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Though Muller-Brockman first presented hi interpretation of grid in , this .. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann is another “must. Design systems are more useful than ever—but formal grids don’t always — Josef Müller-Brockmann, Grid Systems in Graphic Design, Grid Systems In Graphic Design Josef Muller Brockmann.

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He began his career as an apprentice to the designer and advertising consultant Walter Diggelman before, inestablishing his own Zurich studio specialising in graphics, exhibition design and photography. By the s he was established as the leading practitioner and theorist of Swiss Style, which sought a universal graphic expression through a grid-based design purged of extraneous illustration and subjective feeling.

He was professor of graphic design at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Zurich from toand guest lecturer at the University of Osaka from and the Hochschule fur Gestaltung, Ulm from From he was European design consultant for IBM. In he was awarded a gold medal for his cultural contribution by the State of Zurich. You are the protagonist of the Swiss School and stand for objective, radically minimalist geometric design. You invented the grid system for graphic design and were the first systematically to outline the history of visual communication.

For Le Corbusier, order was the key to life. What does order mean to you? Order was always wishful thinking for me.

Grid Systems in Graphic Design: by Josef Müller-Brockmann – The Grid System

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 matter.

What do you regard as your best work? The white reverse sides of my posters!

What was your most creative period? My most creative period was in fact the worst because at that time my work was still illustrative. But this period of discovery and jksef eventually led to the rich productivity of my 40s. You were influenced by Carl Jung, but then lost interest. As a young man I was intrigued not only by psychology but also by graphology. When I met people who interested me I would read their handwriting and was rarely wrong in my judgements. But this gift began to disturb me, especially in my dealings with clients, where it would unnecessarily prejudice discussion.

A visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers and three dimensional designers

So I abandoned it overnight. Later I paid the price for giving up these analyses when I took on partners and employees whose handwriting would have given me an early warning of trouble borckmann.

What is the source of your efforts to clarify everything and aspire to what is eternally valid? Is it a protest against death, or a fear of brockmsnn behind the picture to the unconscious? The unconscious is part of the support structure: What I try to achieve in my work is to communicate information about an idea, event or product as clearly as possible.


Such a down-to-earth presentation is barely affected by present-day trends. But it is not so much a question of making a statement that will be valid for all time as of being able to communicate information to the recipient in a way that leaves him or her free to form a positive or negative opinion. You work to quite a definite rational model, though life for the most part unfolds intuitively.

But the model is always individual. Had you asked me 40 years ago, I would have been more confident in my defence of the rules than I am today. Personality is defined in two ways: In my case, reading has broadened my knowledge, and my intuition, inspiration and emotions stem from what I have taken in. But rules are important. Laws enable multitudes of people to live together — no nation can exist without laws.

They favour the freedom of the many at the expense of the individual. Why is the measurable, the demonstrable, so fascinating? The greatest works of art impress through their balance, their harmony, their proportions, all of which can be measured.

That is one of the reasons why paintings, sculptures and buildings that are thousands of years old — by the Egyptians, Chinese, Assyrians and so on — are still fascinating to us today.

Mondrian, on the other hand, did not use measurements and therefore took a long time to do a painting. However, few artists possess as much intelligence, sensibility and intuition as Mondrian. So did you trust to intuition in your illustrative sywtems Yes, because I wanted to explore the limits of my artistic ability. Brockman I was 30 I had been trying out various styles and techniques to find out where my talent might lie.

I had quite a lot of apparent success with my illustrative work, but as a result of my ruthless self-critical analysis I saw that I possessed no essential artistic talent beyond the ordinary, and the creativity of a mediocre person is of no general interest.

Intensive study of typography will reveal its laws, and the same holds for photography joef compositions using typographical, photographic and graphic elements. So you opted for clear-sighted reason, for reducing things to their essentials — to serve a democratic purpose? I have always known that my illustrations, drawings and paintings are entertainment. They were quite good, but harmless. I was also successful in using a mix of surrealistic illustration and factual information in exhibition mulper in the s and s, but the lack of objectivity disturbed me.

I had to teach myself how to look critically at my work and make distinctions between what is creative, imitative or merely intellectually calculating. After four worthless years of war I wanted to have a positive, constructive role in society. No one can exceed his or her limitations.

Any time I tried I failed.

My limitations are closely circumscribed — I have not come far — but I have kept my sense of humour because I have accepted them. Switzerland is a country of the norm. Ammann first found recognition abroad. How did you come to take up graphic design? I became a graphic designer by accident. At school I was loth to write much for brocmkann so I put in illustrations instead. My teacher enjoyed them and thought I had talent. He suggested that I should pursue an artistic career: So I gri apprenticed hrid a retoucher in a printing works.


After that I was apprenticed to two elderly architects. With them I lasted four weeks. Then I went to see all the graphic designers I found listed in the telephone directory because I wanted to find out what they did.

Grid Systems in Graphic Design: by Josef Müller-Brockmann

Afterwards I enrolled to study graphic design at the Zurich Gewerbeschule. Back to Switzerland again. It was through your work and that of your students and fellow-artists — Max Bill, Richard P.

Bill, Lohse, Neuberg and Vivarelli were my mentors. The first two through their artistic works, publications and their activity in the Swiss Werkbund, and Neuberg as a critic and designer, had a lasting positive influence on all areas of design.

I too in my work jossf and thanks to good collaborators — was able to make a positive contribution in the s and s. My students in Zurich between and attracted attention later when their works were published in Neue Grafik. The magazine Neue Grafik made the Swiss School known throughout the world. How did the publication come about? I had the idea in of founding a periodical for rational and constructive graphic design to counter the excessively irrational, pseudo-artistic advertising I saw around me.

I allowed the idea to develop and then asked Lohse, Neuberg and Vivarelli if they would like to collaborate. The magazine appeared from to When have you found time aystems write in the course of such a full jose career?

I have always regarded a book as a design opportunity, nothing more. It was more like enjoying myself in my free time. I was motivated to write something on the history of visual communication by the insight that from the beginning man has used images as a defence against his inner and outer world, his fears of a threatening environment.

At the time I knew of no book that dealt with this josec. How can you be so sure that objective communication of knowledge is uplifting? I have never maintained that objective-informative advertising is uplifting. Subjective interpretation leads to a falsification of the message. Instead of illustration you favour sober, realistic photography.

Are you disturbed by emotion in images? Illustrations are always understood as an artistic product, a subjective statement. Photography is griid credible reflection of reality that enables me to make an objective statement. Emotion in images, as in painted realisations of ideas and visions, can produce genuine works of art, but in advertising I value as much objectivity as possible.

The jubilee book for heating systems manufacturer Weishaupt contains pages that are pictorial and multi-layered. But information is conveyed and there is no emotional noise. The invitation card for the Hans Arp exhibition also has several visual layers. Was this suggested by the subject matter? Yes, the subject matter suggested the need for imaginative design.

In the Weishaupt publication the computer, functionally ever more important in industry, is presented in the third dimension, in depth.