What would a graphic design sound like?
International Typography Style, as popularly known as Swiss Style, is an all-out design movement that would have a far-reaching impact on graphic design in the 20th century. Originated by Ernst Keller in 1918, Swiss Style has been received, improved, and publicised by designers such as Theo Ballmer, Max Bill, and Max Huber for over three decades. By the 1950s, it has become one of the most dominating design styles globally. Then the Style would remain at its leading position throughout the mid-20th century and influence many design styles formed in the future, which formed the graphic design field people have today.
Among the artists who had contributed to the Swiss Style in the 1950s, Josef Müller Brockmann is considered by the public as one of the central figures and leaders of this movement. He was the founder and editor of Neue Grafik, which was a Zunich published journal that introduced the style to the community in the United States. He focused on arranging typographic and pictorial elements distinctively, in order to bring the clear identification of priorities to the viewers. He carefully measured balance, harmony, and proportions in his designing process, many widely-celebrated works were created under these rules.
Josef Müller Brockmann, The Beethoven Poster, 1955
This is one of Josef’s most well-known pieces from the International Typography Movement. Its clean typography, simple designs, and distinctive geometric shapes marked his world-famous style. Josef placed texts asymmetrically at the bottom left of the composition, which are surrounded by carefully placed arcs. The use of simple black and white palette had created a distinct contrast between the arcs and its negative space, which had achieved a great sense of discipline.
Personally, I can definitely intergrade this visual into sounds, a part of a dramatic but yet harmonized orchestra track. Arcs in different volumes, positions, and angles are just like the music comes from different kinds of instruments. They are distinctive from each other, each kind has a characteristic that cannot be replaced by others. But when you regard them as a unified whole and organize them into a specific order, you will get a highly harmonized piece when each part plays as an unreplaceable component. This dramatic process is sensationally influential, shocking, and pleasing. Observing this poster, you can almost hear the sumptuous orchestra band playing an endless music in your mind.
Jennifer Whitehead, “Beethoven poster by Josef Muller-Brockmann.” Medium.com, Oct 19, 2017. https://medium.com/fgd1-the-archive/beethoven-poster-by-josef-muller-brockmann-ce06940edf74
Guity Novin, “A History of Graphic Design: the Online Textbook.” Blogspot.ca. http://guity-novin.blogspot.ca/
Tony Seddon, “The International Typographic Style: A Brief History.” Howdesign.com, May 7, 2015. http://www.howdesign.com/featured/international-typographic-style-brief-history/