Skip to main content

Design History – the Myth of Swiss Style

Workshop Design History – the Myth of Swiss Style at the Institute Digital Communication Environments (IDCE)

Key data

ECTS points
Next start
Next Start: 2025
1 Week
Teaching language
CHF 900.– (view fees)
Study mode

The term of Swiss Graphic Design enjoys an international reputation. The so-called “Swiss Style” of the 1950s and 1960s has become quite legendary. But what is this style label about and how did it emerge? Why are certain works included in it – and others aren’t? Why do we only know a mere handful of (mostly male) designers from this era? And how does this historical narrative influence recent approaches of visual communication?
The workshop is going to offer an introduction to the history of Swiss graphic design and typography, based on current scientific outcomes which scrutinize the formation of established historical narratives. We are going to visit design collections, work with original material and learn about basic methods of writing design history: how to find and choose design objects in relevant collections and museums? How to analyze the images or graphic works found? How to find out more about a design object by evaluating archival documents or interviewing designers? We shall also learn how final outcomes of design historiography such as books, articles, or exhibitions come about.
The workshop requires no previous knowledge. It addresses persons from design practice who are interested in applying their practical experience and visual literacy within the framework of historical research and would like to use the knowledge gained for further research in their own practice.

Institute Digital Communication Environments (IDCE)

Through digital media and the democratisation of communication channels that goes hand in hand with it, the critical handling of their visual and interaction-based design has become decisively more important, because the social relevance of information and communication has thus fundamentally changed.


Dreispitz Basel / Münchenstein

Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Basel FHNW Freilager-Platz 1 4142 Münchenstein b. Basel