Staying on the Road

Manfred Bingler, Swissair, 1961

Last week at school, I introduced my first term students to the golden section. If you’ve worked as a designer as long as I have (since 1752), these proportions come naturally. I’ll work on a poster and then lay the golden rectangle on top of it, and what do you know, it all fits. But when you’re first starting out, it’s a little trickier. I can explain the math and show my Designorama film about it, I even show them Donald in Mathimagicland (we’ll tackle this on another post). Explaining it is similar to explaining how to drive; it’s pointless unless the student is in the driver’s seat.

I’ve been collecting examples to show my class, and each year I find more. Next term, I’m pulling out the Swissair posters as examples. They are so sublime and simple. They are rigid in their proportions, but fluid. Now I understand that a little Swiss typography goes a long way. Overused and the world could become a rather dull place. I’ve always believed that good typography is like a spider web; it is precise, perfect, elegant, ordered, and adheres to a strong grid. But it doesn’t work, unless one thing interrupts it.

Josef Müller Brockmann, Swissair, ca.1957

Manfred Bingler, Swissair, 1964

Manfred Bingler, Swissair, 1964

Siegfried Odermatt, Swissair, 1982

Manfred Bingler, Swissair, 1965

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5 Responses to “Staying on the Road”

  1. Joe Says:

    This is somewhat disturbing to me… I feel like I’m being manipulated somehow! ;)

  2. Sean Says:

    Don’t blame me. Blame the Swiss. I always do.

  3. Joe Says:

    I work with a guy from Switzerland… I will promptly blame him tomorrow!!!

  4. Sean Says:

    You let him know who’s the boss!

  5. Joe Says:

    Tony Danza hehehe ;)