Media 77 , un nouveau caractère pour la photocomposition (dans TM-RSI)

En septembre 1977, le trio de designers typographiques opérant sous le nom Team’77 (Erich Gschwind, André Gürtler, Christian Mengelt) présentent dans les pages du magazine TM-RSI (Typogafische Monatsblätter / Revue suisse de l’Imprimerie, numéro 8/9.1977) un long article de 20 pages, présentant « un nouveau caractère pour la photocomposition ». Le caractère Media a été développé pour le système de photocomposition Eurocat de Bobst Graphic.

L’article décrit le processus de conception, qui commence par le développement de 5 variantes (A à E). Le même dessin de base doit couvrir la gamme des corps de 6 à 36.

Parmi les cinq propositions, deux variantes, C et E, sont retenues pour faire l’objet d’un développement approfondi (Projet 1 et Projet 2).

C’est la proposition 1 qui est retenue. S’ensuivent les étapes de dessin de l’alphabet, puis la déclinaison en différentes graisses (du light au bold) et largeurs (de narrow à extended).

L’article s’achève sur une forme de manifeste créatif signé par le trio (dont la force est quelque peu amoindrie dans la traduction française et anglaise, donc voici l’original):

Die Schriftform ist letztlich auch Ausdrucksform, und solange unser kreatives Bewusstsein Mitteilungen in bestimmte Formen kleiden möchte, so lange suchen wir immer wieder nach anderen, neuen formalen Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten in der Schrift.

Lien vers le scan de l’article (PDF, 19.7 Mo):

Bobst Graphic – Scrib

Quelques images du Scrib, produit par Bobst Graphc entre 1978 et 1981. Sorti en 1978, c’est un appareil de « télérédaction » de la taille d’une machine à écrire, destiné aux journalistes. Doté d’un coupleur acoustique, ce « précurseur de l’ordinateur personnel » peut être connecté à un téléphone pour transmettre des textes « à la vitesse de 3000 bits par seconde ».

Source: Gilliane Cachin et François Rappo, Bobst Graphic, 1972-1981, 2019 (ISBN 978-3-03863-041-8).

Voir aussi l’article Wikipédia: Bobst Graphic.

Femmes compositrices typographes

Citation de Roger Chatelain, historien de la typographie et typographe, dans « Bobst Graphic » (en conversation avec François Rappo, p.23):

En ce qui concerne la présence des femmes dans l’imprimerie, voici quelques repères. 1923: le syndicat obtient des patrons d’imprimerie qu’aucune femme ne sera engagée (à noter que [l’imprimerie] Saint-Paul – Fribourg constitue une exception, puisque des sœurs travaillent dans les ateliers). 1960: les filles de patrons d’imprimerie et de compositeurs sont autorisées à effectuer l’apprentissage de compositrice typographe. 1968: Anne-Marie Roy, fille de typographe, obtient son CFC de compositrice (ERT). 1975: les sœurs de Saint-Paul sont autorisées officiellement à effectuer l’apprentissage de typographe. 1984: à l’ERAG, Nicole Messelier obtient le CFC de conductrice typo-offset (c’est la première de Suisse).

Dan Boyarski on the Basel design education

A short transcript from a recollection by Dan Boyarski on the teaching experience in Basel.

Dan Boyarski studied in Basel for two years, in the Advanced Program for Graphic Design, from 1977 to 1979. He was 30 years old, and had already 5 years of teaching experience. This his how he describes the outcome :

I thought for 10 years in Louisville, followed by 35 years of teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburg.
Teaching both undergraduate and graduate students, and working with my faculty colleagues, and shaping design programs that responded to changes, in the field, in society, and in the world.
Technical changes, societal changes, environmental changes.

With my students, we explored the shift from communicating on paper to communicating on a screen.

Similarities and differences we explored between static information and dynamic information.

Between the written word, spoken word and moving word on a screen.

We designed posters about sustainability, websites about health care, and apps with maps for safe biking in the city.

I realize that the most valuable lesson from studying with Hofmann and the other teachers was developing an attitude about design.
Seeing, exploring with the mind, the eye, the hand.
Systematic thinking, through sketching, balanced by intuitive bursts of play.
And then the careful crafting of final solutions.

Each teacher thought in their own way, but were united in that basic approach to visual and conceptual exploration.

Source, on Vimeo:

Inge Druckrey on Yale

Short transcript of Inge Druckrey on the design education in the US (during round-table discussion in October 2020, online symposium at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design Basel):

In the US, in the mid 1960, there was still a strong emphasis on advertising rather than design.

A true graphic design program existed only at Yale, with Alvin Eisenman, Norman Ives, Josef Albers, Herbert Matter, Alvin Lustig.

It was at Yale that Herbert Matter, with his students, did the corporate identity for the New Haven Railroad.

There were a few other centers trying to build a consciousness of graphic design. Among them, the Aspen Design conferences, and the Design Quarterly of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The first design magazine was edited there by Mildred Friedman.

Rob Roy Kelly, chair of the Kansas City Art Institute, was educated at Yale, and very influenced by Alvin Lustig and Josef Albers. He was aware and impressed by Armin Hofmann’s work and teaching.

I was hired to teach not only the students, but also him and the other faculty, about my education in Basel. So I had full support by faculty and students, who were very open and eager to learn.

Source, on Vimeo:

Kenneth Hiebert on the Basel education

In October 2020, to celebrate the 100rd anniversary of Armin Hofmann, a two-day online symposium took place at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design Basel.

Kenneth Hiebert was one of the participants in a roundtable discussion, moderated by Sandra Bischler, titled « The Pedagogical Dimension ».

During the discussion, Hiebert reflects on his experience as a student under Armin Hofmann, 1959-1964.

The Basel education characteristics that I treasure:

Silence.

Reflection.

A conducive class environment.

There was no horsing around.

Each project was built on a previous.

All work was in the studio.

No all-nighters.

We learned the visual language universals:

Syntax.

Having meaning.

Building relationships between forms and space.

Seeing constraints as openings rather than obstacles.

On vimeo:

Kenneth Hiebert, biographie

Kenneth Hiebert suit la formation de graphisme (Fachklasse für Grafik) dirigée par Hofmann entre 1959-1964. Dès 1966, il contribue à développer le programme de design graphique au Philadelphia College of Art, alors dirigé (de 1964 à 1974) par Rob Roy Kelly. Il y enseigne jusqu’en 1999.

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).

Selon Sadha (2013):

He taught briefly at the School of Design, Basel, then at Carnegie Institute of Technology, and from 1966–1999 at what is now The University of the Arts where he was founding chairman of the graphic design department. He retired Professor Emeritus in May 1999. 

He instigated the universal/Unique symposium and invitational exhibition at the University of the Arts in 1988. He received the Mary Lou Beitzel Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1990 and the Master Teacher Award of the national Graphic Design Education Association in 1991. Honorary degrees were awarded by the Maine College of Art in 2002 and the University of the Arts in 2013.

Quelques indications biographiques:

Hiebert pioneered the program of graphic design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, formerly the Philadelphia College of the Arts.

He was visiting faculty at Yale University and Carnegie Mellon.

Publications

Hiebert is the author of two books:

  • Graphic Design Processes (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992)
  • Graphic Design Sources (Yale University Press, 1998)

In 2019, the Cary Graphic Design Archive at Rochester Institute of Technology acquired the work of Ken Hiebert, making it « available to scholars and students interested in the Swiss influence on American graphic design » (Gawlowicz).

Sources:

Postmodern Typography (1977)

A very early application of the architectural term postmodern to graphic design was the title of a 1977 Chicago exhibition curated by Bill Bonnell: Postmodern Typography: Recent American Developments.

Ironically, the exhibition included works by Steff Geissbuhler, April Greiman, Dan Friedman, and Willi Kunz – all of whom had come to America after works or study in Switzerland.

Meggs’ History of Graphic Design, p.501

Hans-Ulrich Allemann

Resources

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.

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