3: Principles Design Grid Inspiration Typography

Joseph Muller Brockman

Josef Müller-Brockmann (May 9, 1914 – August 30, 1996) was a Swiss graphic designer and teacher. He is recognised for his simple designs and his clean use of typography (notably Akzidenz-Grotesk), shapes and colours which inspire many graphic designers in the 21st century.

Each letter has its own personality …the forms of letters can create simultaneously both tension and nobility…The new typography differs from the old in that it is the first to try to develop the outward appearance from the function of the text…uses the background as an element of design which is on a par with other elements.


Many of Müller-Brockmann’s works can be found in the online gallery “Blanka”

Müller-Brockman was author of several books on design and visual communication.

  • The Graphic Artist and his Design Problems (Gestaltungsprobleme des Grafikers), Teufen, 1961
  • A History of Visual Communication (Geschichte der visuellen Kommunikation), Niederteufen, 1971
  • History of the Poster (Geschichte des Plakates), co-author Shizuko Yoshikawa, Zurich, 1971
  • Grid Systems in Graphic Design (Rastersysteme für die visuelle Gestaltung), Niederteufen, 1981
  • Graphic Design in IBM: Typography, Photography, Illustration, Paris, 1988
  • Fotoplakate: Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, co-author Karl Wobmann, Aarau, 1989
  • Mein Leben: Spielerischer Ernst und ernsthaftes Spiel (autobiography), Baden, 1994


Muller-Brockmann studied architecture, design and history of art at both the University and Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich. In 1936 he opened his Zurich studio specialising in graphic design, exhibition design and photography. From 1951 he produced concert posters for theTonhalle in Zurich. In 1958 he became a founding editor of New Graphic Design along with R.P. Lohse, C. Vivarelli, and H. Neuburg. In 1966 he was appointed European design consultant to IBM.



Modernist Typography