A Swiss poster announcing an exhibit of Alexander Calder sculptures
Swiss poster for a venue featuring the clown Dmitri.
Great Swiss package design for some great Swiss chocolate almond candy.
Swedish, not Swiss, but a fabulous soap folding box.
Posters promoting the annual Basel fair. Does this look too much like a magazine ad?
Here comes the descent into banal, 1977 posters for a soft drink with a tradition of great poster advertising.
Down the slippery slope they went. What ever happened to the classy Swiss use of typography?
Finally, you know when the banks lose their restraint in Switzerland, the game is over -- and lost.
A pity it was but we won't belabor the point anymore except to say The End, Finis, Auf wiederluaga, Ciao.
Click on photos to enlarge them. This is the Hotel Sonne-Terminus or Hotel du Soleil, in French, in the Swiss city of Glarus, on the highway from Zurich to the Saint Gottard Pass. It was my favorite because of the ambience and Papa Frohlich's wonderful geschnetzle and roesti. There are plenty of modern hotels in Switzerland but these are worth the effort it takes to find them, as they vanish from the landscape.
A welcome invitation and flowers for the room.
Elsewhere a basket of ripe fruit to enjoy.
And, of course, a splendid breakfast to start each day. I have to confess that this photo was taken in Merano in the Italian South Tirol, but it is similar to the Swiss with a slightly different version of croissants and crusty rolls, and every bit as appetizingly visual as well as delicious.
Illuminated sign taken as a night time exposure with my elbow braced against a wall so there's some camera shake evident. However, it's a pretty neat design for the 1950s.
This is either the post office in Morges or Lausanne, both on Lac Leman up the lake from Geneva. My young wife and I lived in the maid's quarters of a villa in a village near Morges where we froze in winter. It's a good thing we knew how to take a G.I. shower with the stingy amount of hot water we got.
The Swiss phone system is part of the Swiss Postal Service. We should have such good service and clean, modern facilities here in the USA where it is rare to actually find a phone booth that hasn't been trashed or a mail box. Today you can use credit cards to call home from Swiss phone booths.
In 1959 I drove my VW beetle to the Geneva airport to send artwork out to Scholastic Magazines and to Polaroid Corporation, both clients at the time we were in Switzerland. The work got to its destination the next day or the following one. Swissair had just put into service the new French Caravelle jets and they were something to see roaring down the runway.
More Swiss stamps.
Greeting card with illustration of a couple dancing in the cantonal costume of Graubunden. I think I bought this at our village Swiss post office.
Dokumenta 1955. We walked through the rubble of Kassel in Germany only to be blown away by a fantastic show of art in this museum. It was here that I discovered Max Beckmann and the German Expressionists, along with so much more. I took the photo because of the terrific posters and how full of life and excitement they were in contrast to the somber mood of the architecture however much it might have been spared from the Allied bombing raids of World War II.
Coat of arms of the city of Zurich designed by Keller.
Ernst Keller (1891-1968) was a giant in the pantheon of great Swiss graphic designers. From 1918, at the age of 27, through 1956 he taught students in Zurich's famous Kunstgewerbeschule, or School of Applied Art, so well that he can be called the father of the Swiss school of graphics. The birthplace was the Swiss National Exhibition of 1939 in Zurich. A shy man who shunned personal publicity, he avoided a recognizable style preferring instead to approach each design challenge within the requirements of its individual needs.
Willy Rotzler writes of him in Graphis 184 in 1976 that "He was instilled with the belief that every piece of graphic design ought, over and above the its immediate purpose, to be an improvement of our visual environment. It the final analysis it was this fundamental ethical principle that lent lasting value to the work of his pupils, making Swiss graphics not merely the name of a style, but a seal of quality."
Well, amen to that. That is totally the opposite of what copiers of that style have done. My pet peeve is setting English language copy in three blocks of text just because the Swiss have done it. Hello? They have to do it because they speak three languages in that small country.
Keller's adaptation of Swiss cantonal coats of arms for the facade of the Swiss Life Insurance and Pension Company building in Zurich. He actually cut and carved these designs in wood prior to fabrication.
Poster for the Reitberg Museum of Zurich created by Keller as a five-color linoleum print. Thanks to Walter Herdeg's Graphis 184 for the bottom two images above and selections from the text of ERNST KELLER. The Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design.
Swiss traffic used to look a lot like this when there was much less traffic. The signage is what was important. It was clear, crisp, and in the right place. This photo was taken in downtown Zurich among the big department stores.
Easy to follow directions to drive out of the city.
Swiss lady traffic cop. Note the directional sign so handy she can point to it. She's wearing huge wide gloves and a black Swiss version of a ten-gallon Stetson.
Close up of the above, with apologies for the fuzziness. You can only get so much out of a Kodachrome.
Parking meters were readily identified.
User friendly and well designed.
Parking garages were also readily found. Follow the arrow.
To pay, there was a large vending machine with instructions in four languages.
Even match books located where to park a car.
Even at the top of the St. Gotthard Pass the same signage indicated where to park.
Conveniently located nearby was an emergency phone and the ubiquitous abfallen basket for trash.
Illuminated destination signs were attractive and strategically placed. No mystery about where you were. You had better keep your speed to 60 km/hour in the city of Muralto, in the province of Ticino.
Once upon a time in the middle of the last century, just about fifty years ago, it was really a pleasure to fly -- particularly as a passenger on Swissair. There even was a direct flight from Boston to Zurich. I remember seeing the CEO of Polaroid across the aisle in economy class. It was that good.
Swissair's graphics and promo were the best in the world. This is one of their posters promoting travel to Japan. Click on this and the other images to enlarge them.
Swissair ticket folder. Notice that all the sell is confined to the inside.
Equipment Swissair flew at the time, from one of their postcards.
One of the earlier Swissair prop planes.
Swissair routes worldwide.
Passenger promo material. Those are oversize post cards, beautiful photos and great printing.
Litttle boxes of almonds served before dinner with beverage of your choice, as offered by attractive young female flight attendants. No, I'm not a sexist but you should know that at the same time U.S. airlines were under pressure to hire older women who could be, on occasion, nags and scolds.
Just think of it, decent champagne as well!
Dinner menus! Remember, this was in economy class.
They were having lobster in First. I swear.
Swissair newspaper in at least three languages with tourist information.
The Panthenon in Rome with its impeccable frieze of capital letters identifying the emperor Agrippa who built the first one. This is the second Pantheon, built by Hadrian in A.D. 125 and dedicated to Agrippa.
Classic Roman letters from marble slabs seen in the Roman Forum in 1955.
Example of letterpress printing found in the Swiss publication Typografie published circa 1950. I sold my copy on eBay several years ago but not before photographing this and the following examples on Kodachrome. Didy was/is a flower shop in Lucerne.
Edler was a schmuck? No, schmuck is German for jeweler.
Bottle label for Swiss kirschwasser, distilled from cherries, and drunk as a digestive and with cheese fondue throughout Switzerland. I particularly love it on a ripe fruit Macedonia and on ice cream. But I digress. . .
Swiss burghers as I saw them at meal times in Switzerland staring as they so often did at a young American couple and wondering what they were doing eating in the same restaurants as they.
But I was young and given to playing with my food, I guess.