Swiss Graphic Design Histories

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


Available also in Open Access Format: Volume 1: Visual Arguments, Volume 2: Multiple Voices, Volume 3: Tempting Terms, Reference Booklet


Title Information

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

1st edition

, 2021

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visual artefacts and archival documents, the majority published here for the first time, alongside likewise previously unpublished conversations with designers who have forged developments of the past decades, as well as new essays discussing key terms that refer to various design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.

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


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

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

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

Reference Booklet


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


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 is professor of modern and contemporary art history at University of Bern.

Authors & Editors
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Instructional diagram to be mounted on classroom walls (with brass nails, according to Hulliger’s specification), Paul Hulliger, 1931. Taken from Hulliger 1931.

Vol. II / image 27 / page 88 Studio Hollenstein, women employees at the entrance of the studio in Paris, ca. 1960, photographer unknown. © Estate of Albert Hollenstein and Ville de Paris / Bibliothèque Forney (RES ICO 5515 08)

Poster for the exhibition Olivetti Innovates, held at the City Hall in Hong Kong, Oct. 19–25, 1966, Walter Ballmer and Anna Monika Jost (graphic design), 1966. © Estate of Walter Ballmer. Anna Monika Jost and Zürcher Hochschule der Künste / Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / Plakatsammlung, 70–1900

Photograph of Albert Hollenstein giving a class in the basement of the Studio, ca. 1965, photographer unknown. © Estate of Albert Hollenstein and Ville de Paris / Bibliothèque Forney (RES ICO 5515 08)

Lettering for F. Gygi + Co., Hans Hartmann. Taken from Haab & Hättenschweiler 1976 (1961)

Installation view, Anschläge : Plakatsprache Zürich 1978–1988, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Aug. 31–Oct. 23, 1988. © Zürcher Hochschule der Künste/Archiv ZHdK (GBA-1988-D11-200; ph. Francisco Carrascosa)

View of the second Studio Hollenstein, ca. 1960, photographer unknown. © Estate of Albert Hollenstein and Ville de Paris / Bibliothèque Forney (RES ICO 5515 14)

Silex, Silex 5, September 1996. © Anna Albisetti, Bastien Aubry, Dimitri Broquard, Dimitri Bruni, Manuel Krebs, Aude Lehmann.

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