Hans-Ulrich Allemann


Teaching at Kansas City Art Institute (1967-1969)

School Days in Basel, Switzerland, late 60’s. Hans Allemann, Chris Zelinsky, Inge Druckrey

Together with my classmate Inge Druckrey I was working as a designer at an agency in Zurich [Halpern]. Armin told me that he had received information from the Kansas City Art Institute. The chairman of the Graphic Design department, Rob Roy Kelly, was interested in hiring somebody who had studied at the Basel School to teach in his program. Unfortunately I had to turn down the offer because I did not know any English. I told Inge about the opportunity. She talked to Armin and decided to move to Kansas City [1966]. A year later she called me and told me that the department was interested in hiring another Basel graduate. This time I accepted. I had enough time to sign up for 12 lessons of conversation English at a Berlitz school before I left for Kansas City in the summer of [1967]. A professor from Oxford taught the Berlitz course. When I landed in the Midwest I couldn’t understand a single word (laughs). This is how I came here the first time. I had a visa, issued under the cultural exchange program between Europe and the United States.

The two years in Kansas City were a life changing experience for me. It was not just the opportunity to teach, which I had never intended to do, but also because of what was happening at the time. This was the late 60s! I came from a completely different world. Compared to Europe, the US is a young country. As big as it is in size, it seemed to be more agile, open and full of possibilities. This is what intrigued me about this country and its people. I was only 23-years old.

Teaching at the Philadelphia University of Arts (1973 – 2009)

In 1973, working in Zurich again, I received a phone call from Ken Hiebert, then chairman at the Philadelphia College of Art. I knew Ken from our school years in Basel. Ken had an open teaching position because Steff Geissbühler (another school mate of ours) had decided to move to NYC, and Inge Druckery, who had moved to Philadelphia in 1971, had accepted an offer from Yale University. I accepted the invitation and I returned to the US. My idea was to stay for 3-5 years. If that would have been the case I should have left around 1978… well, I’m still here (laughs).

Bits and pieces of Basel

The influence of the Basel school on the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI)

An article by Katherine McCoy, published in March/April 2005 in Print Magazine. The PDF was found on an archived website of the Philadelphia University of the Arts Graphic Design Department – uartsgd.com

The PDF:

Excerpts from the article

The teachers who had made such a profound impression on the graduates included their program chair, Rob Roy Kelly, and the now legendary Swiss designers Inge Druckrey and Hans Allemann. Arguably, Kansas City Art Institute offered the first comprehensive graphic design curriculum for undergraduates and the first full-time, Swiss-trained faculty in the U.S.

MacCoy explains that the connection was made through Yale, where Kelly studied.

Armin Hofmann was first invited to New Haven by Herbert Matter, Yale’s professor of photography. Then, in 1956, Yale asked Hofmann to fill its annual overseas guest teaching position, beginning the university’s long association with Basel. Kelly recognized the innovation in Hofmann’s educational methods.

Kelly hires several of Hofmann’s former students: Inge Druckrey, in 1966, Hans Allemann in 1967.

Armin Hofmann visited KCAI during those years, inspiring the KCAI students and further cementing the Kansas City-Basel connection. Kathy Stewart Salchow, who graduated in ’67, remembers sitting in the auditorium during Hofmann’s presentation of Basel design; she could hear April Greiman’s audible enthusiasm a few rows behind her.

About the teaching methods of Basel:

Allemann notes that when Hofmann instructed them in the early 1960s, his teaching was still in a formative stage. « Our teachers never explained anything to us, and we learned through the process, » Allemann says. In the U.S., that doesn’t work. Students had questions. I learned how to talk about design, because I had never verbalized before, and there were no books to turn to. We were just experimenting. »

After two years Druckrey and Allemann return to Europe, and Kelly leaved KCAI in 1974. But the influence is spreading to other institutions:

Even as Kelly and his KCAI faculty moved on, several other schools built related, Swiss-influenced programs that remain leaders today: Ken Hiebert, on the of first Americans to attend Basel’s Kunstgewerbeschule, began an even more thightly rationalized program at Philadelphia College of Art in 1966, with faculty that included Basel grad Steff Geissbuhler as well as Allemann and Druckrey. Gordon Salchow’s program at the University of Cincinnati continues to set a national standard. And in 1971, Tom Ockerse, a Yale classmate of Salchow’s began his program at Rhode Island School of Design. Today, Kelly’s influence and Basel methods thrive at the Arizona State University graphic design program he established in his last teaching years before his death in 2004.


Philadelphia College of Art

Quelques archives sur l’enseignement du design dans cette école, qui depuis 1984 se nomme University of the Arts.

Au Philadelphia College of Art, le programme de design graphique est développé dès 1966 par Kenneth Hiebert, qui a étudié dans la « Fachklasse für Grafik » (classe de graphisme) entre 1959 et 1964, et intègre dans cette formation des principes de l’école de Bâle. D’autres alumni de Bâle qui y enseignent sont Inge Druckrey (de 1971 à 1973), April Greiman, encouragée par Hofmann (de 1971 à 1976), et Christa Zelinski (de 1977 à 2007). Hans-Ulrich Allemann, qui a étudié à Bâle de 1960 à 1965, enseigne au College of Art de 1974 jusqu’en 2009.


  • Kenneth Hiebert
  • Inge Druckrey
  • April Greiman
  • Christa Zelinski
  • Hans-Ulrich Allemann
  • William Longhauser

Steff Geissbuhler. Born in Switzerland in 1942. Partner and principal at Chermayeff & Geismar Inc. for 30 years and designer of some of the most memorable posters and definitive corporate-identity programs of the latter part of the 20th century.

When Ken Hiebert, one of Geissbuhler’s Basel classmates, was appointed chair of graphic design at Philadelphia College of Art (now The University of the Arts), he asked Geissbuhler for help in developing the program. “We introduced a completely new thing there,” recalls Geissbuhler, who served as chair of the department from 1973 to 1975. Geissbuhler and Hiebert recruited colleagues such as Inge Druckery, Keith Godard and Hans Allemann, and began to move things away from a prevailing advertising bias.

“We imported the whole Swiss design philosophy, ‘less is more,’ and the importance of typography, color and drawing.”

AIGA, https://www.aiga.org/medalist-steffgeissbuhler


Un descriptif de cours de Hans-Ulrich Allemann, Communication Design, de 1981:

Un site web archivé couvrant la période 2000-2012: http://www.uartsgd.com/

Quelques visuels d’affiches trouvées sur ce site:

Poster for a presentation by William Longhauser of his work and experience in Basel. Design: Richard Felton, 1978.
Poster for a lecture by Ken Hiebert. Design: Hans-Ulrich Allemann, 1983
Poster for a lecture by April Greiman. Design: Kenneth Hiebert, 1984
Poster for a lecture by Kenneth Hiebert. Design: Hans-Ulrich Allemann, 1991

Livres et catalogues

Universal Unique, un catalogue d’exposition publié en 1988, rassemble des travaux d’enseignants.

This exhibition presents the work of educators—some who have been influenced directly by being students of the Basel School of Design and others whose work and process is in contrast to the Basel school. Each participant was provided with several components—a grid, an eye, and the word “word.” By furnishing these identical elements, a context was provided to allow these different approaches to become manifest. They were provided as readymades for direct use or for manipulation of any kind deemed appropriate to create a message in the spirit of the overall theme. The presentation format was 30 x 30 inches.

Site de William Longhauser

Ecoles influencées par Bâle

Quelques contributions à l’article Wikipédia sur l’école de Bâle:

Le modèle d’enseignement du design pratiqué à Bâle sous Armin Hofmann et Emil Ruder a exercé une influence sur des écoles à l’étranger, par le biais d’anciens élèves. Le designer Dan Friedman parle d’une « vague d’élèves » retournant aux Etats-Unis après avoir étudié chez Hofmann.

« [Ken Hiebert] was one of the first wave of people returning to America after having studied at Basel under Armin Hofmann and others. »

Dan Friedman, Eye Magazine, 1994

Université de Yale

L’université de Yale accueille dès 1956 des interventions d’Armin Hofmann. Sur la recommandation de Hofmann, Dan Friedman, un jeune graphiste américain qui a étudié à Bâle, commence à enseigner à Yale dès 1970. Dès 1970, et pendant 20 ans, Hofmann donne à Yale un workshop annuel de deux semaines. Inge Druckrey, autre alumni de Bâle, enseigne à Yale de 1973 à 1995. Un lien avec Yale persiste pendant de nombreuses années à travers le Yale Summer Program in Graphic Design, académie d’été se déroulant annuellement de 1974 à 1996 à Brissago, supervisée par Philip Burton.

Le designer Christopher Pullman, qui a enseigné à Yale, affirme que le modèle d’apprentissage de Bâle a exercé une influence sur le programme de Yale durant les années 1970 à 1990.

Unlike Rand and Matter and Thompson and the others who would come in one day a week for “crits,” the Basel model was to be present during the making process, to observe and advise and comment as it was happening, not just after the fact. The presence of Hofmann and his proteges provided our students with a complementary model of teaching and learning that definitely shaped the Yale program (and in turn the profession) in the two decades from 1970–1990.

Christopher Pullman, Armin Hofmann at Yale: a Retrospective

Philadelphia College of Art

Au Philadelphia College of Art, le programme de design graphique est développé dès 1966 par Kenneth Hiebert, qui a étudié dans la « Fachklasse für Grafik » (classe de graphisme) entre 1959 et 1964, et intègre dans cette formation des principes de l’école de Bâle. D’autres alumni de Bâle qui y enseignent sont Inge Druckrey (de 1971 à 1973), April Greiman, encouragée par Hofmann (de 1971 à 1976), et Christa Zelinski (de 1977 à 2007).

National Institute of Design

En Inde, le National Institute of Design (NID), une école fraîchement fondée en 1961, invite plusieurs enseignants de Bâle, dont Armin Hofmann et Hans-Christian Pulver, pour contribuer à la mise en place du cursus de graphisme et typographie. Des élèves indiens, dont Mahendra Patel, viennent étudier à Bâle, puis deviennent enseignants au NID.

Kansas City Art Institute

C’est dans cette école que April Greiman, étudiante, fait la connaissance de trois jeunes enseignants ayant étudié à Bâle: Inge Druckrey, Hans Allemann et Christa Zelinsky. Un article de Katherine McCoy publié dans Print Magazine en 2005, Bits and Pieces of Basel, fait la lumière sur cette histoire.

Swiss Graphic Designers 1957

Une exposition marquante qui a voyagé à travers les Etats-Unis en 1957: https://specificobject.com/objects/info.cfm?object_id=12911

Participent à l’exposition: Noel Martin, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Adolf Flückiger, Karl Gerstner, Armin Hofmann, Gottfried Honegger, Richard P. Lohse, Hans Neuburg, Siegfried Odermatt, Emily Ruder, Nelly Rudin, Max Schmid, Carlo Vivarelli

Publications: Exhibition catalogue published in conjunction with show held at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati Art Museum.

Traveled to:

  • the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston;
  • the Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire;
  • the American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York;
  • the Akron Art Institute;
  • the Milwaukee Art Institute;
  • the Art Center in La Jolla, California;
  • and the San Francisco Museum of Art.Texts by Noel Martin and Josef Müller-Brockmann.

Artists include Josef Müller-Brockmann, Adolf Flückiger, Karl Gerstner, Armin Hofmann, Gottfried Honegger, Richard P. Lohse, Hans Neuburg, Siegfried Odermatt, Emily Ruder, Nelly Rudin, Max Schmid, and Carlo Vivarelli. Includes a brief biography for each artist. Printed in black-and-white.

Lire aussi: http://wiedler.ch/felix/books/story/620

Et un entretien de Steven Heller avec le curateur, Allon Schoener: https://designobserver.com/feature/the-swiss-grid/40187

Jacqueline Casey

Photo via Walkerart.org

« Casey’s visual language style was strongly influenced by the Swiss designers Karl Gerstner, Armin Hofmann and Josef Müller-Brockmann and the International Style. Thérèse Moll, a young Swiss designer who had been an assistant in Karl Gerstner’s Basel office and who briefly worked in the MIT publications office in 1958, is the one person Casey credited with her introduction to the grid and its design philosophy: ‘She introduced the office to European typography … This use of proportions in designing publications series became a useful tool for developing MIT’s image.’ »

Source: Eye Magazine, 2008

« Muriel [Cooper] hired her college classmate Jacqueline Casey to work at Design Services. She would soon head the office until her retirement in 1989. Casey, Ralph Coburn and Dietmar Winkler were the core of that office, and they also had guest designers, one of whom, from Basel, pretty much got them on their Helvetica kick. They recall that people like Gerstner and Müller-Brockmann also came through the office. So Muriel imbibed a lot of this “International Style” typography from her colleagues, and no doubt from what she was reading. It’s not something she, or anyone else at the time, would’ve gotten from an American design program. It’s a visual language she used, but also reworked significantly.

Source: David Reinfurt, interviewé par Dante Carlos, Walkerart Magazine

TM Communication

« TM Communication » était une série de contributions dans les Typographische Monatsblätter dirigée par Wolfgang Weingart.

  • TM Communication 1: Christa Zelinsky, Zürich. Grafische Modelle. In: TM 1972 Issue 3
    TM Communication 2: Schule für Design Basel Vorkurs. Grafische Übungen. In: TM 1972 Issue 8/9
  • #3: Olympia 1972. In: TM 1972 Issue 11
  • #4: Peter von Arx, Basel. Film- und TV-Grafik. In: TM 1972 Issue 12
  • #5: Helene Nonne-Schmidt, Darmstadt. Ein Geburtstagsgeschenk zum 18. Mai 1926 für Walter Gropius. In: TM 1973 Issue 4
  • #6: Franz Ringwald, Basel. 7 typografische Inserate für das Telefonbuch. In: TM 1973 Issue 6/7
  • #7: Aaron Marcus, Princeton. ‹ Symbolische Konstruktionen ›, Symbolic Constructions, Constructions symboliques. In: TM 1973 Issue 10
  • #8: Suzanne Dessoy, Paris. Die Laban-Kinetographie. In: TM 1973 Issue 12
  • #9: Neun Vorschläge für die typografische Umgestaltung der ‹ National-Zeitung › Basel. In: TM 1974 Issue 3
  • #10: Fotografik von Laurence Bach. In: TM 1974 Issue 12
  • TM Communication 11: April Greiman. In: TM 1975 Issue 5
  • TM Communication 12: Adrian Frutiger, Paris. Die Beschriftung des Flughafens Paris-Roissy. In TM 1977 Issue 1

En décembre 1976 sort un autre numéro avec d’importantes contributions de Weingart: 1976 issue 12.

Christa Zelinsky

Biographie et interview dans TM-Research-Archive (Ecal, 2012).

  • Née en Ukraine en 1940.
  • En 1949, sa famille émigre aux Etats-Unis. « We were immigrants, my family and I. We came to the US in 1949. »
  • Etudie à Bâle de 1961 à 66. « I did the foundation year, and then I applied to the Fachklasse [masterclass] and was accepted. Out of 120 people, only 12 were allowed to move up into the course of study in graphic design. »
  • 1967: « Zelinsky took up a design position with the city of Kansas City, Missouri. « 
  • 1969-1975: « She returned to Switzerland in 1969, and was employed by the advertising agency Erwin Halpern, in Zurich, until 1975. »
  • 1972: Son travail est montré dans TM Communication 3.
  • 1977-2007: « accepted an invitation from the design faculty of the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) to develop the drawing curriculum for their graphic design department. »

Lisa Pomeroy

Lisa Pomeroy, biography in TM-Research-Archive:

(1954) American graphic designer who received a BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art, then studied at the Schule für Gestaltung Basel where she also became a teacher.


  • TM Research Archive (Ecal, 2012)
  • ‘Visueller Gestalter HFG. Der Fachbereich Visuelle Kommunikation an der Höheren Schule für Gestaltung in Basel’ in: Typografische Monatsblätter, Schweizer Grafische Mitteilungen, Revue suisse de l’Imprimerie, 1990, issue 3/4, pp. 1–32

In Design Quarterly 130 (1985), in the pages of « recent student work », a design of a publication or lecture is shown: