Swiss Graphic Design Histories

Swiss Graphic Design Histories

Swiss graphic design: new perspectives on the history of an internationally acclaimed discipline




Edited by Davide Fornari, Robert Lzicar, Sarah Owens, Michael Renner, Arne Scheuermann and Peter J. Schneemann

1st edition

, 2021

Text in English

3 volumes and additional booklet

Paperback in slipcase

688 pages, 104 color and 159 b/w illustrations

17 x 24 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-868-3


Swiss Graphic Design Histories offers an entirely new redefinition of Switzerland’s graphic design landscape. Based on extensive research by scholars of design history and with a multiple and inclusive approach, it reaches beyond the usual canon and the well-known epicenters Basel and Zurich with the Germanophone fathers of what has become famous as the Swiss Style in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

In three volumes it features visual artefacts and archival documents, the majority published here for the first time, alongside likewise previously unpublished conversations with designers who have forged developments of the past decades, as well as new essays discussing key terms that refer to various design practices. The complexity of the undertaking is embraced through a system of keywords, thus enabling readers to connect contents within the individual volumes. A fourth volume comprising a glossary, bibliography, and an index of the keywords rounds out this long-awaited new survey of graphic design in multi-lingual Switzerland that sheds new light at networks, practices and media largely ignored so far.


Named one of the Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2021.

Designed by Naima Schalcher and Simone Farner.


With contributions by Chiara Barbieri, Rudolf Barmettler, Jonas Berthod, Sandra Bischler, Constance Delamadeleine, Davide Fornari, Roland Früh, Ueli Kaufmann, Sarah Klein, Robert Lzicar, Jonas Niedermann, Sarah Owens, Michael Renner, Peter J. Schneemann, Arne Scheuermann, and Sara Zeller


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Available also in Open Acces Format:

Volume 1: Visual Arguments (ISBN 978-3-03942-019-3)
Edited by Sandra Bischler, Sarah Klein, Jonas Niedermann, Michael Renner


A Visual Approach to the History of Swiss Graphic Design and Typography [Sandra Bischler, Sarah Klein, Jonas Niedermann, Rudolf Barmettler, Michael Renner]
Advertisements [Ueli Kaufmann, Sara Zeller]
Reproductions [Sandra Bischler, Sarah Klein]
Corporate Printed Matter [Chiara Barbieri, Davide Fornari]
Entrance Exam Concept [Sarah Klein]
Installation View [Sara Zeller]
Student Work [Sandra Bischler]
Chronological Diagram [Roland Früh, Ueli Kaufmann]
Type Catalog [Constance Delamadeleine]
Legal Documents [Rudolf Barmettler,Jonas Niedermann]
Award Catalogs [Jonas Berthod]
Mixed Lots [Ueli Kaufmann]
Letter of Correspondence [Sandra Bischler]
Press Photos [Roland Früh]
Basic Exercises [Sarah Klein]
Evening Course Documents [Constance Delamadeleine]
Designer Portraits [Roland Früh]
Student Magazines [Sandra Bischler]
Timetables [Rudolf Barmettler, Jonas Niedermann]
Blogpost [Roland Früh]
Type Training Documents [Sarah Klein]
Christmas Cards [Constance Delamadeleine]
Teaching Materials [Sandra Bischler]
Exhibition Designs [Sara Zeller]
Handwriting Instructions [Ueli Kaufmann]
Portfolio [Chiara Barbieri, Davide Fornari]


Volume 2: Multiple Voices (ISBN 978-3-03942-020-9)
Edited by Chiara Barbieri, Jonas Berthod, Constance Delamadeleine, Davide Fornari, Sarah Owens


Figures of Speech [Chiara Barbieri, Jonas Berthod, Constance Delamadeleine, Davide Fornari, Sarah Owens]
Associations [Chiara Barbieri]
Awards [Jonas Berthod]
Careers [Jonas Berthod]
Clients [Chiara Barbieri]
Collaboration [Jonas Berthod]
Gender [Chiara Barbieri]
Location [Constance Delamadeleine]
Studio [Jonas Berthod]
Swiss Made [Constance Delamadeleine]
Training [Chiara Barbieri]
Typography [Constance Delamadeleine]


Volume 3: Tempting Terms (ISBN 978-3-03942-021-6)
Edited by Ueli Kaufmann, Peter J. Schneemann, Sara Zeller


Reading between the Lines of Swiss Graphic Design History
[Roland Früh, Ueli Kaufmann, Peter J. Schneemann, Sara Zeller]
Cave Paintings—Continuities and Progress in Graphic Designers’ Histories [Ueli Kaufmann]
Die besten Plakate / Les meilleures affiches—The Early Years of the National Poster Award, between Federal Support and Stylistic Authority [Sara Zeller]
Hotspot Milan—The Perks of Working on the Other Side of the Alps
[Chiara Barbieri, Davide Fornari]
Iconophile—Debating the Role of the Poster Collector Fred Schneckenburger in the Historiography of Swiss Graphic Design [Sara Zeller]
In eigener Sache—Editorial Statements Addressing the Readership
[Roland Früh]
Kunsthalle Bern—Graphic Design in the Context of an Institution for Contemporary Art
[Roland Früh, Ueli Kaufmann, Peter J. Schneemann, Sara Zeller]
Lehni Frame—Implications of Displaying Graphic Design [Sara Zeller]
Netzwerke / Réseaux/ Networks—A Relaunch to Reposition Federal Design Promotion [Jonas Berthod]
Neue Schweizer Schulschrift—Tracing Exchanges between Modernist Typography and Swiss Handwriting [Ueli Kaufmann]
Popular Culture—How the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich Promoted the Everyday in Graphic Design [Robert Lzicar]
Schweizer Graphik—Curating Switzerland as a Graphic Design Nation in 1925 [Roland Früh, Ueli Kaufmann, Robert Lzicar, Sara Zeller]
SonderstellungDebating the Status of Graphic Design Education at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich [Rudolf Barmettler, Jonas Niedermann]
The Basel School—Deconstructing Labels of Swiss Graphic Design Education [Sarah Klein, Sandra Bischler]
Unfamiliar Writing Forms— Instances of Various Scripts in Swiss Graphic Designers’ Publications [Ueli Kaufmann]
Visualiste—Defining a New Job Title within Graphic Design in France [Constance Delamadeleine]
Weltformat—Setting (Swiss) Display Aesthetics for Posters [Sara Zeller]


Reference Booklet

Autoren & Herausgeber

Davide Fornari

 is associate professor at ECAL Lausanne, where he directs Research and Development.

Robert Lzicar

 is professor of design history at Bern University of the Arts HKB.

Sarah Owens

 is professor of design theory at Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK, where she also directs the graduate program in Visual Communication.

Michael Renner

 is professor of visual communication and Director ad interim at FHNW’s Academy of Art and Design in Basel.

Arne Scheuermann

 is professor of design theory at Bern University of the Arts HKB.

Peter J. Schneemann

 (*1964), Kunsthistoriker und Ordinarius für Kunstgeschichte der Gegenwart an der Universität Bern.


Hier klicken, um das Gespräch mit Robert Lzicar auf SRF2Kultur nachzuhören.


«Ganz gross im Detail: ein facettenreiches Kompendium», Karin Gimmi, Neue Zürcher Zeitung