Design Inspiration: The International Style

Josef Muller Brockmann, Zurich Opera House poster, 1968
Rodo Abad, Helvetica is Art poster, 2008

The International Style, also known as Swiss Style, is a formulaic, simple and visually pleasing form of graphic design that has been used Internationally since it’s inception in 1950’s Switzerland. The goal of the Swiss Style was to create an internationally understood form of design that doesn’t leave any room for bias or misconceptions. This was a time where international trade was rising, henceforth the importance of these non-propagandist designs were more crucial than ever to be able to communicate effectively. Whether the design is asymmetrical or linear, it follows a grid. There are formulas to the process that have been perfected and are religiously followed, which are easy to distinguish in this movement.

Josef Muller Brockmann effectively communicates in the Zurich Opera House poster all of the important details about the event without any construed/distracting info. Rodo Abad, 40 years later, critiques the Swiss Style and makes basically the same poster as Brockmann, (since there is a formula to follow it is very easy to compare the two), and declares that anything written in Helvetica is art. The formula is a work of art and I have to agree with Rodo Abad, even though he is kidding. He is critiquing that the entire movement all looks the same, and that it leaves no room for creativity.

In conclusion, Rodo Abad takes inspiration from Brockmann and the entire Swiss Style movement to critique and mock the entire style for being too constructed.

 

Works cited

“http://www.printmag.com/typography/swiss-style-principles-typefaces-designers/”

“https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Typographic_Style”

“http://www.designishistory.com/home/swiss/”