leading practitioner
and theorist of the
swiss style
9.May 1914 - 30.August 1996

how it began

born on 9.May 1914 müller-brockmann grew up in rapperswil switzerland he attended the prestigious schools to study architect art and design including university of zurich and the city’s kunstgewerbeschule

his first step toward a professional career was his apprenticeship to walter diggleman the designer and advertising consultant

in 1936, he opened his own zurich studio which specialised in photography, graphics and exhibition design and over two decades he established his position as the country’s leading practitioner and theorist of swiss style

1957 - 1960
professor of graphic design at zurich
1958 - 1965
co-editor & founder of journal, neue grafik
guest lecturer at the university of osaka
guest lecturer at the hochschule furgestaltung, ulm
european design consultant for IBM
Muller-Brockmann teaching
Muller-Brockmann in IBM meetingMuller-Brockmann in his studio
his design sense of the 1950s aimed to create posters which communicated with the masses 

it was the harmony and simplicity of these pieces that influenced a post-war world that had lost the sense of central nationalism and gained a lesson in the need for globalisation

müller-brockmann was soon 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

his visual ability, manifested in poster work and books, gave dramatic beauty to the reductive principles behind international style

Beethoven poster

reduction of content can make all the difference in the outcome of a design

he opposed the combining of different type families or even different forms of the same family and the type area should be as compact as possible

these views went from being essentially swiss-based to being discussed and followed worldwide. this was partly due to the movement of influential designers around europe and the united states but also to the promotion of these principles in the magazine neue grafik, launched in 1959

the grid system is an aid, not a guarantee

müller-brockmann co-founded the trilingual journal neue grafik with h. neuburg, r.p. lohse and c. vivarelli and remained its co-editor from 1958 to 1965. the journal focused on the swiss design and its publication for international readers

in an article published by marcus kraft on, he states that “in the magazine they published their game-changing theories about design and influenced the progress of the swiss style with the publication’s innovative layout”

kraft continues on to say that “from a historical point of view, neue grafik can be seen as a programmatic platform and effective publishing organ of swiss graphic design”

Neue Grafik Magazine Vol 1
Neue Grafik Magazine internal spreadNeue Grafik Magazine internal spread
he claimed that the white reverse sides of his posters were his best work 

müller-brockmann was asked about his inclination toward systematic order in designing given he advocated objective and radically minimalist geometric design and was the one who invented grid system for graphic design

in response, he explained that finding order in everything is rather a wishful thinking on his part. however, he always aspired to attain a distinct arrangement of typographic and pictorial elements. he claimed that the white reverse sides of his posters were his best work

in his work he aspired to communicate information about an idea, event or product as vividly as possible. in fact, his work is not intended to make a timeless statement but rather to invite his audience to form their own opinion on the subject

still inspiring the graphic designers of current generation he passed away on august 30, 1996