applied Sciences - BFH
Main discipline Arts
Start/End 01.10.2016 - 31.03.2021
Approved amount 1'925'005.00
Show all

All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Arts
Visual arts and Art history

Keywords (10)

graphic design; typography; Switzerland; historiography; design education; design practice; design dissemination; Swiss Style; International Style; national identity

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
«Schweizer Grafikdesign und Typografie» ist lebendige Tradition, international anerkannter Repräsentant Schweizer Kultur und wichtiger Bestandteil des Schweizerischen Selbstverständnisses.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Bisherige Definitionen von «Schweizer Grafikdesign und Typografie» resultieren aus einer Vielzahl von Erzählungen über ihre Beschaffenheit und Geschichte, die sich vor allem auf einzelne Gestalter und ihre Arbeiten stützen. Das Sinergia-Projekt geht dem Status und Erfolg von «Schweizer Grafikdesign und Typografie» in drei Teilprojekten nach. Dabei untersucht wird der Einfluss von pädagogischen Grundsätzen, die an Schweizer Ausbildungsstätten entwickelt und angewandt wurden und werden (A: «Principles of Education»), von Netzwerken professioneller Gestalter/innen im In- und Ausland (B: «Networks of Practice»), sowie von Publikationen und Ausstellungen, die dazu beitragen, Produkte und Methoden des Schweizer Grafikdesigns national und international zu verbreiten (C: «Strategies of Dissemination»). Jedes dieser Teilprojekte beinhaltet drei Fallstudien, die von Forschern/innen und Doktoranden/innen der sieben teilnehmenden Schweizer Hochschulen in gemischten Teams bearbeitet werden. Die Resultate werden in einer umfassenden Publikation, Artikeln in internationalen Fachzeitschriften und auf der Projektwebsite, sowie im Rahmen einer internationalen Konferenz und einer gemeinsamen Ringvorlesung veröffentlicht.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Das Projekt unterstützt die Entwicklung von Grafikdesigngeschichte als Forschungsfeld in der Schweiz und macht diesen Diskurs für Forscher/innen und Grafikdesigner/innen im In- und Ausland zugänglich. In einem weiteren gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhang trägt dieses Projekt zu einem besseren Verständnis von Grafikdesign als sozialer und kultureller Praxis bei und erforscht seine Wirkung auf die Konstruktion nationaler Identitäten. Zusätzliche Relevanz erhalten die erwarteten Resultate im Hinblick auf die Kandidatur von «Schweizer Grafikdesign und Typografie» für die Repräsentative Liste des immateriellen Kulturerbes der Menschheit der UNESCO in den kommenden Jahren.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 02.05.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
"Wie lang soll's in der Graphik noch so gehen?" Die Grafik-Ausbildung in Basel im Spiegel kritischer Auseinandersetzung
Bischler Sandra (2018), "Wie lang soll's in der Graphik noch so gehen?" Die Grafik-Ausbildung in Basel im Spiegel kritischer Auseinandersetzung, in Schwer Thilo, Gronert Siegfried (ed.), avedition GmbH, Stuttgart, 111-119.
Casting the Net: Early Career Projects and Network Creation
BerthodJonas (2018), Casting the Net: Early Career Projects and Network Creation, in Back to the Future [ICDHS 10th+1 Conference] Proceedings, BarcelonaEdicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona.
Kollektive Fotografik – Das Basler Atelier Eidenbenz
BischlerSandra (2018), Kollektive Fotografik – Das Basler Atelier Eidenbenz, in Eisold Norbert, Pohlmann Norbert (ed.), Bibliothek Forum Gestaltung, Magdeburg, 80-103.
Kriterien in der Grafik-Ausbildung in der Schweiz. Geschmacksbildung, Handbücher und Entwurfsmethoden
KleinSarah (2018), Kriterien in der Grafik-Ausbildung in der Schweiz. Geschmacksbildung, Handbücher und Entwurfsmethoden, in Schwer Thilo, Gronert Siegfried (ed.), avedition GmbH, Stuttgart, 101-109.
Minimal, Tradition. On Writing, Reading and Paperbacks
Früh Roland (2018), Minimal, Tradition. On Writing, Reading and Paperbacks, in Vasquez Adrien, Daly Wayne (ed.), Precinct, London, 9-13.
Printed Matter: The Formal Identity of a Local Institution for Contemporary Art in an International Network
FrühRoland, KaufmannUeli, ZellerSara, SchneemannPeter (2018), Printed Matter: The Formal Identity of a Local Institution for Contemporary Art in an International Network, in Schneemann Peter (ed.), jrp ringier, Zürich, 139-154.
Teaching Type. An introduction to type design training in Switzerland between 1920 and 2016.
KleinSarah (2018), Teaching Type. An introduction to type design training in Switzerland between 1920 and 2016., in Koivu Anniina (ed.), écal, Renens, 105-113.
Temperaturmessung
FrühRoland (2018), Temperaturmessung, in Klein Sarah, Rappo François (ed.), Triest, Zürich, 22-25.
Papierkrieg: Flugblätter, Pamphlete, Artefakte
Lzicar Robert, Fischbacher Roland (2017), Papierkrieg: Flugblätter, Pamphlete, Artefakte, in Lerch Silvan, Bichsel Peter K. (ed.), Limmat, Zürich, 177-184.
Schweizer Plakatkunst
Renner Michael (2017), Schweizer Plakatkunst, in SIKART Lexikon zur Kunst in der Schweiz, http://www.
World Wide Willisau – Perspektiven auf Niklaus Troxlers internationalen Erfolg
Zeller Sara (2017), World Wide Willisau – Perspektiven auf Niklaus Troxlers internationalen Erfolg, in Museum Folkwang (ed.), Steidl, Göttingen, 9-15.
Swiss Style, Made in Italy: Graphic Design across the Border
Fornari Davide (2016), Swiss Style, Made in Italy: Graphic Design across the Border, in Robert Lzicar Davide Fornari (ed.), Triest Verlag, Zürich, 152-180.
The Last Fifty Years of Graphic Design in Western Switzerland. (1964–2014): A Status Report
Delamadeleine Constance (2016), The Last Fifty Years of Graphic Design in Western Switzerland. (1964–2014): A Status Report, in Lzicar Robert, Fornari Davide (ed.), Triest Verlag, Zürich, 122-135.
Designed Histories: Visual Historiography and Canonization in Swiss Graphic Design History.
Lzicar Robert, Unger Amanda (2016), Designed Histories: Visual Historiography and Canonization in Swiss Graphic Design History., in Lzicar Robert, Fornari Davide (ed.), Triest Verlag, Zürich, 249-276.
Exporting Swissness: Swiss Traditions and Visual Stereotypes in Contemporary Graphic Design
Lzicar Robert (2016), Exporting Swissness: Swiss Traditions and Visual Stereotypes in Contemporary Graphic Design, in The 10th Conference of the International Committee for Design History & Design Studies, TaipeiBlucher, São Paulo.
Kennzahlen. Das Handling als Leistungsausweis von Kunst und Institution
Schneemann Peter J. (2016), Kennzahlen. Das Handling als Leistungsausweis von Kunst und Institution, in Lucie Kolb (ed.), JRP Ringier, Zürich, 4-6.
Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland
Fornari Davide, Lzicar Robert (ed.) (2016), Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland, Triest Verlag, Zürich.
Walter Ballmer: Designing Networks Between Switzerland and Italy
Fornari Davide (2016), Walter Ballmer: Designing Networks Between Switzerland and Italy, in The 10th Conference of the International Committee for Design History & Design Studies, TaipeiBlucher, São Paulo.
„Wie lang soll's in der Graphik noch so gehen?“ Die Entwicklung der Grafik-Ausbildung in Basel im Spiegel kritischer Auseinandersetzung
Bischler Sandra, „Wie lang soll's in der Graphik noch so gehen?“ Die Entwicklung der Grafik-Ausbildung in Basel im Spiegel kritischer Auseinandersetzung, in X, Hochschule für Gestaltung OffenbachAVEdition, Stuttgart.
Casting the Net: Early Career Projects and Network Creation
Berthod Jonas, Casting the Net: Early Career Projects and Network Creation, in Back to the Future [ICDHS 10th+1 Conference] Proceedings, BarcelonaEdicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona.
Curating Spaces – Evoking Sites, Narratives and Processes
Schneemann Peter J., Curating Spaces – Evoking Sites, Narratives and Processes, in von Bismarck Beatrice (ed.), Publisher XY, Berlin, XX-XX.
Hermann Eidenbenz' Grafikunterricht. Dokumente 1926–1955.
KleinSarah, FrühRoland, RappoFrançois, Hermann Eidenbenz' Grafikunterricht. Dokumente 1926–1955., Triest, Zürich.
Hermann Eidenbenz Teaching Graphic Design. Documents 1926–1955.
Klein Sarah, Früh Roland, Rappo François, Hermann Eidenbenz Teaching Graphic Design. Documents 1926–1955., Triest, Zürich.
Kriterien im Grafikdesign-Unterricht. Geschmackserziehung, Rezepte und Entwurfsmethoden
Klein Sarah, Kriterien im Grafikdesign-Unterricht. Geschmackserziehung, Rezepte und Entwurfsmethoden, in X, Hochschule fur Gestaltung OffenbachAVEdition, Stuttgart.
The 2002 Relaunch of the Swiss Design Awards: Key Changes and their Influence on Designers’ Careers and Networks
Berthod Jonas, The 2002 Relaunch of the Swiss Design Awards: Key Changes and their Influence on Designers’ Careers and Networks, in Beiträge der Graduate School of the Arts, Volume 2, BernGraduate School of the Arts, Bern.
The Business Face of Swiss Graphic Design: the Case of Studio Hollenstein (1957-1974)
Delamadeleine Constance, The Business Face of Swiss Graphic Design: the Case of Studio Hollenstein (1957-1974), in Back to the Future [ICDHS 10th+1 Conference] Proceedings, BarcelonaEdicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona.
Uncovering and Questioning Unidesign: Archival Research and Oral History at Work
Barbieri Chiara, Fornari Davide, Uncovering and Questioning Unidesign: Archival Research and Oral History at Work, in Back to the Future [ICDHS 10th+1 Conference] Proceedings, BarcelonaEdicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Center for the documentation of graphic design CDPG AIAP Italy (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Kommunikationsdesign, HTWG Konstanz Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Federal Office of Culture Switzerland (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Archiv ZHdK Switzerland (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Swiss Graphic Design Foundation Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Expert Panel (see annex) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
ICDHS 10th+1 BARCELONA 2018, Back to the future Individual talk The Business Face of Swiss Graphic Design: the Case of Studio Hollenstein (1957-1974) 29.10.2018 Barcelona, Spain Delamadeleine Constanze;
ICDHS 10th+1 BARCELONA 2018, Back to the future Individual talk Casting the Net: Early Career Projects and Network Creation 29.10.2018 Barcelona, Spain Berthod Jonas;
ICDHS 10th+1 BARCELONA 2018, Back to the future Individual talk Uncovering and Questioning Unidesign: Archival Research and Oral History at Work 29.10.2018 Barcelona, Spain Barbieri Chiara; Fornari Davide;
Design and Displacement, Design History Society, Annual Conference Talk given at a conference Swiss Graphic Design: A British Invention? 06.09.2018 New York, United States of America Kaufmann Ueli; Lzicar Robert; Früh Roland; Zeller Sara;
It wasn’t written: International Symposium of Designerly-Ways of Historiography Talk given at a conference Introduction 05.09.2018 New York, United States of America Lzicar Robert;
SGDTR Experts’ Panel Meeting Individual talk Continuities and Revolutions: the Rationale of Swiss Graphic Designers’ Histories 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Kaufmann Ueli;
SGDTR Experts’ Panel Meeting Individual talk The Business ‘Face’ of Swiss Graphic Design: the Case of Studio Hollenstein (1957 – 1974) 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Delamadeleine Constanze;
SGDTR Experts’ Panel Meeting Individual talk The Student Magazine ‘K’ (1963–1964) as a Case Study 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Bischler Sandra;
SGDTR Experts’ Panel Meeting Individual talk Graphic Design Education in ‘Typografische Monatsblätter’, 1933–1950 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Klein Sarah;
SGDTR Experts’ Panel Meeting Individual talk The Best Posters of the Year: Creating Jobs, Promoting the Economy or Representing 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Zeller Sara;
SGDTR Experts’ Panel Meeting Individual talk Swissness: National Identity in the Making 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Früh Roland;
SGDTR Experts’ Panel Meeting Individual talk Changes in the Role of Swiss Graphic Designers’ Self-Promotion 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Berthod Jonas;
SGDTR Experts’ Panel Meeting Individual talk Internal and External Influences on Education in Graphic Design at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zurich During the Mid-Twentieth Century 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Niedermann Jonas;
SGDTR Experts’ Panel Meeting Individual talk Unidesign and Walter Ballmer: the Monograph as a Provocative Tool to Map Design Networks and Deconstruct Canons 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Fornari Davide; Barbieri Chiara;
Netzwerk Designgeschichte Schweiz (NDG), Meeting Individual talk An inclusive approach to Design History 30.11.2017 Bern, Switzerland Lzicar Robert; Fornari Davide;
“International Design Organisations: Histories Legacies Values” Talk given at a conference The poor relatives of industrial design: Shaping Italian graphic designers’ identity between national and international design organisation in the 1960s” 09.11.2017 Brighton, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Barbieri Chiara;
“International Design Organisations: Histories Legacies Values” Talk given at a conference The exhibition as a tool – Design association’s influence on the international perception of ‚Swiss Graphic Design’ 09.11.2017 Brighton, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Zeller Sara;
Making Trans/National Contemporary Design History [=ICDHS 2016 – 10th Conference of the International Committee for Design History & Design Studies]. Talk given at a conference Migrating Method: Eidenbenz’ Early Systematic Course in Lettering 26.10.2017 National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan Klein Sarah;
17. Kolloquium »Design promoviert« Talk given at a conference Swiss Graphic Design at the Turn of the 21st Century: Practices, Styles and Attitudes 01.07.2017 ZHdK, Zürich, Switzerland Berthod Jonas;
Typomatinée Individual talk Communication is not enough! 27.06.2017 Hochschule für Künste Bremen, Germany Lzicar Robert;
Vortragsreihe »connect – disconnect« Individual talk Look Back to Move Forward 20.06.2017 Gasteig, München, Germany Lzicar Robert;
3. GSA-Forschungstag Talk given at a conference Von A bis Ghayn – Transkulturelle Ansätze im Schriftgestaltungskurs von Hans-Jürg Hunziker in Rabat, Marokko (1981) 01.06.2017 Universität Bern, Switzerland Kaufmann Ueli;
Designing Writing Talk given at a conference Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland 01.06.2017 ECAL, Lausanne, Switzerland Lzicar Robert; Fornari Davide;
GfDg Jahreskonferenz Talk given at a conference Principles of Education – ein Arbeitsbericht 19.05.2017 Offenbach, Germany Klein Sarah; Bischler Sandra;
Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft fur Designgeschichte e.V. Talk given at a conference Principles of Education – ein Arbeitsbericht 19.05.2017 Hochschule fur Gestaltung Offenbach, Germany Bischler Sandra; Klein Sarah;
Phil.-hist. Forschungstag 2017 Poster Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited. A contribution to still-in-the-making Swiss design history and new perspectives on almost mythological aspects of it. 08.05.2017 Universität Bern, Switzerland Lzicar Robert; Kaufmann Ueli; Zeller Sara; Berthod Jonas;
Limitations / Talk 1 Talk given at a conference Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland 21.02.2017 IDEPE, Warsaw, Poland Lzicar Robert;
Talk Individual talk Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland 14.02.2017 The Yale University School of Art, New Haven, United States of America Lzicar Robert; Fornari Davide;
Design Research Methods Festival 2016 Talk given at a conference Sampling the Past – Understanding the Present 15.11.2016 Hochschule der Künste Bern HKB, MA Design, Switzerland Kaufmann Ueli;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
SGDTR Experts' Panel Meeting 2018 03.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland
Focus on historiography and rhetoric 10.03.2017 Bern, Switzerland
Expert’s panel meeting 10.02.2017 Bern University of the Arts HKB, Switzerland
SGDTR Kick-Off Day 06.10.2016 Bern, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Weltformat Graphic Design Festival Talk 30.09.2018 Lucerne, Switzerland Lzicar Robert;
Autonomie auf A4 - Wie die Zürcher Jugendbewegung Zeichen setzte. Flugblätter 1979–82 Talk 06.06.2018 Bern, Switzerland Lzicar Robert;
PhD intermediary results Talk 22.05.2018 Caldas da Rainha, Portugal Delamadeleine Constanze;
World Wide Willisau – Retrospektive Niklaus Troxler Talk 11.10.2017 Sankturbanhof Sursee, Switzerland Kaufmann Ueli;
Milch–Lait–Latte Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 22.09.2017 HEAD – Genève, Haute école d'art et de design, Switzerland Früh Roland; Lzicar Robert; Kaufmann Ueli; Zeller Sara;
World Wide Willisau – Retrospektive Niklaus Troxler Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 20.08.2017 Sankturbanhof Sursee, Switzerland Zeller Sara;
Book Launch “Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland” Talk 15.02.2017 New York City, United States of America Lzicar Robert; Fornari Davide;
Werbung konkret Talk 08.12.2016 Literaturhaus Zürich, Switzerland Lzicar Robert;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
My Own Private Swiss Graphic Design History 06.07.2018 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland
My Own Private Swiss Graphic Design History 09.06.2018 Bern, Switzerland
Book Launch “Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland” 02.02.2017 Corner College, Zürich, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Le design graphique bientot a l'UNESCO? 20 minutes Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Le design graphique bientôt à l'UNESCO? Tribune de Genève Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Le design graphique suisse dans le viseur de la recherche swissinfo Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Schweizer Grafikdesign im Fokus der Forschung SDA-Schweizerische Depeschenagentur German-speaking Switzerland 2016

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
140367 100 Jahre Schweizerischer Werkbund 1913-2013 01.04.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
152987 Photographie et exposition en Suisse, 1920-1970 01.01.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)
112560 Corporate Diversity - Schweizer Grafik und Werbung für Geigy 1940-1970 01.05.2006 Project funding (Div. I-III)
136848 Wolfgang Weingart - Typografie im Kontext. Untersuchungen zu Tradition, Medienumbrüchen und Innovation im Werk von Wolfgang Weingart 1961-2004 01.04.2012 DORE project funding
116221 Visuelle Rhetorik in der Gebrauchsgrafik 01.08.2007 DORE project funding

Abstract

In graphic design history, the terms “Swiss graphic design”, “Swiss typography” or “Swiss style” regularly denote an international style that can be applied to a variety of media such as posters, books, corporate identities or signage systems. This style emerged in Switzerland during the 1950s, was used by graphic designers in Switzerland and many other Western countries, and gained an excellent reputation worldwide. Its appointment as one of eight Swiss Candidatures proposed to the UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014 confirms this. Yet “Swiss graphic design and typography” has not yet come to an end, as it is still discussed in classrooms, studios, exhibition spaces and publications. Even more, it is still being made and has recently been claimed to be “one of the country’s leading products” (Gimmi 2014, 9). The label “Swiss graphic design and typography” thus oscillates between a closed mythology and a history still in the making. As the term originated in Switzerland as well as abroad, it is the result of a broad body of works, of multiple stories and explanations about its nature and history, as of today’s graphic design practice. But how did “Swiss graphic design and typography” achieve its on-going legitimacy, reputation and status? Is the attribution of a national label to various design approaches obscured from the vantage point of the present? What might be a contemporary definition of “Swiss graphic design and typography”? This analysis of the label as well as of objects and actors of “Swiss graphic design and typography” aims for the first time to identify formative networks, practices and media that determine this discourse.As graphic design in Switzerland lacks an academic institutionalised practice, its histories have traditionally been written by graphic designers and thus most contributions do not originate in scholarly discussion. By contrast, design history in other countries has established itself as a fully-fledged academic discipline over the last few years. The aim of this study is to contribute to this international scholarly discourse on graphic design historiography. It involves six PhD projects (three of them supervised at the Graduate School of the Arts of the Faculty of Philosophy and History of the University of Bern and of the Bern University of the Arts) and thereby lays a foundation to establish graphic design history as a professional, academic field in Switzerland.This three-year research project examines the development of “Swiss graphic design and typography” during the 20th century. It does so in three sub-projects. A: Principles of Education, B: Networks of Practice and C: Strategies of Dissemination. In order to use effectively the different areas of expertise of those involved, the three sub-projects (with three case studies each) will be led by mixed groups of experts from all seven participating universities. The first sub-project A: Principles of Education, focuses on the education of graphic designers in Switzerland by analysing curricula, teaching materials and results, literature by and on teachers and teaching methods as well as interviews. Instead of singling out individual designers, the second sub-project B: Networks of Practice analyses graphic design as a social practice produced by networks of people, institutions, associations, objects and ideas, with a focus on their migration beyond national and linguistic boundaries. Finally, the third sub-project C: Strategies of Dissemination deals with the textual content of professional journals, history books and exhibitions, as well as with their structural and visual design as instruments of historiography and, at the same time, as predominant forms for the production and dissemination of “Swiss graphic design and typography” itself. This study will culminate in a comprehensive publication with contributions from all three sub-projects, a travelling exhibition and six PhD theses that will be published independently after the completion of the project.
-