Dialogue studio: Armin Hoffman

Legendary Swiss graphic designer and educator, Armin Hofmann is recognized for his immeasurable influence on generations of designers, teaching the power and elegance of simplicity and clarity through a timeless aesthetic, always informed by context.

If the passionate loyalty of former students is any indication, Armin Hofmann is one of the most exceptionally influential teachers the field of graphic design has seen. He is also a designer of great accomplishment, a leading member of a remarkable generation of Swiss practitioners whose work and thinking continues to have a determining effect on the international understanding of graphic design.

He taught for several years at the Basel School of Design and he was not there long before he replaced Emil Ruder as the head of the school. The Swiss International Style, and Hofmann, thought that one of the most efficient forms of communications was the poster and Hofmann spent much of his career designing posters, in particularly for the Basel Stadt Theater. Just as Emil Ruder and Joseph Müller-Brockmann did, Hofmann wrote a book outlining his philosophies and practices. His Graphic Design Manual was, and still is, a reference book for all graphic designers.

By the age of 27 Armin Hofmann had already completed an apprenticeship in lithography and had begun teaching typography at the Basel School of Design. His colleagues and students were integral in adding to work and theories that surrounded the Swiss International Style, which stressed a belief in an absolute and universal style of graphic design. The style of design they created had a goal of communication above all else, practiced new techniques of photo-typesetting, photo-montage and experimental composition and heavily favored sans-serif typography.

 

He taught for several years at the Basel School of Design and he was not there long before he replaced Emil Ruder as the head of the school. The Swiss International Style, and Hofmann, thought that one of the most efficient forms of communications was the poster and Hofmann spent much of his career designing posters, in particularly for the Basel Stadt Theater. Just as Emil Ruder and Joseph Müller-Brockmann did, Hofmann wrote a book outlining his philosophies and practices. His Graphic Design Manual was, and still is, a reference book for all graphic designers.

Armin Hofmann (HonRDI) (born June 29, 1920)[1] is a Swiss graphic designer. He began his career in 1947 as a teacher at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule Basel School of Art and Crafts at the age of twenty-six. Hofmann followed Emil Ruder as head of the graphic design department at the Schule für Gestaltung Basel (Basel School of Design) and was instrumental in developing the graphic design style known as the Swiss Style. His teaching methods were unorthodox and broad based, setting new standards that became widely known in design education institutions throughout the world. His independent insights as an educator, married with his rich and innovative powers of visual expression, created a body of work enormously varied – books, exhibitions, stage sets, logotypes, symbols, typography, posters, sign systems, and environmental graphics. His work is recognized for its reliance on the fundamental elements of graphic form – point, line, and shape – while subtly conveying simplicity, complexity, representation, and abstraction.[2] Originating in Russia, Germany and The Netherlands in the 1920s, stimulated by the artistic avant-garde and alongside the International Style in architecture.[2] He is well known for his posters, which emphasized economical use of colour and fonts, in reaction to what Hofmann regarded as the “trivialization of colour.”[3] His posters have been widely exhibited as works of art in major galleries, such as the New York Museum of Modern Art.

He was also an influential educator, retiring in 1987. In 1965 he wrote the Graphic Design Manual, a popular textbook in the field.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s