Tag Archives: graphic design

Josef Müller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss graphic design.

All of my designer readers most likely carry on a rather intimate relationship with Josef Müller-Brockmann. But, for those of you who aren’t so lucky, allow me to make the necessary introductions. Born in Rapperswil, Switzerland in 1914, Müller-Brockmann would later go on to become known as the Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design. As explained in Eye Magazine:

By the 1950s [Müller-Brockmann] was established as the leading practitioner and theorist of the Swiss Style, which sought a universal graphic expression through a grid-based design purged of extraneous illustration and subjective feeling.

JM-B did an interview with Eye Magazine for their Winter 1995 issue,  just one year prior to his passing. In the interview, the innovative Swiss designer was asked what order meant to him:

Order was always wishful thinking for me. For 60 years I have produced disorder in files, correspondence and books. In my work, however, I have always aspired to a distinct arrangement of typographic and pictorial elements, the clear identification of priorities. The formal organisation of the surface by means of the grid, a knowledge of the rules that govern legibility (line length, word and letter spacing and so on) and the meaningful use of colour are among the tools a designer must master in order to complete his or her task in a rational and economic manner.

The grid, the prioritization and arrangement of typographic and pictorial elements, the meaningful use of color… Observe the Swiss mastery below:

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Vintage designs for Olivetti

I am definitely digging these vibrant vintage designs that I found over at Ninonbooks, which were created for Olivetti typewriter and calculator ads in the 1950s and ’60s.

Aren’t they great? I kind of want to own every single one of those machines, please. More HERE.

Book Worship

The other day, I was introduced to Book Worship via a Tweet by the fabulous BibliOdyssey, whom you should all follow if you do not already. That’s not an order, but it should be. Anyway, Book Worship is awesome and, as you might expect from the not-so-subtle title, it serves as a virtual church for all of us book worshipers to go forth and bow down to the gods of beautifully bound text. Especially beautifully bound texts with kick-butt cover designs.

Shawn Hazen clarifies his motivations in the “About” section of his site:

While I certainly cherish “valuable” books, that’s not necessarily what you’ll see here. For the most part, these are graphically interesting, but otherwise uncollectible, books that entered and exited bookstores quietly in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I read most of these books, but my motivations for posting them here are primarily visual, since I’m a graphic designer. That’s why it’ll be a bit of a mixed bag.

Some of my favorite (recent) contents of his “mixed bag”:

I was so geekily psyched to see the R.D. Laing text (above) because I actually just ordered a used copy via Amazon (it’s one of the secondary texts in the course I teach). NICE. But anyway… you probably don’t care about that. But what you SHOULD care about are how great these cover designs are and how awesome Shawn Hazen is for compiling them and presenting them to the worshipping public in such a lovely way.

Worship books HERE.

Follow Shawn Hazen on Twitter HERE.

Vintage Italian graphic designs

From laura@popdesign’s Flickr set:

Pan Tu Nie Stał

Pan tu nie stał, meaning You Were Not Standing Here, is a Polish design blog created by sociologist Justyna Burzyńska and graphic designer Maciej Lebiedowicz, who are heavily inspired by vintage Polish designs from the 1930s onward. But that’s not all: they also have a shop by the same name, which features clothing, home decor, accessories, and paper products. Oh, and did I mention that they ROCK?

Just look:

All of the beautifully vibrant and inspiring images above are borrowed from their blog, which you can access (along with their shop) HERE.

French Friday #2: I Have a Print!

Just discovered the lovely blog of graphic artist Sari Hod, which is called I Have a Print! An exclamation which, I think, demands to be declared using the intonation of MLK’s “I have a dream!” That’s how I hear it in my head, anyway.

But my point is, look at this:


Cute, huh? For more info on Sari and her lovely illustrations and designs, click over to her blog HERE.

Recent designs by Ed Nacional


Behold the brilliance of Ed Nacional, graphic designer and current summer design intern at The New York Times:










For more information about Ed Nacional and additional samples of his work, check out his website HERE.

French Friday: The Posters of Michel Bouvet

“Pour moi, une affiche est un peu comme une symphonie,
il faut que tous les instruments jouent ensemble.
Je suis un peu le chef d’orchestre d’un dispositif très complexe.”

Michel Bouvet is a world-renowned (and highly recognizable) graphic designer and poster artist whose bold and typographically intelligent designs frequently attract the attention of passersby, ultimately leading them to the museums, ballets, and operas for which the posters advertise.

The following description of Bouvet’s complex style and the history of French poster design is taken from a Polish Culture site that announced a 2005 exhibition of Bouvet’s works:

Michel Bouvet in his atelier (workshop)

Michel Bouvet in his atelier (workshop)

The French poster has a rich historical and artistic tradition. France is considered by some to have been the motherland of the poster, for it was there, towards the end of the 19th century, that a new means of artistic expression was born in the form of the creative poster.

Michel Bouvet is one of the dominant figures in the field of graphic design in France. He is perceived as the most ‘poster-driven’ of all French poster designers and is simultaneously one of the most active and versatile representatives of this community. For him, the poster has become a universal medium that allows him to react dynamically to reality in its cultural, social and political spheres.

Bouvet chose the broadly conceived sphere of culture as the subject of his art. His works consist above all of announcements of theatre productions and ballets, operas, concerts and museum events. His works are dominated by his desire to communicate effectively to audiences, consisting of imagery understandable to members of all generations. Bouvet consistently avoids all manner of fashions and novelties, searching instead for a simple, universal language that would constitute a kind of reasonable compromise between communication and aesthetics.

With equal facility, the artist employs painting, drawing, color and black-and-white photography, typography, collages and montages, juxtaposing these forms within single works and constantly seeking out new solutions and inspirations.

All images below (and the photo of Bouvet above) are taken from THIS SITE, which is a 2005 interview (in French) with Bouvet, in which he discusses 75 of his poster designs. Umm, I’m certainly not going to picture all 75 below, so I strongly encourage you to check out the interview. Tout de suite. 

Some of my favorite Bouvets:








Bouvet en gros-plan: