Most design historians will recognise the name of Swiss designers such as Josef Müller-Brockmann, Karl Gerstner and Emil Ruder. Swiss design remains a major influence in both the teachings and practice of graphic designs. The International Typographic Style which pioneered the modernist movement, utilising sans serif typeface and defined grids is evident in the selected posters from the Swiss Posters of 1960 award.
The Best Swiss Posters Award was an annual competition, judged by a Swiss Jury. They selected a range of posters, showcasing a range of poster styles from completely typographic designs such as the work of Robert Büchler, to the illustrated posters of Donald Brun.
Erich Pfeiffer-Belli reviewed the selected posters in Gebauchsgraphik 5, 1961. He stated:
‘Contrary to the custom of preceding years, the jury this time decided to award prizes to 30 posters instead of the customary 24. This addition would seem to indicate that it was difficult to choose the best from an abundance of good posters. But when one considers the quality of the prizewinning posters, this new policy would rather seem to be the result of certain indecision which has spread among the jurors and which has also affected the creative idiom and the poster style that Swiss graphic artists have hitherto cultivated. The little country used to be regarded as the home of the artistic poster. Above all post-war Germany looked across at the Swiss Confederation with a certain feeling of envy: the large sizes, the excellent print, the carefree gaiety, the naturalness and assuredness with which Swiss artists freely and gracefully treated the most modern concepts and techniques of contemporary art, all of these qualities were at the same time gratifying and unlikely ever to be equalled in Germany. This situation has manifestly changed in recent years. Also in our country, we have had the occasion to welcome many eminently accomplished (and prize-winning) posters, and this shows that the German artists have successfully re-established a connection with their great artistic tradition, while Switzerland has fallen prey to certain sterility. This stagnation tends to impair the former audaciousness and fertility of imagination which used to make many a city’s billboards a welcome open-air exhibition. The photomontage, the drawn and the painted poster seem to be forced to retreat.’