Commercial Advertising of the 50s and 60s in Switzerland

In the 50s and 60s, the initially hyperrealist graphic designers Hans Aeschbach, Herbert Leupin and Donald Brun invoked the style of the late 20s with the posters they created for mostly Basel-based businesses. Their poster designs are characterised by simple, representational image narratives with frequently humorous contents, memorable figures and strong colour contrasts.

A very different trend in Swiss poster history is the “Neue Grafik” (“new graphic design”) or “Swiss Style” shaped by the constructivist designers who renounce figurative representation completely. Among them are, firstly, Ernst Keller, then Josef Müller-Brockmann, Richard Paul Lohse, Max Bill, Carlo Vivarelli, Hans Neuburg and their followers Armin Hofmann, Jörg Hamburger, Siegfried Odermatt and Rosemarie Tissi.

The working group of the two Zurich graphic designers Rosemarie Tissi and Siegfried Odermatt brought forth intelligent, subtly formal and typographically compelling works. Most of their posters are conceptually original, with striking font choice but always formally persuasive – sometimes abstract and sometimes light and playful.

All of these graphic designers have made a lasting and stimulating impression on Swiss graphic design. They all represent a strict style: simple basic shapes, deliberate composition and an architectural feeling for form, which put Swiss commercial art on the map internationally.

Vintage posters from our selection