by Wolfgang Weingart
WHAT IS SWISS TYPOGRAPHY?
I am happy that I can be with you today, especially because your invitation has given me my first opportunity to visit America.
I have not come here to bring you somethig like the typographic message of salvation from the Old World. but instead to inform you about my school activities in Basle.
I deliberately do not say ‘teaching activities’ because the thinking, ideas, and typographic models that I want to show you are not only the results of my teaching in Basle, they are also the results of my intensive, private occupation with typography and graphic design. Both sides are not as separated from one another as I seem to imply – on the contrary, as you will see for yourself later.
Because I come from Switzerland and because the concept ‘Swiss Typography’ is probably connected with a fixed idea for you, I would like to supplement my introduction. I want especially to show you that not only one conception of typography exists in Switzerland. Simply stated, at least two directions exist. One direction is the well-known, moderate-objective or rational direction, with its design principles and methods. Another direction is a newer tendency towards a lively, relatively free kind of typography that renounces extensive design dogma, and tends to look unorthodox. But this second direction is unthinkable without the classical ‘Swiss Typography,’ in that it is a logical further development of it. That is the kind of typography which, together with my students, I have tried to develop for the past five years. With that, I end my introduction.